After just 1 hour and 5 minutes of play, Jelena Ostapenko progressed to her first ever second-week appearance in a Grand Slam having survived a tough and tricky draw to do so, defeating Lesia Tsurenko in the third round of the French Open.
Ostapenko makes a flying start
Ostapenko had the perfect start to her first ever Roland Garros third round appearance as she came into the match firing, looking very solid from the start. With some great returns which were too good for the vulnerable serves of Tsurenko, the Latvian got off to a great start as she broke serve with the help of three winners, taking the early lead. Ostapenko then got through a nervy opening service game as she affirmed her lead with a hold of service. The Ukrainian looked to produce a fight back when she fended off two break points in the following game and returned to deuce.
However, it still was not enough as Ostapenko maintained her composure and came up with some spectacular winners to get the second break of serve. Tsurenko’s woes continued as she hit three consecutive unforced errors to allow her higher-ranked opponent to easily hold her serve and consolidate the break, extending her lead to four games. It was all Ostapenko during the rallies as she often dictated play and kept Tsurenko at bay, reflecting on the scoreboard as she jumped out to a formidable 5-0 lead after breaking serve yet again, being just one game away from sealing the first set.
However, the Latvian unexpectedly threw in some unforced errors to have her first sloppy game of the match, allowing Tsurenko to break back and earn a consolation game. Nevertheless, Ostapenko did not get affected and once again stamped her authority across the court as she comfortably broke serve for the fourth straight time to win the first set 6-1 after a mere 22 minutes of one-sided play. Tsurenko did not even manage to hit a single winner in the set, as compared to 12 for Ostapenko.
Ostapenko fends off fight back from Tsurenko
Despite winning the first set with a dominating scoreline and being full of confidence, Ostapenko had the worst possible start to the second set as she committed four straight unforced errors to gift Tsurenko the first break in the opening game, looking very erratic. It was a totally different Ostapenko in the second set as her unforced errors often brought about free points for Tsurenko, who easily consolidated the break to jump out to a 2-0 lead. Ostapenko then started to mount a comeback as she saved a break point in the third game and managed to hold her nerves, breaking straight back to return on serve.
Some powerful serving then got the youngster her first hold of serve in the second set, boosting her confidence. Tsurenko then finally hit her first winner of the day, having to wait for 11 games to complete and 39 minutes before sending a ball past Ostapenko. It eventually saw her regaining the lead as the Latvian failed to send in some consistent first serves, allowing the Ukrainian to open a 3-2 lead and looked poised to send the match into a decider. However, Ostapenko did not lose hope and instead broke straight back once more to increase her chances of closing the match out in straight sets. With some world-class offensive tennis, the Latvian finally took the lead for the first time in the second set, edging closer to the win.
Ostapenko seemed to have found back her best tennis as she broke serve for the seventh time in the match to take a 5-3 lead and be just one game away from winning the match. Despite hitting four unforced errors while serving for the match which caused her to get broken back, Ostapenko remained composed and kept her focus while the fans witnessed the third consecutive break of serve as the Latvian sealed a place in the fourth round at Roland Garros for the first time in her career.