Tuesday, 22 August, 2017

Master of defense Halep downs Pliskova to reach Paris final

Romania's Simona Halep celebrates as she defeats Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic during their semifinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Thursday The Latest: Ostapenko youngest finalist in Paris in 10 years
Vera Richards | 10 June, 2017, 06:28

Halep denied the Czech the No. 1 ranking.

Ostapenko, celebrated her 20th birthday with a three set victory over Swiss Timea Bacsinszky in their semi-final. "I'm just going to go there and enjoy the match and try to show my best".

"I think more about the game, and I play smarter, in my opinion, and also physically".

There were a couple of early double faults from Pliskova and a sprightly Halep went a break up at 2-1 when the second seed drilled a backhand into the tramlines under pressure.

For all her tactical skills, Bacsinszky could not contain Ostapenko, who hit the lines on multiple occasions in an aggressive style reminiscent of Monica Seles.

Ostapenko will play Simona Halep, the No 3 seed from Romania, in the final, after she beat Karolina Pliskova in three sets.

"I said earlier that I will play for two things: My first grand slam and No. 1 in the world", said Halep. I think it's a nice gift! I hope to win this time. But I'm confident as well.

"I'm really happy to be in the final, especially on my birthday".

Add to that the chance to become World No. 1 and there's a lot on the table for Halep. This heart-on-her-sleeve, expressive young woman was proving that her mental fortitude was as powerful as her big-time tennis.

One who hits the ball as if she's angry at it. She will meet Ostapenko for the first time in the final on Saturday.

The men's singles semifinals will take place on Friday.

Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko celebrates her win over Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland during their semifinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Thursday

And the French Open, with its slow clay that can act as an equalizer - it dulls the impact of the biggest serves and strongest groundstrokes, and calls for different footwork from hard or grass courts - and its ever-changing weather conditions, tends to produce unexpected runs to the last weekend.

Pliskova saved three set points but was powerless on the fourth as Halep wrapped up the opener after 45 minutes.

When it was, Ostapenko also ensured becoming the youngest French Open finalist since Ana Ivanovic in 2007. "No, I'm just kidding". "Tomorrow I'm going to practice and get ready for the final".

The final is the first match scheduled on Court Philippe Chatrier, ahead of the women's semifinals.

Pierce is picking Halep to prevail over Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic in the semis and qualify for the Roland Garros final on Saturday.

"This is best season she's had of her career so far", Pierce said of Mladenovic.

The first set seemed to fit the pattern many expected.

A victory would give Halep 7,550 ranking points, passing Angelique Kerber's current total of 7,035. "But I was working on the forehand, and I think it's pretty good now".

"After all those rallies, I was just exhausted".

"The best example is the match point". Evert-Lloyd beat Navratilova for the first time when she won the 1975 title. And to put it into context, 50 winners is enough to win two full sets (and the first two points of a third).

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