From the moment 20 year old, Jeļena Ostapenko (currently #47 in the world) stepped on the clay today the French crowd was on her side. Ostapenko is the first Latvian to make it to a Grand Slam final and, also the first unseeded player since 1983 to make a final in Paris. She also did it on her birthday.
This young lady likes making history.
We say farewell to another crowd favorite, Timea Bacsinszky from Switzerland, who had her chances and also had her say. The match was close, except in the first set when Ostapenko had her game face on from the off. There was no ball that she didn’t hit the cover off. And, it’s official Ostapenko hits her forehand harder than Andy Murray.
The match began in an interesting fashion becoming tricky in the second set. The Latvian lost some focus and looked as if she was close to tears at times. Bacsinsky, with more experience on her side, sensed her moment had come, and it had as she took the second set 6 3. Into the third, the trade of breaks kept coming. Nobody knew what was going to happen and trailing 2 3 Bacsinsky put in some inspired tennis, as she showed, not just weight of shot, but touch too, as she employed a forehand drop shot that secured her the break.
The Latvian composed herself, took time to towel down and was soon at the baseline, and again employed determination to break straight back. Before long, she was 5 3 up and didn’t have to serve it out. The next everybody knew was a massive cheer of celebration and the crowd, directed by Marian Bartoli were singing her a happy birthday.