Published: Sun, June 11, 2017
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Fearless Ostapenko 'amazed' by French Open triumph


Halep, most people's favourite after winning in Madrid and reaching the final in Rome, was expected to be able to tame Ostapenko and when she withstood an early barrage of groundstrokes from the Latvian to take the first set, the 25-year-old was on track.

It was her first career title as she became the lowest-ranked victor in Paris, taking the trophy in just her eighth major appearance.

"I mean I can't believe I'm champion at 20", Ostapenko, the first woman to win the title from a set down since Jennifer Capriati in 2001, said on court.

The 20-year-old Ostapenko had never been past the third round at a Grand Slam tournament until this one.

She said: "I knew I'm already in the final and I'm playing such a great player as Simona". "There were a couple of games when everything went my way and I was ready to fight for every point".

Halep had lost to Maria Sharapova in the 2014 final.

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It was a match filled with wild momentum swings between two players displaying completely disparate styles: Ostapenko's grip-it-and-rip-it approach vs. Halep's more conservative keep-the-ball-in philosophy.

Yes, she was just two days past her 20th birthday.

Halep broke for 3-1 when Ostapenko drilled long, but the latter retrieved it the next game with a thumping return. Of course I would like to win probably all of the grand slams.

But Ostapenko had made almost as many errors and the challenge for her was to keep the ratio in her favour.

She ended Roland Garros with 299 winners - more than any woman or man in the tournament.

Ostapenko has been coached her whole career by her mother Jelena Jakovleva, adding former world number 16 Anabel Medina Garrigues to the team only last month.

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As for the future, Ostapenko's big game will surely be a formidable force come the grass.

The Latvian stepped in to pummel a weak second serve for 15-40, with Ostapenko grabbing a huge slice of luck when a wayward backhand clipped the net and dropped just over for a 4-3 lead.

Many would have felt destiny was on Halep's side when she herself pulled off a massive comeback in the quarterfinals, coming back from a set and 5-1 down and saving a match point against Elina Svitolina.

It was a stunning victory for a woman who went into the French Open as the world No47, a 100-1 shot and not even spoken about as a contender.

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. He, too, has made the final. Until Saturday in Paris, no one had come back from that deficit to capture the crown.

Next up on the Grand Slam circuit is Wimbledon where Ostapenko was junior champion in 2014. The Swiss possesses an attacking game that can overwhelm any foe, as evidenced by Friday's five-set win over Murray.

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