Friday’s Set Points, French Open 2017 Day 13: Halep vs. Ostapenko for the title

Set PointsThursday was my tennis club night so unfortunately this post to wrap up the women’s semi-finals and preview the final is coming very late! I played well last night and my highlight was winning a singles set, 6-0 against someone I normally have very close sets against. I hit one of my best ever shots – a backhand volley while I was on the move, which I managed to angle cross-court. I was very excited!Β πŸ˜‚

To professional tennis and we now know that Saturday’s Roland Garros final will be contested between Simona Halep and Jelena Ostapenko. I was working during both semi-finals and I have only caught up with highlights so a few quick thoughts. While i’m gutted to have missed them, I was thrilled that they delivered two competitive matches and with such a variety of game styles on show. On the whole, it’s been a super women’s tournament.

Ostapenko beat fellow birthday buddy, Timea Bacsinszky, 7-6(4) 3-6 6-3 in two hours and 24 minutes. Ostapenko’s bruising groundstrokes once again came to life in the hot conditions.

Loved this from Timea in press.

There are a couple of eye-catching stats with Ostapenko’s run this week…

If Ostapenko wins the final, it will be her first title at WTA level! The Latvian player is currently at 0-3 in finals.

Ostapenko has more than doubled her number of main draw Slam wins this tournament having won just four matches prior to the French Open and never won a match in Paris, even in qualifying!

Ostapenko has been hitting winners galore all tournament – she hit a whopping 50 winners against Bacsinszky but still didn’t top her best of 55 from the first round.

Ostapenko has always been touted as one to watch with her ball striking abilities – this year, she’s begun to couple that with a steadily improving mental toughness on court. Her run this week has been so impressive and she has beaten a wide spectrum of players. Ostapenko has come through four three setters, three from a set down including her first round match against Louisa Chirico.

Halep held off a fine effort from Karolina Pliskova to advance to her second Slam final, 6-4 3-6 6-3. I’d written off Halep before the tournament because I was worried about the ankle and I know how key movement is to her game. Thankfully, the ankle has held up well and with each match, she’s looked better and better. Halep has done a stirring job during this clay court season at staying in the moment and not losing her focus when faced with some kind of adversity. Halep’s semi-final press conference can be found HERE.

Halep vs. Ostapenko will be a fascinating finale and a first time match-up. Halep has generally played the big hitters well but I am a tad wary of this particular match-up. While Halep’s match against Pliskova will have been somewhat of a pre-cursor to this one, I feel Ostapenko’s ballstriking can go to another level and the hot conditions forecasted for Saturday should favour her. I would compare Ostapenko to a Lucic-Baroni in how she takes the ball so early and is ultra-aggressive, and the Croatian player has had success over Halep in the past.

Halep has the superior experience and despite playing the occasions well so far, Ostapenko’s record in finals is a cause for concern and this will be a big step-up just from the semi-final. Based on how she has been handling her emotions andΒ fought back from the brink against Elina Svitolina in the quarter-finals, I feel like it is Halep’s time to shine.

 

Ana Ivanovic was honoured in a ceremony between the two semi-finals on Philippe Chatrier.

The women’s doubles final is all set and it’s an absolute cracker – the number one seeds, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova will take on Casey Dellacqua and Ashleigh Barty. I’m obviously a fan of Team Bucie but I will honestly be happy either way. I’m thrilled Casey and Ash have reached the final.

And finally, Petra Kvitova is officially confirmed for Birmingham, which has an incredible line-up this year! I’m sensing Petra won’t double up and play Eastbourne though. Hopefully i’ll catch her at Wimby!

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11 thoughts on “Friday’s Set Points, French Open 2017 Day 13: Halep vs. Ostapenko for the title

  1. Simona has worked so hard in the past 3 years to reach this position of winning a grand slam. I hope she wins this cause her fans really want for her a Gs title. We have waited a lot 😳

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  2. I agree with Micjy and hope Simona surges to victory.
    Anna Ivanovic’s retirement trophy was very interesting. the trophy was a section of the clay court showing the various layers of stone and crushed brick that make up Terre Battue (beaten earth).

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  3. Every player has worked so hard to win any title. So, players who work very hard are deserved to win, not only Simona Halep. I think Ostapenko would love to play Halep more than Pliskova in the final. If she is not panic in the final and she can calm herself fast, this final will be an epic match. Ostapenko’s forehand and backhand from the two wings are so strong and powerful. Halep is an another pusher who uses speed to beat her opponents. I think Ostapenko will make her run like Wozniacki and Timea. We need a fresh new face and I am rooting for Ospenko to win.

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  4. I’m quite torn… no idea who is going to win.
    Halep will be the huge favourite (on paper) because she is in the TOP 10 for several years now and this is her second final. Ostapenko on the other hand has been great at times but is still inconsistent at her young age. She has been in three finals and lost them all.
    However, when her game is *on* I cannot see a lot of players matching her timing and her angles (except of Serena). It’s amazing how she is able to generate such raw power with her timing… soo, if Halep feels the pressure of being the favourite and Ostapenko plays as she has played before it could all go in her favour.
    Like your comparison to MLB…and this is a player with whom Simona has struggled in the past.
    Sooooo…literally no idea πŸ˜€

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  5. This Slam has been the strangest i can recall – the whole tournament I have felt like I have been watching a Premier tournament with a bigger draw and higher stakes

    I never thought Halep would make another GS final again but I am happy for her that she proved me wrong.

    I will be supporting Ostapenko but I think Halep will win. I wish someone would ask Broady in the ITF event she’s playing if she has anything to say about Ostapenko’s success haha, Justice is always served eventually!

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    • πŸ™‚ I get what you mean. Although Broady was a bit much, I think that preceding attitude from Jelena shouldn’t be encourage either.

      Anyway, excellent win from Ostapenko, left it all on the court!

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  6. Aww Ana!

    I played another epic match yesterday. Won my last three matches in 3 sets. I went down a set and a break yesterday and got SO mad because the guys on the next court had no etiquette and kept disrupting our play during points to retrieve balls. I think I channelled Serena because I won 9 of the next 10 games and had an outer body experience hitting some insane Ostapenko like winners.

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  7. Ostapenko hits 54 UFE and wins.— Set 1 (lost) 22 UFE, 14 win—-Set 2 (won) 18 UFE, 22 win—-Set 3 (won) 13 UFE, 18 win——–Match 54 UFE, 54 win

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    • Telling, isn’t it ?. As soon she was able to find her range and fewer unforced errors to winners she overwhelmed Simona. So what if she had a plan b to execute in the first set when her power hitting wasn’t effective ? Could she possibly carry on with such a high risk high rewards game for a WTA season, and could she maintain some consistency?

      On the other hand, If Simona could have found a second gear in the third, could she have weathered the storm better? Would she have been able to disrupt her aggression?
      Ostapenko’s losses this past year have come from Karolina, Vekic, Brengle, Wang, Tsurenko, Cibulkova, Kasatkina, Krystina, Vandeweghe, and Garbine. Kasatkina may be the odd one out here, but I can also understand how her grinding game can disrupt an Ostapenko. It seems some offensive weapon is needed.

      The grass court season may just be getting very interesting.

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