Jelena Ostapenko overpowers Timea Bacsinszky to reach final at Roland Garros
Jelena Ostapenko v Timea Bacsinszky 7-6(4) 3-6 6-3

Jelena Ostapenko overpowers Timea Bacsinszky to reach final at Roland Garros

08/06/2017

Jelena Ostapenko produced a stunning display of power hitting to beat Timea Bacsinszky and seal a spot in Saturday’s French Open final.

Ostapenko will now try to win the first senior title of her career when she faces either Simona Halep or Kristina Pliskova on Saturday. And history might just be on her side.

The last player to win their debut title at Roland Garros was Gustavo Kuerten on June 8, 1997 - the day Ostapenko was born.

"I'm really happy, I love to be here," Ostapenko said after the crowd serenaded her with a chorus of "Happy Birthday" on the day of her 20th birthday.

"It's a great way to celebrate my birthday. I was always playing aggressive and trying to hit the ball when I have the chance."

She is the first unseeded woman to reach the French Open final for 34 years. Not since Mima Jausovec in 1983 has a player outside the leading ranks made it all the way to the trophy decider.

The free-swinging world number 47 launched a fusillade of 50 winners

The Latvian has been the surprise package of a wide open tournament having never previously been beyond the third round at a slam.

Ostapenko's forehand, which this fortnight has averaged three miles per hour faster than Andy Murray's, had helped her blast her way past Sam Stosur and Wozniacki in the previous two rounds.

She produced a string of stunning winners to take a thrilling first set 7-6.

But it was her response to being pegged back in the second set that truly won over the Roland Garros crowd, with Ostapenko’s power game proving too much for her Swiss opponent as she broke twice to win the deciding set 6-3.

Timea Bacsinszky, who turned 28 on the day of the semi-final, would have known what to expect when she took to Philippe-Chatrier, but knowing what was going to come from Ostapenko's racket and counteracting it proved two very different things.

Right from the off Ostapenko showed her confident best, crunching winner after winner, interspersed with unforced errors. Such is Ostapenko's all-or-nothing style that she is guaranteed to have afternoons when her game lets her down.

But a sunny Thursday afternoon in Paris wasn't one of them as she proved way too goof for her older opponent.

Her now trademark smile followed a fearless win in the first set.

And another ferocious forehand helped her break back as Bacsinszky rallied at the start of the second.

A number of unforced errors against a far more consistent Bacsinszky proved the youngster's undoing late in the second set. Yet she showed remarkable composure after being made to wait for the start of the third set by a Bacsinszky bathroom break, smashing her way into the Roland Garros final.

Women's tennis potentially has a new superstar.

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