Published: Thu, June 15, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

French Open 2017: Ostapenko stuns Halep for first major title

French Open 2017: Ostapenko stuns Halep for first major title

JELENA Ostapenko has completed an extraordinary grand slam fairytale, upstaging Simona Halep to win the French Open.

Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko holds the trophy after winning the women's final match of the French Open tennis tournament against Romania's Simona Halep in three sets 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, at the Roland Garros stadium, in Paris, France, Saturday, June 10, 2017. She, too, was looking to win her first major but unlike Ostapenko is a household name and established at the top of the women's game. And also sometimes I was making too many unforced errors.

Ostapenko hit 54 winners and had as many unforced errors.

Halep failed to clinch victory despite having led by a set and 3-0, with three break point chances.

But, as in the second set, Halep was allowing - or perhaps helpless to prevent - the match being played on Ostapenko's racket. But Halep broke right back, and then took the set with a break in the final game. Ostapenko's beaming smile as she raised the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen was the only thing sunnier than her strokes all fortnight.

"I mean I can't believe I'm champion at 20", Ostapenko, the first woman to win the title from a set down since Jennifer Capriati in 2001, said on court.

From Halep's point of view her first time out of the gates at a Slam final, she was surrounded by an entourage of around 50 family and friends, and this time she kept it simple - and it nearly worked.

Add Halep to the list.

As for Halep, she knows this loss will be painful for a while and admits she needs time to get over it. Rafael Nadal spent the second week of last year's Roland Garros on a boat with his girlfriend, trying to forget the agony of injury that forced him to withdraw from the tournament after the second round.

Halep hung in there for a while, but once Ostapenko started to play close to the lines and to limit her mistakes - she had only 13 in the decider - she was tough to overcome. Because of all the unbelievable things she acheived in the span of one tournament, there's no reason to think she can't make a deep run, and possibly get another win, at the All England Club when Wimbeldon commences in less than a month. Keep it going because you are only a kid.

Halep had been installed as the favourite ahead of the most open grand slam anyone could remember.

Twelve women captured their maiden Slam title while still in their teens, Martina Hingis' 1997 Australian Open triumph at just 16 years and four months a record that looks more secure than ever.

Ostapenko's idol growing up, Serena Williams, is taking the rest of the season off while pregnant.

The 20-year-old is the youngest French Open victor since Iva Majoli in 1997 and the first player to win a debut tour-level title at a Slam since Gustavo Kuerten in Paris that same year. So that's what she told me.

Her fearless, frenetic energy gripped the tennis world. Saturday's victory was worth $2,351,097. "She deserved to win, she played very well". She also was a much more focused competitor and more consistent ball striker. Indeed, a win for the Romanian would have seen her become the new world no.1 in the WTA rankings.

Ranked No 47 pre-tournament, Ostapenko will climb now to No 12.

Her win makes her the youngest Roland Garros champion since Iva Majoli in 1997, and the youngest Slam victor since Maria Sharapova at the 2006 US Open.

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