Five things we learned on Day 14 of Roland Garros - the people came and they saw a belter of a women's final.
On the day of the women's final, the people came, sat in the sun and watched the birth of a star in Jelena Ostapenko. They got their money's worth.
1.Centre court can be full
It’s taken this long. But at least it arrived. The centre court was full. The reason? The women’s final which started at 3pm local time.After lunch, you see.
2. Jelena Ostapenko’s plan A incorporates plan B
Jelena Ostapenko plays high risk tennis. The statistics tell us this. During the final against Simona Halep, she hit 54 winners and made 54 errors. Ostapenko, who turned 20, on day 12 of the 2017 French Open says it’s her character. “I found that I could hit the ball hard. And if I get the chance to hit the ball hard, I hit the ball hard.”
3. Simona Halep’s luck was out on day 14
The net cord is a cruel beast – depending on what happens of course. During her quarter-final against Elina Svitolina, Halep saved a match point with a gutsy backhand down the line during the second set tiebreak. That made it 6-6. Halep won the next point to gain a set point and she clinched the set when her forehand drive clipped the net and bounced on Svitolina’s side. After leading 5-1 and serving for the match a couple of times, Svitolina was understandably freaked. She lost the decider 6-0. Fast forward a few days and Halep, at break point down, in the final set is on the baseline waiting for another howitzer from Jelena Ostapenko. The Latvian whacks and ball zooms back but it is clear it is heading into the tramlines but it clips the net, flies into the air and bounces on Halep’s side in just by the line. Ostapenko goes 4-3 up and after that, there's no way back for the Romanian.
4. You’re buying.
Jelena Ostapenko was 20 on the day she played her semi-final against Timea Bacsinszky, who was also celebrating her 28th birthday. Ostapenko won the match of the birthday girls, obviously. She said after that match, she would celebrate her birthday after the tournament. Before the French Open, Ostapenko's career earnings were just over 1 million euros. Now as French Open champion, she has another 2 million euros in her piggy bank.
5. Serena is my model
La Williams isn’t at the 2017. The 35-year-old American - winner of 23 Grand Slam singles titles - is away preparing the nursery for the birth of her first child in the autumn. Ostapenko – plan A hit hard – plan B – keep to plan A – says that she likes Serena’s style which is effectively the same song. We’ll see if young Ostapenko can emulate old mother Williams’ success. A fascinating story could just be beginning.
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