Saturday, 24 June, 2017

'A star is born!' - The moment Ostapenko clinches French Open title

Connie Andrews | 11 June, 2017, 06:36

Ostapenko is built on the same basic platform as last year's champion, Garbine Muguruza.

En route to the final, she beat a string of higher-ranked players, including Australia's Samantha Stosur, Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark and Switzerland's Timea Bacsinszky.

Ostapenko just turned 20 years old two days before she was crowned as champion on Saturday. I have no words. It was my dream. "I'm just really, really happy".

"I knew Simona was a great player". But Ostapenko pursued her aggressive game plan even when she was in a deep hole, down a set and facing two break points to go down 4-0 in the second set.

"I'm so glad it went my way".

The Romanian then had break points to make it 4-0 but Ostapenko held firm to massive cheers.

Of course I would like to win probably all of the Grand Slams.

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

"I'd like to say congratulations to Simona, you had a great week, you played great, I hope you have many more finals and you will win it", added the Latvian, who was a first-round loser in this tournament past year.

Seemingly destined for defeat, Ostapenko had to do it the hard way. Her first chance will come at Wimbledon, which begins in a little under a month. Look no further than her 54 winners.

Her father Evgenijs is a former professional footballer.

- Ostapenko was initially coached by her mother, with her father serving as a fitness trainer. "It is our Alona Ostapenko!"

Her tennis idols are Serena Williams and fellow Latvian Ernests Gulbis. "I knew that Gustavo Kuerten also won his first title here also in 1997 [the year she was born]".

Halep won the second set with a net-cord victor but on Saturday Ostapenko earned the key break of the third at 3-3 with her own slice of luck.

Until Roland Garros, Ostapenko was best known outside of Latvia as a racquet-throwing villain after an incident in Auckland in January, when she nearly hit a ball boy.

At one point Saturday, it looked as if Simona Halep was on her way to her first ever major victory.

And then she roared away.

A large contingent of Romanian fans was now chanting her name with confidence, but her run of six games in a row came to an end, and Ostapenko grabbed the momentum.

Prediction: A quarter-final appearance for Ostapenko, who takes out at least one top contender along the way. She wanted to live the experience of playing for the first time a such important match. Ostapenko was too charitable with her unforced errors, striking 23. - Venus said after winning his first grand slam title.

Her second-set numbers improved drastically: 22 winners and 18 unforced errors.

Halep won the opening set 6-4.

People love Halep. The 25-year-old seems to be everyone's favorite underdog, partly because she is neither big (her height in the media guide is a very optimistic 5-foot-6) nor powerful.

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