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Published: Sat, June 10, 2017
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Ostapenko, Halep to vie for French Open title


Ostapenko clinched victory with her 50th victor, a forehand into the corner, and has hit more winners - 245 - than anyone else in the tournament despite the men playing best-of-five-set matches.

The unseeded world No. 47 has booked a spot in the French Open final with a three-set win over Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland-oh, and she turned 20 years old today.

Ostapenko then hit a winning forehand to secure her place in the final, prompting the crowd to sing "happy birthday" as she celebrated the biggest win of her career so far.

"I said earlier that I will play for two things: my first Grand Slam and No. 1 in the world", Halep said.

"I'm already in the final." she said.

With Bacsinszky serving at 3-5 Ostapenko, coiled like a spring, brought up two match points with an unstoppable backhand return that cleaned the baseline then smote a rasping forehand return victor that left her opponent flat-footed.

The 5-foot-6 (1.68-meter) Halep is a ball-chasing, defensive dynamo unafraid of lengthy exchanges who gets to almost everything off an opponent's racket and is careful when she swings.

Pliskova then broke to level the set but Halep broke straight back to leave the Romanian serving for the match.

Following a last eight win over Denmark's former world number one Caroline Wozniacki, Ostapenko became the first teenager to reach the penultimate stage of the Grand Slam event since 2007, when Serbia's Ana Ivanovic achieved the feat.

Logic suggested the steady approach she adopted after losing the first-set tiebreak would get the job done for the experienced Swiss, not the white-knuckle rollercoaster tennis Ostapenko was playing. I think I have the game. "I stayed there till the end, even if I was a little bit upset during the match".

Ostapenko, whose average forehand speed of 76 miles per hour this tournament has eclipsed that of Andy Murray (73), continued to let fly with a bombardment of winners and errors.

She sure didn't shown signs of any issues Wednesday, scrambling all over the court to retrieve shots by Svitolina that seemed destined to be winners.

Ostapenko edged a first-set tie-break but looked to have lost her way in the second when she dropped four games in a row.

Bacsinszky's scouting report on Ostapenko, a pal she played doubles with a year ago?

"I was always playing aggressive and hitting the ball when I have a chance", said Ostapenko, who smacked 50 winners to Bacsinszky's 22. Pliskova had a resilient match, battling back from deficits throughout, but Halep ultimately proved to be too much, taking the match 6-4 3-6 6-3. Dabrowski and Bopanna entered the match against the seventh seeds, and won, 2-6, 6-2 [12-10]. She was braver. She had more courage.

Didn't really show. She surged in the tiebreaker, winning four of the last five points and ending it with a swinging backhand volley victor.

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