Published: Thu, June 15, 2017
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Out-of-nowhere Ostapenko to face Halep for French Open title

Out-of-nowhere Ostapenko to face Halep for French Open title

Simona Halep set up a French Open final against Jelena Ostapenko on Thursday, taking her to within touching distance of a first Grand Slam title and the world number one spot.

Halep demonstrated why she started the tournament as favorite, rising to the occasion with an astute performance to win 6-4 3-6 6-3 on Court Philippe Chatrier. This will be Halep's second French Open final.

But Ostapenko played fearlessly in the decider and roared home from 3-3, swishing away a forehand to finish an absorbing contest and become the first Latvian to reach a major final.

Only 19 years old, Jeļena Ostapenko upset former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki on Tuesday.

"The match was really tough, I think it was a battle", Ostapenko said. I expect her to give everything she has, to hit all the balls, to play with confidence.

After advancing to the semifinals of the French Open Grand Slam tennis tournament on Tuesday, becoming the first lady tennis player from Latvia to ever do so, Alona Ostapenko said that this achievement is something which is hard to believe, but called tomorrow's match on her birthday as "exciting". I saw a little bit of her match today.

Ostapenko fell in the first round on her main draw debut in Paris past year but is one win away from becoming the first player since Gustavo Kuerten in 1997 to win their maiden tour-level title at a Slam.

The 2014 runner-up, who saved a match point in the previous round, will become world number one if she defeats Jelena Ostapenko, the daredevil Latvian who blazed her way to Saturday's final.

"I'm just happy with the way I celebrated my birthday".

After Halep controlled the first set, Pliskova found her range on her big serve and forehand in the second.

"I never played against her".

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.

It looked like the same might happen in the third set when Bacsinszky fought back from 3-1 to 3-3 but Ostapenko had learned her lesson and clinched victory with a forehand into the corner - her 50th victor.

Logic suggested the steady approach she adopted after losing the first-set tie-break would get the job done for the experienced Swiss, not the white-knuckle rollercoaster tennis Ostapenko was playing.

Mixed in with her scintillating winners, including forehands faster than anything men's world number one Andy Murray has managed here so far, were 45 unforced errors, some of which could have embellished a video nasty.

Unseeded, ranked only 47th and never before past the third round at any major tournament, Ostapenko is about as surprising a finalist as there can be on this stage.

The Czech said: "Ostapenko is having a good run here, and she's a unsafe player for everybody, but I would bet everything what I have on Simona".

"We need new stars", Evert told an event hosted by broadcaster Eurosport, for whom she is working as a pundit during the French Open.

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