In her first ever Grand Slam quarterfinal, the talented youngster Jelena Ostapenko faces off against veteran former world number one Caroline Wozniacki in the French Open as both players now have the golden opportunity to reach the semifinals for the first time in their careers. This match is scheduled as the first match on Court Suzanne-Lenglen, with play starting at 2 pm local time.
Path to the quarterfinals: Wozniacki
Caroline Wozniacki had a relatively obstacle-free path to the quarterfinals, defeating a title favorite in Svetlana Kuznetsova along the way. Starting her Paris campaign against wildcard Jaimee Fourlis, the Dane had to battle for over two hours as she eventually managed to grind out the win in three tough sets, suffering a huge scare.
Then, she looked at her absolute best against Francoise Abanda as she earned the victory without losing a single game in the process. In her toughest match thus far, Wozniacki battled from a break down in the final set against Catherine Bellis and triumphed eventually. Thought to be a difficult match for Wozniacki, she proved everyone wrong when she strolled to a comfortable win over eighth seed and title favorite Svetlana Kuznetsova and progressed to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2010.
Path to the quarterfinals: Ostapenko
Jelena Ostapenko had a challenging path to her first ever appearance in the second week of a Grand Slam as she had to battle past against some quality opponents. Suffering a slight scare in the opening round, Ostapenko fought past the tricky Louisa Chirico, triumphing in three sets after dropping the first. Against the Olympics Gold Medalist Monica Puig, who just upset 31st seed Roberta Vinci in the first round, Ostapenko faced no problems at all as she prevailed in straight sets, looking in great form.
Only allowing Lesia Tsurenko to hit one single winner throughout the whole match, the Latvian affirmed her dark horse status as she defeated the Ukrainian in just a little over an hour, progressing to the first Grand Slam fourth round in her career. Losing the first set with a dominating scoreline, Ostapenko showed some great fight in her fourth round match against former finalist Samantha Stosur, making her way back to prevail in three sets, sealing a place in her first ever Grand Slam quarterfinal.
Head-to-Head: Ostapenko dominates
Ostapenko and Wozniacki have met on three previous occasions, with the lower-ranked player surprisingly prevailing in all their encounters. The pair met twice in this year alone, with both meetings coming on clay courts. Ostapenko managed to defeat the Dane easily in straight sets at the Volvo Car Open but endured a much tougher battle at the J&T Banka Prague Open as she had to save a match point in the process.
Although being the underdog on paper as she is the lower-ranked player, Ostapenko is tipped by many to triumph in this match after winning all her meetings against Wozniacki thus far. The reason why the Latvian prevails so often against the former world number one is that her offensive style of play works best against a counterpuncher like the Dane.
Like in all her matches, Ostapenko has to dictate play throughout the whole contest and constantly aim for the lines, moving her opponent around. The Latvian also has to be consistent enough to challenge Wozniacki, and we all have seen her when she is playing her best tennis; she can definitely beat anyone on tour. However, consistency has always been dragging her behind as she must not let a string of unforced errors affect her at any point of time.
In her impressive display against Kuznetsova on Sunday, Wozniacki’s forehand was absolutely firing. It looked so solid that it was able to outhit the Russian on a clay court, and was in red-hot form. However, against Ostapenko, she has to be on her absolute best once again and must try to be more offensive in her play. The former world number one has to serve well, preventing Ostapenko from exploiting those second serves and dictating play throughout.