Ostapenko wins first major title at Roland Garros

Solenn Plantier
Juin 19, 2017

That time should have been Saturday at Roland Garros, at least on paper.

Jelena Ostapenko stunned Simona Halep to win Roland Garros 2017 - her first ever title, as the wide open tournament this year drew to a close. Third seed Halep buckled under the strain of fending off the missiles being launched off Ostapenko's lime green racket.

And there is no second guessing, even though Ostapenko was clad in disbelief.

"I think she has a big chance now to win the final, she's going to deserve it".

"I knew about the history", said Ostapenko. It was my dream.

"Now I want to congratulate Jelena".

It was not a case of Halep getting tight and choking on a lead but rather Ostapenko getting hot with her high-risk game and hitting her way out of trouble on both wings, so much so that one statistic revealed her forehand was an average hit faster than Andy Murray's. At some point I was like a spectator on court. "I'm glad it finished my way". A couple of break points to make it 4-0 presented themselves to the Romanian giving an impression that she had found a way to counter her opponent's onslaught.

The stocky baseliner is the first unseeded champion in the professional era.

At 20 years and two days old, Ostapenko is the youngest first-time grand slam champion since Svetlana Kuznetsova at the US Open in 2004.

"She' a great champion".

Sporting talent runs in the family, too, as Ostapenko's father was a professional footballer in Ukraine.

She was also about to survive her fifth three-setter, all but one of them won from a set down.

Ostapenko prefers to be called Alona.

"Serena is my idol".

Ranked No 47 pre-tournament, Ostapenko will climb now to No 12.

Jelena Ostapenko said she was amazed to be the first unseeded player since 1933 to capture the French Open on Saturday in a stunning and fearless 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 win over Simona Halep.

One thing to keep in mind about Ostapenko: Her favorite surface is not the red clay used at the French Open.

The Latvian, who only turned 20 on Thursday, came from a set and a break down to defeat third seed Simona Halep in a cracking final at Roland Garros.

"She goes for broke and misses a lot, but when it really mattered - when she was a set and 3-0 down - she had the power and nerve to take the match away from Halep".

The ball was tracking wide but clattered into the net, ballooned high into the air and landed in for an improbable victor - and break of service.

A set and three games down, Jelena Ostapenko looked like she would lose in her first grand slam final.

Many parts of Ostapenko's game malfunctioned at various times in this match, which is usually a kiss of death against the consistent, speedy, error-free Halep.

After rallying from an 0-3 deficit in the second set and a 1-3 deficit in the third, she finished in style: nervelessly nailing a backhand return victor down the line, to complete one of the most surprising runs in tennis' long history.

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