Unseeded Ostapenko tops Halep at French Open for 1st title


"At some points I was like a spectator on the court", Halep said.

"I can not believe I am champion at 20 years old", Ostapenko said. She was the runner-up to Maria Sharapova at Roland Garros in 2014.

Simona Halep insisted she had nothing to regret after a painful loss to rising Latvian star Jelena Ostapenko in Saturday's French Open final. The 20-year old had come to the Roland Garros as a virtually unknown young player from Latvia but with heaps of aggression and self-belief. I was close, but again, I lost it. It's just the way I play.

Ostapenko was fearless, going for broke 3-0 down in the second set.

But few would have imagined that Ostapenko, who had lost her only French Open match before this run, would be the one to capitalize. Jelena won this match, Simona did not lose it. "So if I can reduce them, I think that will be helpful". She had a wonderful clay-court season. I think I have the game.

The 20-year-old, ranked 47, had never been beyond the third round at a grand slam before nor won a senior title. "'And she said, 'Maybe one time I can become a champion here"'. So it was a little bit of like emotional moment, but that's it. "This one hurts a lot maybe because I realize more what is happening".

Rafael Nadal beat Austrian Dominic Thiem in three sets to reach his first French Open final in three years on Friday.

Halep has had issues before with being too self-critical and coming down hard on herself, particularly during matches.

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And she was three games away from it, with Ostapenko spraying the ball outside the lines. "Enjoy it, be happy and keep it going because you're like a kid".

Halep's status in Romania is huge and she shoulders vast pressure of expectation from her followers back home. "I think she's playing probably similar to my style, so she was my idol".

Halep and her coach Cahill with Ion Tiriac the day before the final.

"I really love Wimbledon", she said. My guess is that the power-hitter will break through the top 10 in a matter of just weeks and she'll be looking at the top five soon enough. It is a form of tennis blackjack in which, when asked to stick or twist, she opts for twist - every time. "I was thinking about winning the title". "Of course, during the match I sometimes have to change something because if I see the player is doing something different, I also try to change". But Halep, 25, said she felt sick to her stomach in the previous 24 hours leading up to the final as she tried, in vain, to get the enormity of the occasion out of her mind.

"And we just want to create some rivalries now".

Quick feet, quick swings, high velocity - that is the way the 20-year-old from Riga goes about her business.

"I knew Simona is a great player and she was playing great", Ostapenko said. In the final match, Ostapenko won another important title - the first unseeded woman to win at Roland Garros since 1933. She found the courage to fight her way out when she was down.

Before beating Halep, Ostapenko allowed the media to get to know her as she answered a number of questions on topics other than the final. Last year, she threw a racket during a tournament in Auckland, New Zealand, that bounced off the court and struck a ball boy. Hurts a lot, and I need time just to - I don't know.