Published: Sat, June 17, 2017
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

French Open final 'a nice gift' for Ostapenko

Should she win on Saturday against third seed Simona Halep, she would become only the second unseeded player to win the women's title at the French Open after Britain's Margaret Scriven in 1933.

Up 4-2, the Czech saved three break points and won it 6-3 to take the match to a decider.

Ostapenko presented herself with the flawless 20th birthday gift by reaching a first French Open final after blasting past 30th seed Bacsinszky, a semi-finalist also in 2015.

Ostapenko outlasted 30th-seeded Swiss Timea Bacsinszky 7-6 (4), 3-6, 6-3 to become the first unseeded player to reach the French Open final in 34 years. "I'm happy, but I'm not that excited".

The Latvian turned 20 on Thursday and Marion Bartoli led the Court Philippe Chatrier crowd in singing "Happy Birthday", in French, to Ostapenko moments after her victory.

Unseeded Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia will face third seed Simona Halep of Romania in the final of the women's singles at the French Open.

Saturday's final will see a new French Open victor as defending champion Garbine Muguruza was knocked out by Kristina Mladenovic in the fourth round.

If Halep defeats Ostapenko, she will claim the No. 1 overall ranking in the WTA from Angelique Kerber. "Before the tournament I wasn't sure if I could play good tennis on clay".

"I came in playing garbage".

Serena Williams, the 23-times major champion, is pregnant, double Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova is just back after being stabbed, five-times major champion Maria Sharapova has only recently returned from a doping ban and former world number one Victoria Azarenka has been out after having a baby. I was just trying to stay aggressive and to go for a shot when I could.

"The best thing is that I didn't give up", Halep said, per Ben Rothenberg of the New York Times.

She lost the first set by a 6-3 margin and was down 5-1 in the second set, and she would be shaking hands with her opponent at the net in a matter of minutes. And the backhand down the line at match point, I was like: "'Was it match point for her?' It was better, actually (not knowing)".

In the other half of the draw 30th seed Timea Bacsinszky will face Latvian teenager Jelena Ostapenko for a place in the final. If she is able to capture the Grand Slam against Ostapenko, there is a very real possility that she will close out the week ranked No. 1.

The Romanian was under pressure early in the decider but finally chased down a forehand and fired a brilliant cross-court victor to grab a 3-1 lead.

It seemed unlikely that Halep would even be able to play at Roland Garros after the Romanian tore a ligament in her right ankle during her loss to Elina Svitolina in the Italian Open final. Halep will be looking to reach the final in Paris for the second time in her career. She was braver. She had more courage.

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