Underdog Ostapenko wins first major title at Roland Garros
2017-06-11 11:14:00


Simona Halep of Romania returns the ball during the women's singles final with Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia at French Open tennis tournament 2017 at Roland Garros, in Paris, France on June 10, 2017. Jelena Ostapenko won 2-1 to claim the title. (Xinhua/Chen Yichen)

PARIS, June 10 ) -- Latvian underdog Jelena Ostapenko won her first Grand Slam title in a thrilling manner as she came back from one set down to beat No. 3 seed Simona Halep 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in women's singles final at the 2017 French Open here on Saturday.

"I still cannot believe it, because it was my dream and now it came true. I'm going to only understand that maybe in a couple of days or weeks," said Ostapenko.

Ostapenko, who just celebrated her 20th birthday on Thursday, has already made history in the semifinals as the first Latvian player to make into the final at a Grand Slam tournament. Now, she capped her fortnight fairytale with a trophy at Roland Garros.

In their first head-to-head clash, Ostapenko heated up quicker into the match as she finished a break as early as in the first game with her familiar forehand attack, before her Romanian opponent made a quick response to break in the second.

Two players went head to head at 4-4. Then Halep, also in quest for her maiden Grand Slam trophy and the world No. 1 position, took the next two games to win the first set 6-4.

With her signature powerful forehand, Ostapenko nailed 14 winners, also suffering 23 unforced errors.

Halep went on to build a 3-0 lead into the second set. Ostapenko made a strong comeback to win six of last seven games of the set as she mixed up the rhythm with consecutive backhand hitting to force a decider at 6-4.

"I was losing 6-4, 3-0, and then in my mind I was just going to enjoy the match, and try to fight until the last point. Then I stayed aggressive and the match turned in my way," commented Ostapenko.

"Maybe Simona felt a little bit nervous because she had a lot of pressure. That also helped me. Also in the deciding moments, I played pretty well in those games. There were a couple of deciding games and the match turned in the other way," she added.

Once again, it was Halep that got the upper hand at an early stage in the decisive set. She moved closer to her first Grand Slam championship with a 3-1 lead, only to see another great comeback from the Latvian, who rode on a five-game winning streak.

After finishing a high-quality backhand to seal the history-breaking win, an excited Ostapenko threw her racquet onto the ground at the Philippe-Chatrier Court.

Also seeing her first success at a WTA tournament, Ostapenko was the first player to win the French Open final from a set down since 1991, according to the Women's Tennis Association (WTA).

Halep failed to climb atop the top place on WTA world rankings after suffering another defeat as she did in 2014.

"She was hitting very strong. At some point I was like a spectator on the court. She deserved to win," Halep pointed out, adding that she suffered much more from the loss this time compared with that three years ago.

"This one hurts a lot maybe because I realize more about what is happening. Three years ago, it was something new, but now I know. I need some time to go away," she said.

Source: xinhua Editor: Rose