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nsucurrent.com August 22, 2017


Resilient Halep sets up final date with Jelena Ostapenko

15 June 2017, 01:49 | Nina Perez

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Ostapenko, who was celebrating her 20th birthday on the same day she beat Bacsinszky, will face the third-seeded Halep in the final after the Romanian outfoxed Pliskova 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to reach her second singles final at Roland Garros.

Bacsinszky complained of a problem above her right knee after jarring her foot in the clay and resumed play with her leg heavily taped.

Halep, however, played a tad too safely, and that would backfire. "I m a competitor, and it really annoys me not to be in the final", said Bacsinszky, who was beaten on her 28th birthday.

Ostapenko then broke early in the second set but Bacsinszky won the last four games and leveled the match when her opponent double faulted.

Ostapenko fell in the first round on her main draw debut in Paris previous year 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.

"Then every match I was playing better and better and I got my confidence, and I think it works pretty well".

"I said that the match is lost".

Czech second seed Plíšková would have become world number one next week had she won the second semi-final.

One would think it is an asset ahead of a major final.




"When I came here, of course I didn't expect I would be in the final", said Ostapenko, who celebrated her 20th birthday on Thursday by overpowering Timea Bacsinszky in the semi-finals.

Ostapenko will play either Czech world number three Karolina Pliskova or Romania's Simona Halep on Saturday.

Not since Mima Jausovec in 1983 has an unseeded player reached the French Open final, while Ostapenko is the first Latvian grand slam finalist and the youngest at any slam since Caroline Wozniacki eight years ago.

In just her second Roland Garros main draw, Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia has cleared all hurdles to reach a maiden Grand Slam semifinal. "I believe she has the game to beat top players, which she has done this year, but there's still some areas of her game to improve in order to win a Grand Slam", she added.

Ostapenko fell in the first round on her main draw debut in Paris past year 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. "I was already in the semis, and I was just trying to enjoy the game and show my best".

Armed with her new positive attitude thanks to some sharp words from coach Darren Cahill, with whom she made a swift reunion after a brief break, Halep has coped with the pressure well and battled through to a second Grand Slam final. I saw a little bit of her match today.

"I think probably I will have a lot of attention when I come back home".

"In the third set, everything was through the long rally, which is better for her and she's winning on a higher percentage definitely", Pliskova pointed out.

Ostapenko, whose average forehand speed of 76 miles per hour this tournament has eclipsed that of Andy Murray (73), continued to let fly with a bombardment of winners and errors.



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