Published: Fri, June 09, 2017
Sport | By Noel Norman

Unseeded Jelena Ostapenko faces Simona Halep in final


On the day she turned 20, Ostapenko played fearlessly, bagging 50 winners during a 7-6 (4) 3-6 6-3 win over Swiss Timea Bacsinszky.

Ostapenko lost her opening match on her Roland Garros main draw debut a year ago, but the world number 47 is hunting a victory that would see her become the lowest-ranked champion in tournament history.

- Bacsinszky took a medical timeout to receive treatment on her right leg while trailing 4-3.

"Still, I think I'm able to play better tennis", Pliskova said, "which, probably, I'm going to need" against Halep. She has proven time and time again that she is very much an "in the moment" tennis player.

I love that attitude, and it's the attitude with the power and the short angles - she has a game to back it up.

Simona Halep of Romania plays a backhand during her semifinal match against Karolina Pliskova.

Amazingly it would be her first professional title of any kind, emulating the feat of Brazilian great Gustavo Kuerten, who also announced himself to the world by coming from nowhere to win the men's crown at Roland Garros in 1997.

Halep was moving well from the start and saved a couple of break points in the next game before holding with a crisp forehand down the line.

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FILE- In this June 5, 2004, file photo, Anastasia Myskina of Russian Federation kisses the cup after defeating compatriot Elena Dementieva 6-1, 6-2 in the final of French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris.

French TV flashed up a great stat during Ostapenko's semifinal win Thursday over Timea Bacsinszky, showing the speed of various players' forehands during this year's tournament. "The first match was a tough one (against Louisa Chirico) and I won it".

But on the other side of the net will be Ostapenko, who's playing the best tennis of her young career.

It looked like the same might happen in the third 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. After all, while she was the runner-up to Kerber at the U.S. Open after beating Serena Williams in the semifinals, Pliskova has never had any success to speak of on clay.

Mladenovic won her first WTA singles title in St Petersburg this year to add to her 2016 French Open doubles title.

There has been plenty to celebrate for Jelena Ostapenko at the French Open, but the Latvian's cup will be overflowing if she can get the better of pre-tournament favorite Simona Halep in Saturday's women's final at the French Open.

"I'm really happy to be in the final, especially on my birthday". She is not one to back down.

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