French Open Semi-Final Jelena Ostapenko's Best Present

Ross Houston
June 20, 2017

The 6-1 4-6 6-2 victory eased Wozniacki into the quarter-finals at Roland Garros, matching her best performance here in 2010. The opponent she faces in the semi-final, on the other hand, ousted local favourite Kristina Mladenovic.

Both players again struggled to hold their serve, exchanging breaks before Ostapenko rattled off three games in a row to lead 5-2.

She is the first teenager to make the last four at Roland Garros since Ana Ivanovic in 2007. Wozniacki has won five of her last seven matches on clay court. The 27-year-old victor said that the conditions made it hard to focus.

Now Ostapenko will play for a berth in the final Thursday, which just so happens to be Ostapenko's 20th birthday and Bacsinszky's 28th. Bacsinszky played some of the best tennis we've seen of her this season, grabbing some much-needed momentum ahead of the semi-finals.

While Ostapenko is on the rise, Bacsinszky is not long removed from almost quitting the sport completely.

Having trailed 5-0 in the first set, Ostapenko rallied to 5-4 before losing the set 6-4.

STAT OF THE DAY: It will be a double birthday celebration when Swiss Timea Bacsinszky meets Jelena Ostapenko in the semi-finals.

Thirteenth-seed Mladenovic had played with tears in her eyes.

"At the beginning it was really windy and tough for me to get my game, because I couldn't expect where the ball was bouncing", admitted Ostapenko, who moved into the semifinals at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in career after the Latvian beat Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.

But she handed the advantage straight back in the fifth game and the Swiss player went on to claim the opening set on an ace after 63 minutes on court.

She faced in Timea Bacsinszky, however, another woman with an emotional back story, the kind of artistic game beloved of the French crowds, and from the French-speaking region of Switzerland.

And sure enough Mladenovic - who trailed Jennifer Brady 3-0 in the third set in the first round and a second American, Shelby Rogers, 5-2 in the third set in the third round - temporarily lifted her game to lead 3-1 in the second.

Two rain delays - totalling nearly four hours - meant Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic's French Open quarter-finals were postponed until Wednesday.

The unseeded Latvian hit 21 winners and 16 unforced errors as she took the first set 7-6 (4).

"To play semi-final of Roland Garros on your birthday, I think it's really nice".

Ostapenko's absolute aplomb on the big stage may stem from a childhood stint as a competitive ballroom dancer (her favorite is the samba).

Ostapenko served out for the set after the first three-hour rain delay, and then grew in confidence in the decider as Wozniacki wobbled.

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