Halep, Ostapenko to battle it out for French Open title

Ross Houston
June 16, 2017

She will play either the second seed Karolina Pliskova or the third seed Simona Halep in the final on Saturday.

Each has lost one major final: Halep at Roland Garros in 2014, and Pliskova at the U.S. Open a year ago.

The 47th-ranked Ostapenko, the first Latvian player to reach a Grand Slam final, won 7-6 (4), 3-6, 6-3.

But Ostapenko played fearlessly in the decider and pounded away a 50th clean victor to become the first Latvian player to reach a grand slam final.

"It's a fact that I'm not playing close to my best, and I know that", Djokovic said after his first straight-set loss at a major since the 2013 Wimbledon final.

Jelena Ostapenko became the first unseeded women's finalist at the French Open in more than 30 years by beating Timea Bacsinszky on Thursday.

"We need new stars", Evert told an event hosted by broadcaster Eurosport, for whom she is working as a pundit during the French Open.

Ostapenko then hit a winning forehand to secure her place in the final, prompting the crowd to sing "happy birthday" as she celebrated the biggest win of her career so far. "I'm playing a young player - it is a big challenge".

There were a couple of early double faults from Pliskova and a sprightly Halep went a break up at 2-1 when the second seed drilled a backhand into the tramlines under pressure.

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

Halep won a long game to break for 3-1 with a brilliant running forehand pass and then fought off two break points in the following game.

Jelena Ostapenko is coming off a three set win over Timea Bacsinszky that took 31 games to decide. "I love to play here, I love you guys, you're wonderful, thanks for coming to support me".

Although she could not convert a couple of set point chances on the Czech's serve, Halep looked after her own and looked comfortable on her way to a 6-4 win.

Halep will become world number one if she defeats her polar opposite Ostapenko, as well as the first Romanian woman to lift the Suzanne Lenglen Cup since Virginia Ruzici in 1978.

Romanian third seed Halep, the runner-up to Maria Sharapova in 2014, claimed a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win over Karolina Pliskova, the second-seeded Czech.

All of her big hitting - with a racket that has a white ribbon attached to the frame for good luck - gave Garcia fits: The last French player in the tournament made an eye-catching 31 unforced errors, to Pliskova's 13. It wasn't a pretty match, with her missing out on nine of her 12 break-point attempts. Pliskova ended the tie with 45 winners and a staggering 55 unforced errors.

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