Published: Fri, June 09, 2017
Sport | By Cecil Buchanan

After nearly missing French Open, Halep could win 1st major

After nearly missing French Open, Halep could win 1st major

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.

Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko celebrates her win over Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland during their semifinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, Thursday, June 8, 2017 in Paris. Ostapenko, the world No. 47, is the first unseeded player to reach the final in Paris since Mima Jausovec in 1983. "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.

When Serena Williams announced she was pregnant and when Maria Sharapova was not given a wild card into the French Open, it didn't take a genius to suggest that Simona Halep, the 2014 runner-up, would be the most likely to take the trophy. "She had more courage".

For all her tactical skills, Bacsinszky could not contain Ostapenko, who hit the lines on multiple occasions in an aggressive style reminiscent of Monica Seles.

"It's an unbelievable feeling right now", said Halep after her fifth win in six meetings against Pliskova, the world number three.

Ostapenko extended a history-making assault in Paris, becoming the first Latvian in the professional era to reach a grand slam final. "I'm going to drink some beer, finally".

Jelena Ostapenko hit a double-fault on set point as Timea Bacsinszky leveled at 1-set apiece in the French Open semifinals. Ostapenko faltered when she tried to serve it out at 6-5, but the Latvian took the tie-break with a swinging backhand volley.

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The Czech made 24 errors in losing the first set, but finally edged ahead at 4-2 in the second.

The Czech said: "Ostapenko is having a good run here, and she's a unsafe player for everybody, but I would bet everything what I have on Simona". For many years, big things have happened for me at Roland Garros. "I'm just happy with the way I celebrated my birthday", Ostapenko said.

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.

Bacsinszky needed treatment to her right thigh after an awkward slide in the opening set but credited her opponent with a fine performance.

Dabrowski, who is from Canada, and her Indian partner rallied to beat Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany and Robert Farah of Colombia 2-6, 6-2, 12-10.

"Rafa could potentially win up to 15 times", Kuerten said about Nadal, who has dropped only 22 games in five matches so far.

There was not just a grand slam final at stake but also the world number one ranking. Ostapenko has a chance to win her first career grand slam title at just 20 years old.

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