French Open: Ostapenko wins first Grand Slam

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.

World number 47 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.

“I am really happy. I have no words. It was my dream, said Ostapenko, who will rocket to 12th in the rankings.

She trailed by a set and 3-0 but launched a memorable comeback with a remarkable display of fearless shotmaking.

I was just trying to stay aggressive. A couple of games, everything turned my way. I was 3-0 down but I was fighting for every point.

I still cannot believe it. It was my dream always. When I was a child I was watching. It’s amazing to play here. I just enjoy it so much.”

For Halep, bidding to join compatriots Ilie Nastase and Virginia Ruzici as major winners, it was a second final defeat in four years at Roland Garros.

The 25 year old would have replaced Angelique Kerber as world number one with victory, but Halep was overpowered as Ostapenko blasted 54 winners to the Romanian’s 10.

“I am sick in the stomach with emotions but hopefully I can win this one in the future,.

I want to congratulate Jelena. All the credit for what you have done. Enjoy it, be happy and keep it going because you’re like a kid.”said Halep.

Ostapenko set the tone immediately on a raucous Court Philippe Chatrier, disguising any nerves with an array of bruising groundstrokes to break Halep in the opening game.

But the Romanian delivered a swift counter punch, hitting back straight away on the Latvian’s serve before holding with ease for 2-1.

 

 

Jibril .O