French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko to take 'fearless' approach into Wimbledon

Erica Murray
June 13, 2017

"I didn't see how people could play tennis on it".

"I go 100 per cent at everything", Ostapenko said after blowing third seed Simona Halep off court with 54 winners and equally as many unforced errors in a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory which made her the first unseeded woman to win at Roland Garros since 1933.

"When I first played on grass I didn't like it, I really didn't understand it", she told a small group of reporters following her shock Paris win as she recalled playing on grass at Roehampton in England as a 15-year-old.

The Latvian, the first woman to win her debut tour-level title at a Slam since Barbara Jordan at the 1979 Australian Open, is just the third major champion born in the 1990s.

Simona Halep: Halep might not have walked away with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen, but she enjoyed the best overall record on clay for 2017, amassing a 19-3 record by defending her Mutua Madrid Open title, finishing runner-up at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, and reaching the semifinals at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart. Clay is not even her preferred surface, as she won the Wimbledon Junior Title back in 2014.

"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.

Ostapenko who will rise to 12 when the WTA rankings come out later today will clearly be in hot demand with the bigger WTA tournament in Brisbane no doubt also keen to sign her.

She became the youngest female first-time grand slam champion since Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova won the 2004 U.S. Open. Ostapenko then somehow came back to win the second set 6-4. She then had three break points to move to 4-0.

Also, former French Open champions Iva Majoli and Mary Pierce announced that they will return to Singapore as WTA Finals Legend Ambassadors.

Halep, a 25-year-old from Romania, said: "I've been sick in the stomach with emotion".

"But then I learnt how to play on it and understood the movement". "She is fearless", she says.

Ostapenko cracked 54 winners past Halep in the final, her forehand is electric but her backhand may just about be the best shot in women's tennis right now.

British fans are set to be the next to see Ostapenko in action after Maria Sharapova's withdrawal from the Birmingham event next week opened up a space for her.

"At some point I was like a spectator on court", Halep said.

"There were a couple of games when everything went my way and I was ready to fight for every point".

Other reports by Insurance News

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