Vastavam web: World number 47 Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko stunned third seed Simona Halep 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 on Saturday to win her maiden Grand Slam title and become the lowest-ranked champion in French Open history.Ostapenko is the first unseeded player to lift the Roland Garros title in the Open era and the first Latvian major champion in history.The 20-year-old is the youngest French Open winner since Iva Majoli in 1997 and the first player to win a debut tour- level title at a Slam since Gustavo Kuerten in Paris that same year.
Not only that but she is the first unseeded woman to win the Suzanne Lenglen trophy since 1933 and she emulated the great Brazilian Gustavo Kuerten by claiming her first title of any kind on the hallowed Parisian claycourts.Kuerten’s 1997 victory came on the day Ostapenko was born.Ostapenko had promised to stick to her uncomplicated routine of attack-attack-attack before the final and was true to her word as she walloped 54 clean winners and 54 unforced errors.
To make it a doubly difficult day for the 25-year-old, the defeat meant she also missed out on becoming world number one.”I felt like a spectator out there at times,” Halep, who had points to lead 4-0 in the second set and was also 3-1 ahead in the decider, said after her second runner-up finish here.Ostapenko, who had the Parisian crowd roaring her on, reeled off the last five games to claim the title and become the youngest first-time female grand slam champion since Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova won the 2004 U.S. Open.Fittingly she thumped a backhand winner past Halep to seal victory, before tossing her distinctive green headband into the crowd with a look of disbelief.
There was disbelief too, amongst those who had predicted Ostapenko would not be able to reproduce the kind of tennis that has lit up Roland Garros over the past fortnight.Ostapenko, who turned 20 on Thursday when she beat Swiss Timea Bacsinszky, will rocket to 12th in the rankings.”I mean I can’t believe I’m champion at 20,” Ostapenko, the first woman to win the title from a set down since Jennifer Capriati in 2001, said on court.”I knew that Gustavo Kuerten won his first Roland Garros the day I was born, I have no words.In baking sunshine Ostapenko began the match by breaking Halep’s serve with three clean winners and ended it, two hours later with two scintillating backhands.
What came in between was rollercoaster ride.Halep, with cheers of ‘Simona’ ringing out from her fans slowly roasting in the upper tiers of Philippe Chatrier Court, settled into a rhythm and broke three times to take the opener as Ostapenko’s error count soared to 23.The Romanian then had break points to make it 4-0 but Ostapenko held firm to massive cheers.Back on the attack Ostapenko surged 4-3 ahead only for more errors to allow Halep to break back for 4-4.Halep was suffering though and Ostapenko broke to love before levelling the match with a sublime forehand winner.