Ostapenko leads her opponents on a merry dance


Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko stunned third seed Simona Halep 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 on Saturday to win her maiden Grand Slam title and become the lowest-ranked champion in French Open history.

Halep would have been world No 1 had she won the title, however it was not her day, as Ostapenko became the youngest woman to win since 1997, the first Latvian to win a grand slam singles title.

"I can not believe I am champion at 20 years old", Ostapenko said.

"There are similarities because of course when I was born he won the first Roland Garros", said a smiling Ostapenko, who could barely believe how many people had crammed into the media room.

Ostapenko is the first Latvian to win a grand slam and her victory over Halep was broadcast on a big screen in Riga, the nation's capital.

Much like her style of play, Ostapenko's demeanour is just as upbeat even when she's trailing her opponents in a match.

In the final match, Ostapenko won another important title - the first unseeded woman to win at Roland Garros since 1933.

Halep marked herself out as a favourite for the title at Roland Garros after winning in Madrid and finishing runner-up in Rome, but a tumble in the Italian Open final left her with ankle ligament damage and cast doubt over whether she would play in Paris.

Ostapenko held a 40-0 advantage on the Halep serve but couldn't break, was broken in the ensuing game after holding game point and lost the next game after it went to deuce.

"That's when I felt, 'I have nothing to lose, so I'm just going to enjoy the match and do my best'". I would be surprised if she came out and can hit winners all over the court like she has been.

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Ostapenko was playing in only her eighth Grand Slam tournament and never had been past the third round before. To play a final, it's an wonderful thing.

There were 54 of each against Halep: a less startling statistic for those who had watched Ostapenko pound and shrug her way through the six matches leading to the final. So what if Ostapenko wound up dropping that set, then facing big deficits in the second and third? She fired 54 winners to script a stunning 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over World No 3 Simona Halep.

"She only has one game, either I can't touch it or it flies one metre out".

Ostapenko joins Petra Kvitova, who won Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014, and last year's French Open champion Garbine Muguruza in a select group. I have no words, it is my dream.

In one way, Halep winning her first major and rising to the top of the rankings would have brought a sense of stability to the women's game at a time when many of its powerhouses like Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova, and Petra Kvitova have been absent. But if she keeps playing like this, with no fear, then who's to say she can't win there, too? Three years ago was something new, so now I know. "And I will work hard to climb the ranking and to maybe win some more titles".

"Actually, yeah, I think it's a quite bit deal in Latvia". I've just enjoyed it so much.

The 23 unforced errors caught up to the Latvian and Halep took the opening set.

"Now I want to congratulate Jelena - it's an incredible thing".

"I think if I have a really good day and I'm hitting really well, anything is possible".

In an extraordinary climax to an extraordinary match in an extraordinary French Open campaign, a new champion has been born. A game later she sent a victor to the corner to square the match.