Jelena Ostapenko overwhelmed Simona Halep by producing one of the biggest upsets in French Open history to capture the French Open title, her first major career title. The unseeded Latvian overcame Halep in a 4-6 6-3 6-3 to become the first ever Latvian to secure a Grand Slam victory.
The unseeded 20-year old was a set down and also trailed 3-0 at one stage with Halep sailing through in the opening proceedings of the women’s summit clash. However, she fought back and staged a remarkable turnaround to win the title at Roland Garros, becoming the first player since Gustavo Kuerten 1997 to win their first major title at the French Open.
Ostapenko displayed immense heart and bravery playing some hard-hitting strokes which left Halep unable to cope up as she finished the match with 54 winners and more than 50 unforced errors. Ostapenko began the match brightly breaking Halep in the very first game to love with an amazing array of ground strokes catching the one of the pre-tournament favorites off-guard with her power and speed.
Halep herself bounced back by taking eight of the next ten points breaking and holding while Ostapenko, who was ousted in the first round of the French Open last year, was understandably battling nerves in the first set of her first Grand Slam final.
With the first all square at 4-4, Ostapenko led by 30-0 in the ninth game but quickly relinquished control to Halep committing three unforced errors. Despite the game going to deuce, Halep unleashed some extraordinary strokes of her own to take home the opening set. It was a clear match-up between Halep’s pace and Ostapenko’s power shots with the latter conceding the set through netting the ball.
The 25-year old’s experience and Ostapenko’s risky style and streaky second serve in the second set enabled Halep to jump to a 3-0 advantage by saving three break points. At 40-0 up, Halep was an inch away from the match and closing in on a first Grand Slam title but Ostapenko valiantly fought back and won the game with a beaming forehand.
There was a clear shift in momentum from that point forward as the 20-year Latvian won the next four games and eventually took home the second set to set up a decider. Once again the youngster had to overturn a deficit, as she was down 3-1 in the final set but three backhands later she was 3-3. Ostapenko also secured a break in the next game. She further won two games with the last one being a break, finishing with another winner to claim her first Grand Slam title.