Thursday 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! 😂
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 and 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!