Halep, Ostapenko to battle it out for French Open title

Halep, Ostapenko to battle it out for French Open title

Romanian third seed Halep, the runner-up to Maria Sharapova in 2014, claimed a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win over Karolina Pliskova, the second-seeded Czech.

It's the first time a Canadian woman wins a Grand Slam title. "I'm playing a young player, it is a big challenge and it will be great to play here on Chatrier again". "I think it's a nice gift!" said Ostapenko, who is ranked 47th in the world. That means a loss in the final would give her one more shot as a favorite at a Slam over the next seven-plus months, which might feel like an eternity, depending on a host of factors.

Also semi-finals in Wimbledon.

FILE - In this September 12, 2015, file photo, Roberta Vinci, of Italy, left, and Flavia Pennetta, of Italy, pose for photos after Pennetta beat Vinci in the women's championship match of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in NY.

Ostapenko's strong forehand made the difference.

Getty Images
Getty Images

"But then I was just trying to be calm and just to try to play my game and just enjoy every moment".

"I didn't think I would ever make it back".

Halep, the 2014 runner-up, was down 5-1 in the second set, then was a point from losing while down 6-5 in the tiebreaker but came up with a backhand victor down the line to extend the match.

Should she win on Saturday, against fourth seed Simona Halep, it would be her first title - emulating the feat of Brazilian great Gustavo Kuerten who also announced himself to the world by opening his account at Roland Garros in 1997.

"I never played against her". Still, not much later, she was two points from taking that set.

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Bacsinszky's scouting report on Ostapenko, a pal she played doubles with past year?

"But I can feel that I'm in the same position". "And then I started to feel more relaxed, maybe because I thought it's finished".

"It was tough because we had to go away two times from the court", Ostapenko said, referring to the rain delays. "If not, I will have many years ahead to work and to play some more finals".

Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko celebrates winning her French Open semifinal.

Ostapenko fell in the first round on her main draw debut in Paris past year but is one win away from becoming the first player since Gustavo Kuerten in 1997 to win their maiden tour-level title at a Slam.

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"I mean, when I came here", Ostapenko said, her words spilling out with nary a pause in between, "of course I didn't expect I would be in the final". But I'm confident as well.

However, Ostapenko played fearlessly in the decider and pounded away a 50th clean victor to become the first Latvian player to reach a Grand Slam final. But 20 years ago, he said Thursday, he came to Roland Garros hoping "to win one match".

With the number-one ranking and the prospect of a first Grand Slam title on the line, it was Halep who grasped the opportunity.

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