Ostapenko wins; Nadal vs. Wawrinka in final

  • Ostapenko wins; Nadal vs. Wawrinka in final

Ostapenko wins; Nadal vs. Wawrinka in final

Simona Halep of Romania hits a shot during the woman's single final against Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia at the French Open tennis at Roland Garros in Paris, France on June 10, 2017.

World No. 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.

- Ostapenko wins her first grand slam title with a 4-6 6-4 6-3 win over Simona Halep. When she drilled a final backhand victor down the line, Ostapenko dropped her racket to the clay and held her arms aloft in delight and disbelief.

However, she admitted that when she came across a grass court for the first time, it was hardly love at first sight. By the time she arrives back at the All England Club in a few weeks she will be one of the players to fear, with a game that could be devastating on grass.

The 20-year-old looked down and out when Halep had points for a 4-0 lead in the second set but hit back with an audacious display of power to steamroll third-seeded Romanian Halep.

Soon enough, Ostapenko was holding her silver trophy - remember, the first she's ever won on tour - while listening to the Latvian national anthem ring through a Grand Slam stadium after a singles final for the first time.

Some doubt whether such an approach can seriously upset Halep, especially in the pressure-cooker atmosphere of a French Open final.

- She guided a lovely forehand down to line to draw level with her 36th victor of the match.

But Ostapenko had made almost as many errors and the challenge for her was to keep the ratio in her favour. I think I played okay. 'I think so, because I always had the possibility I could hit the ball really hard.

But the difference on this day: Halep faded at the end of the second and third sets, while Ostapenko surged, bringing her mother - a tennis instructor who taught young Jelena how to play - to tears in the stands. I'm sad I couldn't win it but it was a great experience. Clay isn't even her strongest surface! "Jelena Ostapenko did it right here this week", Martina Navratilova, a victor of Grand Slam singles title, told the Tennis Channel.

Back on the attack Ostapenko surged 4-3 ahead only for more errors to allow Halep to break back for 4-4. The tussle between the two opponents continued for the next couple of games, before Halep - ranked 43 places above her younger rival - asserted her mien as the tournament favourite to clinch the opening set.

Fear just does not seem to come into her vocabulary and the way she plays - the all-or-nothing style, going for broke, no matter what the situation - has such simplicity that it means there is no reason she can't repeat it next time she finds herself in this position.

"Enjoy it. I am a little sick in the stomach but I want to win it one day".

Her daughter has taken her by surprise by winning a grand slam so early in her career, but she recalled how it was a triumph 10 years in the making. Last year, she threw a racket during a tournament in Auckland, New Zealand, that bounced off the court and struck a ball boy.

"The fact that, at the moment, you kind have a dart board, and you can throw a dart, and any number of women can step up and make it through to a final or win one of these tournaments, I think, creates a lot of interest in the women's game", said Halep's coach, Darren Cahill.