Fendrich on Tennis: Watch out for Ostapenko at Wimbledon

Ruben Hill
June 13, 2017

Three years ago, it was something new, but now I know.

"She had the same energy when she was little, it was very hard", Jakovleva, who coaches her daughter, told a group of reporters at Roland Garros.

Jelena Ostapenko kept giving her best all the time against Simona Halep today in the Roland Garros final, also when she was down 6-4 3-0. The Championship would have also steered her to World No.1 ranking but destiny had it otherwise.

And there is no second guessing, even though Ostapenko was clad in disbelief.

"I think when I go back home, there will be a lot of attention and this is really nice because I made history for my country", said Ostapenko.

"I have no words, it is my dream. It's odd.' But then in the next couple of years, I understood how to play there, how to move there, and then I really liked it".

At 20, Ostapenko is the youngest French Open champion since Iva Majoli won at 19 in 1997 and the youngest at any Grand Slam since Sharapova won the 2006 U.S. Open at 19. "I'm glad it finished my way".

The 192-metre vertical drop is not for the faint-hearted and had her mother not intervened, Jelena Ostapenko would have joined the hundreds of people who have leapt off the tallest man-made structure in New Zealand.

The 17-year-old player is the first Australian to win the boys' title at Roland Garros in 49 years.

Seemingly destined for defeat, Ostapenko had to do it the hard way.

But it paid off with his daughter winning junior Wimbledon in 2014.

"She' a great champion".

Her father Evgenijs is a former professional footballer.

Ostapenko prefers to be called Alona. Serena Williams won her first at 17.

Ostapenko, who had the Parisian crowd roaring her on, reeled off the last five games to claim the title and become the youngest first-time female grand slam champion since Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova won the 2004 US Open.

She will now climb from No. 47 in the world rankings to No. 12.

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.

Skipping the typical base stations, Jelena Ostapenko powered her way straight to a tennis peak Saturday, winning her first WTA tour title at the French Open.

The major turning point for Ostapenko in the match came in the second set, when nothing was going right for her.

And then she roared away.

But with a power-based game that elicits "oohs" and "aahs" from spectators, and a fearless attitude to match, Ostapenko could be one to watch for quite some time. The winners tally by the end of the match was 54 to eight in favour of Ostapenko. However, while 23 of these unforced errors came in the first set alone, the remaining 31 were split 18 and 13 each for the second and third sets respectively.

What was most remarkable was how Ostapenko defied her lack of experience to fight back from a seemingly hopeless position.

The errors crept back into her game and Halep responded for 4-4, but Ostapenko promptly broke to love to leave herself in sight of a deciding set.

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

Nadal hasn't dropped a set but will be wary of the threat carried by three-time grand slam victor Wawrinka.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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