French Open 2017: Champion Jelena Ostapenko believes anything is possible

Vincent De Villiers
Junho 15, 2017

Unseeded Jelena Ostapenko rallied after dropping the first set and going down 0-3 in the second to shock No. 3 seed Simona Halep on Saturday to capture the French Open women's championship for her first Grand Slam title.

Romania's Simona Halep clenches her fist as she plays Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko during their final match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, Saturday, June 10, 2017 in Paris.

Ostapenko was born on the very day that Gustavo Kuerten became the last player to win a grand slam as first title by winning the French Open.

"She goes for broke and misses a lot, but when it really mattered - when she was a set and 3-0 down - she had the power and nerve to take the match away from Halep".

The 20-year-old Ostapenko fought back from 3-0 down in the set and the Latvian wrapped it up with a forehand down the line, her 36th victor of the match.

"I always had the possibility I could hit the ball really hard".

"I think when I go back home, there will be a lot of attention and this is really nice because I made history for my country", said Ostapenko.

Kuerten's 1997 victory came on the day Ostapenko was born.

"She played really well, all the credit". She has worked tirelessly with Cahill recently to rectify that problem and the worry now would be that a defeat like this in the French Open final would set her back emotionally and mentally. Sometimes [her shots] were two metres out, sometimes they were in the court and I couldn't touch them. "She deserved to win, she played very well".

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"To play the final, it's an unbelievable thing". Three years ago it was something new, so now I know.

It was fitting that Ostapenko drilled a backhand victor down the line - her favourite shot - on match point.

"She only has one game, either I can't touch it or it flies one metre out". I think I can still improve my serve, my forehand.

She again summoned a veteran's resolve down 3-1 in the third set, taking the match's last five games and, fittingly, striking a pair of winners on the last two points. "Maybe I was not ready to win it".

You'd have to think that Ostapenko, at just 20 years old, has a future that will have more trophies coming her way.

Women's tennis has been crying out for a young player to not just make a breakthrough but build on it and become a great champion. Of course I would like to win probably all of the grand slams. The 192-metre vertical drop is not for the faint-hearted and had her mother not intervened, Jelena Ostapenko would have joined the hundreds of people who have leapt off the tallest man-made structure in New Zealand.

"I can just look forward", she said.

In today's men' singles final, former champions Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka face off for the 2017 Roland-Garros title, with the Spaniard chasing an unprecedented Grand Slam Decima and the Swiss eyeing his fourth major in as many years.

Trailing 0-3 in the second set and 1-3 in the deciding set, she mentally regrouped in the biggest match of her short career to clamber back on terms. "That's why I work 20 years and played 20 years to have this moment", said the 25-year-old, who will rise to No2 in the rankings on Monday and will lead the Porsche Race to Singapore standings.

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