French Open final place is ideal birthday present for Jelena Ostapenko

Wednesday, 14 Jun, 2017

Ostapenko, the world number 47, is the first unseeded player to reach the final at Roland Garros since Mima Jausovec in 1983.

On Thursday, she will face No. 2 Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, a 7-6 (3), 6-4 victor over No. 28 Carolina Garcia of France.

She is also hoping to win a maiden tour-level title at a Slam - a feat lasted accomplished by Gustavo Kuerten at the French Open in 1997 on the same day Ostapenko was born.

PARIS, June 8 Timea Bacsinszky's party was ruined when fellow birthday girl Jelena Ostapenko beat her in the French Open semi-finals on Thursday but the Swiss appeared to be taking her second failure at that stage in three years in her stride.

"I'm really happy and proud".

"I'm not ashamed to say that she played better".

The unseeded Ostapenko became the first Latvian to reach a major final with a 7-6 (7-4) 3-6 6-3 victory on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Switzerland's Timea Bacsinszky and Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko advanced to the women's singles semi-finals in the French Open tennis championships.

While Ostapenko is assured of making her debut in the top 20 next week thanks to her surprising showing at the French Open, there is more at stake for the No. 3-seeded Halep: In addition to a chance for Grand Slam title No. 1, a victory would allow the 25-year-old to seize the No. 1 ranking for the first time, too.

Ostapenko fell in the first round on her main draw debut here previous year but is one win away from becoming the first player since Gustavo Kuerten in 1997 to win their maiden tour-level title at a Slam.

Ostapenko - who practiced ballroom dancing when younger - signaled her promise in tennis by winning the Wimbledon juniors in 2014.

Ostapenko took advantage of Bacsinszky's vulnerable second serve to pull ahead in the tiebreaker and ultimately claim the first set.

"When I came here, of course I didn't expect I would be in the final", Ostapenko said.

The focus switches back to the men today, with Andy Murray insisting that he is the odd man out in the semi-final line-up, having arrived at Roland Garros playing "garbage".

Pliskova struck the ball ferociously, but paid the price for 55 unforced errors after being put under huge pressure by a relentless and vibrant Halep.

Halep reunited with Cahill in Madrid after the Adelaide mentor walked away following her mid-match emotion in Miami. "I think it's a nice gift".

Thus, Saturday's first-ever meeting between Ostapenko and Halep presents not just another battle between power vs. defense and point construction, but a vast difference in terms of what's at stake. I was just trying to stay aggressive and to go for a shot when I could. I saw a little bit of her match today. "Then every match I was playing better and better and I got my confidence, and I think it works pretty well".

She benefited from Pliskova's clumsiness in the first set before the Czexch rediscovered her touch. And to put it into context, 50 winners is enough to win two full sets (and the first two points of a third).

None of it worked well enough to win, although here is precisely how close the match was: Ostapenko won 106 points, Bacsinszky 105.