French Open 2017: Jelena Ostapenko defeats Timea Bacsinszky in three sets
Jelena Ostapenko will advance to the finals seeking her first Grand Slam victory
In an extremely competitive three-set match, ousting former No. 1 player Caroline Wozniacki in the quarterfinal round on Tuesday for the opportunity to play Bacsinszky.Ostapenko, who turned 20 on Thursday, defeated Timea Bacsinszky (who also had a birthday on Thursday) to advance to the French Open women's single final in an opportunity to win her first Grand Slam championship. Ostapenko has faced an impressively difficult road to get to this point,
Bacsinszky had a spot of trouble with her right knee, receiving treatment for it after dropping a serve. The treatment appeared to be largely cautionary, however, as her mobility did seem to be particularly affected.
Ostapenko won a back-and-forth first set 7-6 over Bacsinszky, relying on an aggressive approach. With a heavy swing, she had 16 unforced errors and 21 winners, ultimately taking the set with a backhanded volley. In the second set, her mistakes threatened to catch up with her, as she lost 6-3 after a double fault on set point tied 1-1. The mistake early on killed the round for Ostapenko. However, she stormed back in the third set, winning in a dominant 6-3. Both players struggled on their serves in the final set, with six breaks between them. There were 16 breaks throughout the entire match. Ostapenko's victory marks the first time that an unseeded woman has advanced to the finals since 1983. She will go on to play the winner of the 11:15 match between Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova.
In addition to her being unseeded, Ostapenko also became the youngest player to reach the French Open final since Ana Ivanovic accomplished the feat at age 19 a decade ago. Fans celebrated Ostapenko's birthday by singing "Happy Birthday" to her at Court Phillipe Chatrier. Coincidentally, Ivanovic was at Roland Garros Thursday to be honored by the French tennis federation immediately after Ostapenko's match. Ostapenko addressed the crowd's enthusiasm.
"I love to play here, I love you guys, you're amazing," she said after the match. "I'm just happy with the way I celebrated my birthday. I was always playing aggressive and hitting the ball when I had a chance. It probably helps me to win today." Ostapenko's zealous style has served her well so far in The Open, and her enthusiasm is unmatched. With the biggest match in her young career coming up, she's earned the opportunity to celebrate her birthday, watch her prospective opponents, and enjoy the rest of her birthday with a fantastic victory.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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Halep will face Jelena Ostapenko, who beat Timea Bacsinszky earlier Thursday