Halep, Teenager Ostapenko Advance to French Final, No. 1 on the Line


Jelena Ostapenko is through to her first ever Grand Slam final after battling past No.30 seed Timea Bacsinszky in the French Open semifinals. "I think it s a nice gift", said Ostapenko, whose win was greeted by the crowd singing happy birthday.

Halep said: "I feel that she played unbelievable tennis in the first set and until the end of the second set, 5-1". "I think I was strong mentally".

"But then I was just trying to be calm and just to try to play my game and just enjoy every moment".

After Halep controlled the first set, Pliskova found her range on her big serve and forehand in the second.

If a place in the French Open final were not a big enough prize, the world number one spot will also be at stake when third-ranked Karolina Pliskova meets number four Simona Halep at Roland Garros on Thursday.

She lost the first set by a 6-3 margin and was down 5-1 in the second set, and she would be shaking hands with her opponent at the net in a matter of minutes.

"It is an fantastic feeling, I'm so happy".

- Latvian Jelena Ostapenko claimed opening set 7-6 (4) against Swiss Timea Bacsinszky in the semi-final after each player dropped serve three times during an hour's play on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Ostapenko defeated former world number one Caroline Wozniacki to become the first teenager to reach the semi-finals since Ana Ivanovic in 2007.

Bacsinszky was left to ponder what might have been after losing in the last four of the Paris major for the second time, but took the positives from an impressive run. Coming into Thursday, Halep led Pliskova 4-1 head-to-head and upped that mark to 5-1 lifetime with the victory.

"I was like, '(It) was match point for her?"' Halep said. I mean, who tries that?

It seemed unlikely that Halep would even be able to play at Roland Garros after the Romanian tore a ligament in her right ankle during her loss to Elina Svitolina in the Italian Open final.

She has 245 winners from six rounds - more than Andy Murray s 174 after five matches.

"I let her back into the game a little bit", admitted Svitolina, who will rise to a career-high of fifth next week despite the defeat.

"There can not be something bigger than to play for being world No. 1", Pliskova said, per Rothenberg.

Even Djokovic found it hard to fathom how far he's fallen, only a year removed from leaving Roland Garros as a player nonpareil, the first man in almost a half-century to win four consecutive Grand Slam titles. "I'm sad today but tomorrow is another day and life continues, there's nothing I can do". While Ostapenko has been able to hit a ton of winners this tournament, her go for broke style has also produce a truckload of unforced errors, something a top tier player can take advantage of.