Ostapenko Stuns Halep for 1st WTA Title at French Open
by Jeremy Davis | June 10th, 2017, 11:48 am
  • 9 Comments

Unseeded Jelena Ostapenko, still a teenager when the tournament began, stunned No. 3-seeded Simona Halep from a set and a break down 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the final of the French Open on Saturday.


“Congrats to Simona you had a great week and it was really tough for me,” Ostapenko told the crowd and Halep after the final. “I hope you have a great rest of the season.”

After winning a first-set slugfest with some brilliant extended rallies, the air looked like it came out of Ostapenko’s balloon as Halep ran out to a 3-0 lead. Leading a set and a break, Halep was unable to keep it together, throwing her racquet in frustration and getting tight in her shot selection, and that’s when things started to unravel.

Ostapenko broke back to serve at 2-3, then fought off two game points at 15-40 for the hold.

Ostapenko broke in the next game for a 4-3 lead, then changed sides leading 5-4 after Hale gave up serve at love. The Latvian then held with a stunning running forehand off the court at 40-15, completing the unikely second-set turnaround.

Going up a break 3-1 in the third, Halep, who refused to add any variety to her game and holding to the slugfest mindset, was broken to bring it back on serve at 3-2. From there everything seemed to go Ostapenko’s way. She broke to go up 4-3 on an improbably net cord, held for 5-3, then with the help of a slight mishit inside-out backhand broke Halep, raising her arms and screaming after slapping a winner off a serve on match point.

The Latvian, who turned 20 years old two days prior, exited the court to brush her hair before the trophy ceremony.

It was the first title of any kind at the WTA level for the No. 47-ranked Ostapenko. Entering Roland Garros she was 0-3 in career finals at 2017 Charleston, 2016 Doha, and 2015 Quebec City.

Ostapenko’s win denied Halep not only a first Grand Slam title but what would have been a win that elevated her to the No. 1 ranking, bumping the struggling Angie Kerber who still hangs on to the top spot.

“I want to say congratulations to Jelena, enjoy it and keep it going,” Halep told the crowd and Ostapenko afterwards.

Prior to the final, the WTA’s Courtney Nguyen was blunt in predicting a Halep meltdown once Ostapenko got hot.

“This is the perfect storm for Halep to succumb to the crucible of pressure,” Nguyen wrote. “The patriotic weight she plays with on behalf of a passionate Romanian public can never under be understated, let alone the personal milestones on the line…So if Jelena Ostapenko catches fire and starts blasting winners — as we know the youngster can do — will Halep panic? Will she withdraw? Will she revert? We’ll see.”

Halep is not a Grand Slam champ, nor No. 1, but she moves to No. 2 on the WTA rankings, hot on Kerber’s heels.

“That was a devastating loss,” said NBC commentator John McEnroe after Halep fell to 0-2 in French Open finals.

For Ostapenko, the French Open champ at age 20, the sky is seemingly the limit.


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9 Comments for Ostapenko Stuns Halep for 1st WTA Title at French Open

Giles Says:

Well done Penko. She was my fave from the onset.


RZ Says:

I hope she’ll be a top player from here on out. Last year when Muguruza won, the press treated it like it was a coronation but it really didn’t pan out. I don’t expect Ostapalenko to go out and win Wimbledon but hopefully she’ll compete and contend for the next few big tournaments


Temple Says:

if this is the future of women’s tennis, expect a sharp drop in interest and ratings. Two players both without Plan B’s, an aversion to drop shots (I think they’d trip over themselves if they tried even one), no slice, no net skills, nothing but hit, scream, pray it goes in.

Honestly, the only difference between Ostapenko and Svitolina and Muguruza and all the new CIS and Latino bunches is their accreditation cards, so similar are their games.


chrisford1 Says:

Women’s tennis is finally opening up now that the 20-yr reign of the Sistas is just about over.
We see even at the French the limitations of a pure defensive game players like Wozniacki and Halep have. Getting to whats hit from 2 meters behind the baseline, and pushing balls back in big lazy looping shots is not enough. To win, even Francesca Schiavone had to change her whole “impermeable wall” gym rat ways and attack net like crazy.
Now, Vika and Petra and Maria are coming back to see if the Williams Sista-less old order can be restored at Wimbledon. They each have serious long layoff rust. So I predict a new Wimbledon champ.


Wog Boy Says:

How many finals Halep is going to make before she wins (if she wins) GS? Is she going to beat Andy in that department? I just wanted her to win this one and she was looking good before I fell asleep, she was one set up and 3:0 in the second, but when I woke up it didn’t look good, she lost:(
That girl, Jelena, can really smack the ball, she might do well in London too.


rognadfan Says:

Man,
Reminded me of Sharapova’s Wimbledon title.
Ostapenko’s youth is what made her so nerveless today. That said, she is so aggressive minded and he strokes are awesome. If that serve gets pumped a bit, she is definitely going to be a force.

Hopefully she will show similar fearlessness in future matches.

Congrats to her! Gotta feel for Halep though. Hopefully she won’t end or like Safina or Wazniaki


andrea Says:

great final. very impressed. yes, jelena’s game night be a bit one dimensional, but she’ll start adding some tricks i’m sure. it was awesome to see this young filly hammer the ball no holds barred.

sad for halep for sure….considering she was up in both sets.


Van Persie Says:

Felt a bit sorry for Halep but she has to learn to play more agressive. That kid had a vulnerable 2 serve and Halep kept on hoping, she will miss the shots.
If she does not learn something from yesterday, then she can never win something big. I have my doubts that she will.


Wog Boy Says:

VP,
I really, really wanted her to win, haven’t seen second part of the match (fell asleep) but in the first half she played well, aggressive enough, but it looks like your father is right, her and Nole for whatever reason switch themselves into passive mode and it is Ciao, Arrivederci, game over.
All, but all most important GS finals Nole lost were the ones he switched to passive mode, all GS he won were the ones he switched to aggressive mode, reason unknown?!
Huston, we have a problem;)

Top story: Halep, Wozniacki Lead Loaded Wuhan Field; Kerber v Keys, Svitolina v Sabalenka Tues.