Ostapenko powers into French Open final


The third seed could win her first grand slam title and take the world number one ranking with a victory against Jelena Ostapenko, who became the first Latvian to reach the final of a major.

The Romanian came into the tournament as the favourite despite concerns over an ankle injury and knows a great opportunity awaits her. "I really like competing in this tournament, but it was not easy as we had to go to the locker room twice for rain delays".

- Swiss Timea Bacsinszky rallied back from 0-40 down in the seventh game to break Jelena Ostapenko's serve and win the second set 6-3.

Ostapenko fell in the first round on her main draw debut in Paris a year ago but is one win away from becoming the first player since Gustavo Kuerten in 1997 to win their maiden tour-level title at a Slam.

"At the beginning, I was serving pretty bad there, and I suffered two double faults in that game".

"Her life is like this: Everything very fast", said Ostapenko's coach, former pro Anabel Medina Garrigues.

Should she beat Halep, it would be her first title - emulating the feat of Brazilian great Gustavo Kuerten who also announced himself to the world by opening his account at Roland Garros in 1997.

Ostapenko presented herself with the ideal 20th birthday gift by reaching a first French Open final after blasting past 30th seed Bacsinszky, a semi-finalist also in 2015.

"That's how it is and I think it's a good fight for world number one. I'm just happy with the way I celebrated my birthday", Ostapenko told the spectators who were shouting "happy birthday". "I take on a young player, it will be an interesting challenge".

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Ostapenko, who turned 20, became the first Latvian to reach a Grand Slam final with a 7-6 (4), 3-6, 6-3 victory over the 28-year-old Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland. "I think was a battle." said the surprise package. "I was already in the semis, and I was just trying to enjoy the game and show my best".

She said: "I'm really happy with my win today and it was a really tough match".

"I hope this time I can play better", Halep said, "and I can win it".

"But then, like, first match was a tough match and I won it and it kind of gave me confidence".

Logic suggested the steady approach she adopted after losing the first-set tiebreak would get the job done for the experienced Swiss, not the white-knuckle rollercoaster tennis Ostapenko was playing. "It's a nice gift", said Ostapenko, who earned her maiden appearance in the final of a Grand Slam tournament.

After being sent left and right to chase the ball as Pliskova dictated the point with her forehand, the Romanian, two metres from her baseline, unleashed a gravity-defying forehand passing shot to break for 3-1.

"I didn't think I would ever make it back".

She benefited from Pliskova's clumsiness in the first set before the Czexch rediscovered her touch. By match's end, the statistics were striking: Ostapenko had far more winners, 50-22, and far more unforced errors, 45-19.