Match Points, Highlights of the 2017 French Open: Ostapenko wins the whole caboodle

An exciting French Open concluded on Sunday with the women’s doubles final. On Saturday, a first time Slam champ was crowned in an enthralling final to end another memorable Slam. This post brings together the highlights from the tournament including a recap of the final and links to memorable matches, points, media and plenty more. All previous Match Points tournament summaries from 2016 and 2017 can be found HERE. Read on for the best bits from Roland Garros…
Match Points

Singles Champion

The 2017 French Open champion is… Jelena Ostapenko. I think it’s going take some time for that to sink in! Winning her first title at the WTA level, the 20-year-old produced another sensational display, coming from a set and a break down to beat Simona Halep, 4-6 6-4 6-3 in yet another gripping match from this year’s French Open. The Latvian player produced crushing blows down-the-line and absolutely ripped on Halep’s serve at the end, winning the last five games in style. She claimed the crucial break in the decider on a lucky net cord at 3-3.

Few doubted that Ostapenko could hittt the ball but never did I think she was ready to win a Slam. It’s a stunning result and the way she has made her way through the draw, hitting tons of winners and fighting from a set down on four occasions! Huge credit to Ostapenko who will rise to number 12 (!) in the rankings and now heads to her more favoured surface of grass. Just wow.

Doubles Champions

Lucie Safarova and Bethanie Mattek-Sands won their third consecutive Slam with a dominant win over Casey Dellacqua and Ashleigh Barty in the final, 6-2 6-1. I was gutted to see Casey and Ash not play their best but equally, i’m chuffed for Lucie and Beth who are having another terrific year. Wimbledon is the elusive Slam for them!

Super Snap

There were some wonderful storylines from this year’s French Open. The return of Petra was very special.

Super Stats

There are so many crazy stats surrounding the champ, Jelena Ostapenko. The Latvian player had never won a title before, or a match at the French Open and she camec in unseeded! She was a winner machine and hit just shy of 300 winners during the tournament. In the quarter-finals, Ostapenko beat Caroline Wozniacki for the third time this year with another hugely impressive display of aggressive tennis – she has hit 148 winners against the Dane in three matches!

Ons Jabeur had a landmark tournament as she won her first ever main draw match at a Slam and then secured a first top ten win, beating Dominika Cibulkova in the second round.

Comeback Kid

Another great story – five years after reaching the fourth round of the French Open, a recently returning-from-injury, Petra Martic reached the last 16 and was two points away from the quarters. Her third round, 6-1 6-1 win over Anastasija Sevastova was sensational.

Memorable Matches

There were plenty of memorable matches at this tournament. Starting with a few personal favourites – I loved Muguruza-Kontaveit from the second round, which was high quality tennis throughout. I also enjoyed Gavrilova-Mertens (R1), Hsieh-Garcia (R3) and Ostapenko-Stosur (R4).

Some of the most memorable matches of the tournament featured Kristina Mladenovic – her first round, 9-7 third set win against Jennifer Brady was a tortuous affair, while her wins over Shelby Rogers (7-5 4-6 8-6, R3) and Garbiñe Muguruza (6-1 3-6 6-3) had it all.

There’s a lot of matches on my catch-up list – both semi-finals and Halep’s come-from-behind win escape against Elina Svitolina.

Memorable Points

Here’s a 50 shot rally in the doubles semi-final featuring Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova vs. Chan Yung-Jan and Martina Hingis!

Super Sportsmanship

There were many awesome handshakes and hugs, and great sportsmanship on show this year.

Racquets down… Petra and Beth! 😊

Viktorija Golubic fell to the ground with the cramps on match point in her first round match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich. The Belarusian helped out at the end and gave Golubic a comforting hug.

A nice hug between birthday buddies. Jelena’s smile here 😊.

A hotly anticipated cold handshake alert… Cornet and Garcia handled it with class.

Dasha going in for the hug with Simona! 😍

A lovely embrace between Svetlana Kuznetsova and Zhang Shuai after a brutal third round match.

LOL Moment

Timea’s reaction when the journalists kept streaming into her quarter-final press conference 😂.

Cracking Quotes

Timea is so thoughtful. Sitting in a press conference with the Swiss player is a real experience!

A pretty great sum-up from Kuznetsova of her game.

Fran ❤️

Press Conference

An emotional one… Garbiñe Muguruza was tearful but also came back with some attitude.

 

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27 thoughts on “Match Points, Highlights of the 2017 French Open: Ostapenko wins the whole caboodle

  1. The best FO final that I have seen. I was expecting Ostapenko to win her first WTA title this year but did not think that this would be it ! I am slowly warming to her and hope that she will now behave better and be more gracious in defeat than she has in the past. She is quite entertaining to watch as she plays aggresively and takes risks and goes for it.

    I did feel a bit for Halep though and it looked like she had been crying when she returned to the court after leaving it at the end of the match. She did have problems with the power of Ostapenko but I do feel that she played it too safe. I hope she can win a GS as I think that she deserves to and she showed a better attitude in the last fortnight than she has sometimes done previously.

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      • Exactly what I was thinking 😀 Nothing would surprise me…like not even if she is winning Wimbledon straight after:D

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      • Who cares? She has the RG in her bag now. She may lose some matches and win some matches or she may surprise everyone again. Nevertheless, whoever had followed Ostapenko in the past 2 years all knew that she is a real deal. Accept it she is a GS Champ now.

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    • I missed the final live but was glad to find a replay on Eurosport in the evening. It was a good final and I thought in general, a very entertaining French Open. Love Ostapenko’s game, intrigued to see how she can build on this.

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    • very good summary, Peter! I think she could definitely be more gracious in defeat (although I found it quite funny when she was saying she was playing badly because it was actually the truth) but her game is an absolute joy to watch. I still can’t process all of her return winners. It’s like hit or miss and live or die. But she definitely won over the French public 😉 They were chanting “JE-LE-NA”.

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  2. Truly great women’s final. I don’t need to add to the fully justified praise in the media given to Ostapenko. Many of her winners were genuinely extraordinary, so incredible that I found them in fact quite moving. I also think that she is so young that perhaps the enormity of what she did, and the size of her talent, has yet to sink in, as you allude to here. This struck me as I watched her after the match.

    As for Halep, a truly gallant effort. Such resilience and consistency. She didn’t lose it, but her opponent won it, as a few TV commentators said. She also showed great dignity and self-control after the match. Halep is such a great talent, but I really do wish she would quieten down (yep, I’m back on that subject again). It’s not just me who has noticed this. She didn’t used make such a long and raucous sound, which – tellingly – stops instantly if the ball hits the net. She doesn’t need to do it, with her amazing skills and determination. I hope she does go on to win the French, and indeed slams.

    I’m really hoping Ostapenko can build on this remarkable victory. Hard to see how she couldn’t, with her evidently natural skills and great power. Mind you, I thought that after the Puig Olympic victory, and was proved wrong – though that of course is significantly different.

    I’m also hoping Muguruza rises again.

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    • Fair point about Ostapenko, some of her comments in press about only feeling nervous just before the match surprised me! Im fascinated to see how she will do on grass. I remember that she lost quite a few matches from match point up last year but she’s been much more mentally grounded on court this year and she showed few signs of nerves deep in the third set of her last matches at RG.

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    • I think she’ll need to really find a way to mellow down if she’s going to have any kind of consistency. Because she’s an emotional yo-yo and while that may have worked for her this week when her backs been against the wall and she’s had no real pressure or expectations, it won’t work when she becomes a target for other girls to upset or when she’s having to defend points or being a top contender for titles.

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    • I do like her game when she’s focused but i strongly believe there will be different winners at the remaining slamsn It’s too open and there is no looming spectre of Serena for a while for anyone to worry about.
      It will be great if she develops a champion’s mindset quickly. It will be good for the women’s game and junior girls.

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  3. Halep is too defensive and she is the type of player that hopes to win with opponent’s errors. Kerber has such luck last year to win two Grand Slam. See what Kerber has this year when her opponents assault her with attacking plays. Pushers won’t win grand slam.

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    • These discussions about players who are “pushers” and do not deserve slams just show that people don’t know a thing about tennis and tactis. Players are different. How boring would it be if we had only hard hitters?!? A tennis match lives and thrives with different game styles.
      And I’m really over it that people think Kerber was lucky. She seized the opportunity and she won against Serena and Pliskova. The reason she is losing now is her non-existing confidence and the pressure of being no. 1. Some players can directly cope with pressure and some need to learn to deal with it.
      I like different players with different game styles and you should consider that, too.

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    • @Frank, friend, you seriously are on a continuous rant like you have any idea what you’re talking about. And these comments of yours – seeing as you’re constantly targeting Halep for her lack of skill or aggression – actually do a big disservice to Ostapenko’s game and win, instead of bringing Halep down as a player.

      The tactic Halep went for was the right tactic. People praise Ostapenko’s huge number of winners, but constantly fail to mention her almost-on-par at time number of unforced errors. When you play against a player that going for every shot, you need to play with patience, as such players usually tend to crack down at one point or another. But there are those moments when they also get sometimes to a point where everything works for them. And in this case, all credit goes to Jelena for finding a way to tone it down just a notch after she saved the 4-0 balls in the 2nd, and reduce her UFEs. That was all. It’s not about being defensive, not about being a pusher or employing bad tactics, not about being a BBB, or hard-hitter. It’s about ONE player, who’s become the French Champion, finding the perfect balance at the perfect time. And with a help of 1-2 lucky shots, that was it. But it is said that luck helps the strong ones. It’s about resilience.

      In this final Jelena found her inner strength and showed some amazing mental resilience to calm herself down and find a more balanced pace to help her remove a big number of 3 meter UFEs from her repertoire. Simona, all things considered played a great match. She was close, very close. Probably had some struggles after the missed chances at 4-0, probably some fatigue after a long and demanding clay season, but that’s all that it was. Pusher or no pusher, she’s STILL rocking that WTA top no matter how many hard-hitters, new-stars or veterans have been swinging in and out of it for the past 3 years.

      All in all, you should really learn to enjoy a good tennis match/final, no matter the player you’re rooting for or the tactics – as long as they’re fair-play – they employ. Trust me, it makes the results so much more enjoyable.

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      • I think the race for #1 over the next few months could be potentially fascinating. Because arguably the four form players this year (Halep, Pliskova, Svitolina and Konta) all historically have better results in the second half of the year and play particularly well on fast hard courts. I’d be very surprised if one of them doesn’t win the US Open, and Pliskova is my pick for Wimbledon champion.

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      • @Andrew, absolutely! And let’s keep in mind that clay was supposed to be Jelena’s least favorite surface, too. And with Svitolina’s form lately, we definitely can’t rules this 2 ladies out.

        Hopefully Konta can shape up before Wimbledon, her form in the clay season has been subpar and she doesn’t need that on top of the “home court pressure”. From Halep I don’t expect much from Wimbledon, although she did reach a semi back in 2014, ousting Lisicki and failing to Bouchard with a sprained ankle. I’ll look forward to the US tournaments for her. Judging by her display on clay – again another player’s least fav surface – Pliskova is in a really good place right now. I’d say she’s the one to beat this year in Wimbledon.

        And very much looking forward to seeing Petra on grass again.

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  4. I am surprised and not surprised with Ostapenko winning the slam. I am surprised in the sense that she was no where in my shortlist before the tournament started. However, I am not surprised in the sense that once she made it to the semis I realized that now the game was on her racket.
    I do believe that after losing the game at 3-3 in the final set, Halep kind of gave up. I think it could have gone the other way or at least could have been much more tight final set than it was but to me Halep kind of gave up, but I dont blame her for that, it was tought, it was very tough.
    Can Ostapenko win more slams? For me, it all depends on her attitude, if she maintains the same attitude that she did in this final then she definitely can win more slams. Also, looking at her game, I feel she would be lethal on grass.
    I was extremely disappointed in Radwanska’s performance, I think she had an excellent draw to go a lot further. Her attitude is just getting worse and worse. And she says she doesnt like clay, that’s again bad attitude.
    I was also disappointed with Pliskova’s performance, I think she is getting way too defensive and that might turn her into something who reaches quarters and semis and that’s it. I wasnt impressed by the way she played against Halep.
    I had commented here in the beginning of this year that I dont see Kerber winning another slam this year. However, I am excited to see what she does at Wimbledon. I think if she gets in the right mindset then she can go far at Wimbledon considering these days it’s pretty much anyone and everyone.

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    • To be fair to Pliskova…shes completely turned it round in the Slams. At this point last year she’d only made it to the 3rd round and usually lost before that point. Since Wimbledon she’s gone Final (US Open), Quarter Final (Aus Open) & Semi Final (French Open) which would make her the most consistent performer at the last 3 slams !

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      • Yes, she did and I agree she (Karo’s) due for a slam sooner or later – I think the US Open (where she was the runner -up last year) is a better bet than Wimbledon though.

        I can’t really add much to what everyone’s said about Ostapenko’s win; it took a while for it to sink in with me too. I wanted Simona to win but once Jelena levelled at 3-all in the final set, I thought that if she could win it from there, she deserved it – and she did. A madgnificent result.

        Just one thing that puzzles me though. After the match Simona said something about Jelena “playing like a kid,” and I’ve seen commentators elsewhere mention the rawness of her game and the need for her to work on things such as her serve if she’s to maintain her in future..

        The question that occurred to me was; if it was that easy, and all you have to do if you’re a big strong player like her is maximise your aggression and go for everything in sight without worrying too much about
        touch and finesse, why don’t more of the bigger, stronger players do it?

        It’s easy to think of strong, powerful players who seem to perpetually underachieve in big tournaments (like Julia Georges and Yanina Wickmayer for example); why can’t they do the same thing? Or is Jelena winning for reasons other than her speed and power, e.g. her ability to read the ball well?

        Thanks in advance for any answers to this.

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    • I think she meant playing like a kid as in ‘childlike’ attitude, unguarded, fearless, boundless, frank or direct, sometimes with naivety or a hint of wanton abandon. It worked in this situation cause she has overwhelming firepower to back her. Virtually, pummeled Halep into submission. Keep in mind that Halep has played lots of other power base line hitters before, so she is speaking relatively of Ostapenko’s mental approach to hitting/her game style.

      Personally, I consider two things with the players, motivation( mental, emotional, smarts, etc) and talent (technical, physique, etc). But, I will take a highly motivated player of average talent, over a super talented player with little motivation. At least you can show up with some motivation, an unmotivated talent is nigh on useless. It’s the long game view, especially considering the whole WTA season. IMO, it’s what makes Serena such a dominant athlete. She has lots of both.

      As they say variety is the spice of life so I’m loathe to often generalize from individual players. But, take Sharapova for example, she does play like Jelena sometimes when her back is against the wall, with no plan b as well. We know her history with the shoulder injury and all. A couple of tournaments back CoCo was playing unstoppable, controlled tennis but couldn’t mentally sustain that form.

      It’s true that height and physique do factor in a sport like tennis especially with serve, like Ivo Karlovic, but your technique and mindset is important too ( If I recall correctly, Elena Dementieva couldn’t find a serve to save her life when needed and she wasn’t challenged for height relatively, great ground game though). And I’m waiting, hopefully for the day when Lisicki’s mind catches up and stays with those mighty arsenals of hers for a whole tournament.

      There’ve been slam winners like Hingis, Justine, Schiavone, and yes Kerber too, who have proven that power play isn’t everything(Smarts, defence, finesse just to mention a few can be equally effective). I do appreciate Stosur’s well toned physique but that mindset she can keep. Will take Henin’s any day.

      Some tend to look at the numbers, especially if you’re the betting type cause you often need to work in absolutes. It’s likely the stats favour power hitters (no arguments there). I feel with the WTA becoming more open, those numbers can be deceptive.

      Ostapenko had a few things going on for her. The French clay has become very favorable to power hitters as shown by the recent success of baseline hitters. The draw was fairly favourable too and she got to play a counter puncher in the finale. Yet, opportunity favours the prepared mind, and that is where her ‘childlike’ mind went ‘Carpe Diem’ and we know how that ended for Halep. With the ‘lemons’ she had, she made lemonade and then some. Just fantastic!

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      • I agree with what you have written. Mindset plays a big role, a very big role. I remember Hingis saying that when she was young and would step on the court she knew she would win, and as she won more, she became even more confident that she was going to win no questions asked. Hingis was definitely one of the most intelligent players ever.
        Ostapenko was unguarded and fearless. I do agree that Ostapenko was reading the ball quite well and she was taking her time to do that during the matches which was very very impressive.

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  5. Thanks to let’s play and Bryan for replying, and I agree especially with what let’s play thinks Simona meant by her comment about Jelena “playing like a kid”; ” ‘childlike’ attitude, unguarded, fearless, boundless, frank or direct, sometimes with naivety or a hint of wanton abandon.”

    Like

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