French Open: Jelena Ostapenko stuns Simona Halep to win her first Grand Slam title

The second Grand Slam tournament of the year at the French Open, saw Jelena Ostapenko upset the third seed Simona Halep, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in just under two hours, becoming the first player from Latvia to win a Grand Slam singles title.

French Open: Jelena Ostapenko stuns Simona Halep to win her first Grand Slam title
Ostapenko claims her first WTA title which happens to be her first Grand Slam title (Photo by Eric Feferberg / Getty)
Jelena Ostapenko
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Simona Halep

The 2017 edition of the French Open in the women's singles draw was always going to be wide open. Three-time champion Serena Williams, and two-time champion Maria Sharapova were absent from the event, which meant there were going to be opportunities for everyone in the draw as the top players have not been consistent in 2017.

Nevertheless, 20-year-old Jelena Ostapenko won her first career title at the French Open, dispatching third seed Simona Halep, becoming the first unseeded player since 1933 to win the French Open, and the first Grand Slam champion from Latvia. Halep was unable to win her first Grand Slam singles title, and claim the world number one ranking but she will return to world number two on Monday. Ostapenko also became the first player since Jennifer Capriati in 2001 to win the French Open from being a set down.

Halep claims the first set in a tight opener

The two players traded breaks in the opening games of the match, and Halep held serve to love in the next game of the match to lead 2-1. The world number 47 was fearless, and she produced some running forehand winners down the line and levelled the match at 2-2.

Once again, the Latvian continued to hit the ball hard, producing more scintillating backhand winners down the line, and she broke Halep's serve again. Ostapenko was unable to hold onto her serve as Halep broke back immediately to love with the first set evenly poised at 3-3.

The Romanian raced out to a 40-15 lead on her serve but the unseeded Latvian applied more pressure on the former world number two's serve with a backhand winner down the line to create a first break point chance. Ostapenko was unlucky not to break as her backhand went out wide, just missing the edge of the line.

The Latvian held serve again to level the opening set at 4-4. Halep continued to struggle on her serve as she trailed 0-30 but she got a helping hand from Ostapenko, who continued to commit unforced errors. Halep finished off the game in a lengthy rally with Ostapenko committing another unforced error to lead 5-4.

The former world number two was unable to get over the line (Photo by Eric Feferberg / Getty)
The former world number two was unable to get over the line (Photo by Eric Feferberg / Getty)

The 20-year-old had to serve to stay in the opening set as the 2014 finalist was threatening Ostapenko's serve by retrieving the Latvian's drop shot with a strong forehand down the line, forcing the error from Ostapenko. Halep created her first set point chance with a good return of serve, and Ostapenko's forehand sailed into the net. The Romanian claimed the first set, and one set away from her first French Open title by Ostapenko committing a forehand unforced error, lifelessly sailing wide. 

Ostapenko fights back in the second set to send the final into a decider

It seemed increasingly likely that it wasn't going to be the 20-year-old's day as she raced out to a 0-40 lead on Halep's serve, however, the Romanian saved all three break points with a strong first serve down the middle to take the crucial 1-0 lead in the second set.

The third seed was dialled in and was ready to win her first Grand Slam singles title as she broke Ostapenko's serve on the third break point chance with Ostapenko's forehand going wild, out of the court to lead 2-0.

At 40-0 up, Halep should have had the game wrapped up but she conceded a point to Ostapenko as she thought the Latvian's ball was in but it was out. Moreover, the Latvian knew how important this game was going to be as she got to the game to deuce but Halep eventually held serve to lead 3-0.

A set and 3-0 up it was looked as though the wind had finally sailed out of Ostapenko. She staved off three break points as Halep was looking for the double break but she remained in touch with the Romanian at 3-1 down.

Halep was incredibly tight and couldn't finish off the job off. Ostapenko was threatening once more as she produced a good return and swing volley winner, followed by a backhand return winner down the line at the net to create a break point chance. She couldn't convert the first one but she took the second one to get back on serve.

The third seed created more break point chances in Ostapenko's service game to regain the break advantage. Halep committed more errors, and Ostapenko held on with a good forehand forcing the error from the Romanian. The Latvian was in the ascendancy as she produced a scorching backhand winner down the line to create a break point at 15-40. Halep saved both of the break points but she was unable to hold serve as Ostapenko produced a crushing forehand winner down the line for a third break point. The world number 47 broke serve with a swing volley winner to lead 4-3.

Ostapenko was fearless throughout the tournament (Photo by Adam Pretty / Getty)
Ostapenko was fearless throughout the tournament (Photo by Adam Pretty / Getty)

Halep halted the run of games against her to restore parity at 4-4 but Ostapenko broke serve again to love to lead 5-4 and serve for the second set. Ostapenko raced out to a 40-0 lead with a sweet running forehand winner down the line. She was unable to take the first set point but claimed the second one with a running forehand winner down the line. 

Ostapenko stuns the tennis world to clinch her first Grand Slam title

Halep was in serious danger of Ostapenko running away with the final set as the Romanian immediately faced two break points at 15-40 in her first service game of the deciding set. The 25-year-old saved the first break point and she got away with the second one as she found a forehand passing shot winner down the line with Ostapenko thinking it was wide. Halep held onto her serve to lead 1-0, which was crucial.

Both players held onto their next service games comfortably with Halep leading 2-1, and Ostapenko was struggling at she found herself at 0-40 down on her serve. It was a game full of unforced errors, and Halep converted the break point at the second time of asking to lead 3-1.

Ostapenko wasn't down without a fight as her forehands and backhands continued to power through on the court of Court Philippe Chatrier. On the second break point, Ostapenko broke Halep's serve with a backhand return winner down the line.

The Latvian was in a spot of bother in her next service game but she held onto her serve with an ace down the T, followed by a sweet crosscourt backhand winner. The alarm bells were ringing for Halep as Ostapenko created two more break points. Halep saved the first emphatically with a good serve and forehand winner down the line. The unseeded Latvian broke Halep with help of the net cord as her backhand went over, which was a turning point in the match.

The two finalists holding their respective trophies (Photo by Lionel Bonaventure / Getty)
The two finalists holding their respective trophies (Photo by Lionel Bonaventure / Getty)

The world number 47's dream of winning her first Slam title were coming true as she held serve easily with a stunning backhand winner down the line to lead 5-3. Halep's nightmare was coming true as she had to serve to stay in the match. Ostapenko was swinging freely with a return backhand winner down the line at 15-30. Ostapenko created her first championship point with a return backhand winner down the line. The Latvian converted it at the first time of asking with a return backhand winner down the line, stunning Halep and she will move into the top 15 for the first time.

By the numbers

The new French Open champion produced 54 winners, and committed 54 unforced errors, whereas Halep only produced eight winners and 10 unforced errors. The Latvian got 57 percent of her first serves in and won 69 percent of the points on it. Halep got 73 percent of her first serves in but only won 55 percent of the points on it. Ostapenko broke the third seed's serve, eight times out of 19 and Halep broke Ostapenko's serve, six times out of 16.