Published: Sun, June 11, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Ostapenko wanted to win Open at 10: mother


The last woman to win her first title at a major was Barbara Jordan at the 1979 Australian Open.

Jelena #Ostapenko is your @rolandgarros 2017 CHAMPION! "I was very close to take the first Grand Slam and also No. 1 in the world".

With Halep serving to stay in the championship at 5-3 down, Ostapenko set up her first championship point with an angled backhand return and won the biggest match of her life with a backhand down the line - her 299th of the entire tournament.

Ostapenko broke in the next game for a 4-3 lead, then changed sides leading 5-4 after Hale gave up serve at love.

The match was fascinating due to the completely contrasting styles of play on display. A game later she sent a victor to the corner to square the match. When Halep faced the media soon after, it was all too clear how she felt. The winners tally by the end of the match was 54 to eight in favour of Ostapenko.

Ostapenko hit 54 winners and had as many unforced errors.

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In the quarters and semis, she relished the battle and won in three sets.

It could have all been so different as Ostapenko found herself 4-6 0-3 down, while also being down a break at 1-3 in the final set.

"I didn't see how people could play tennis on it". Ostapenko, who came in unranked and battled fiercely to reach the final match, was painted as the decided underdog to Halep.

She kept her sense of self-belief and far from being so giddy with the effect of winning her first Slam and becoming the first player to win their first tournament since Guga Kuerten 20 years to the day she was born, she was still looking for ways to improve.

That she is, especially compared with others at the top of tennis lately.

Ostapenko began an entertaining contest with trademark gusto, immediately dispatching a flurry of impressive winners and taking the first of three break points on offer with an accurate backhand down the line. The world number 47 broke serve with a swing volley victor to lead 4-3.

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When she drilled a final backhand victor down the line, she dropped her racket to the clay and held her arms aloft in delight and disbelief.

"I can't believe I am the French Open champion at just 20". When I was a child I was watching.

"I am really happy".

"It's a tough moment for me, but it's gonna go away, I hope, with the time".

The crowd, who had allied strongly with Ostapenko given her underdog status and early deficit, were lapping it up.

Soon enough, Ostapenko was holding her silver trophy - remember, the first she's ever won on tour - while listening to the Latvian national anthem ring through a Grand Slam stadium after a singles final for the first time.

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