Jelena Ostapenko Vs Timea Bacsinszky promises to be an enthralling encounter with a piece of history in their semifinals encounter at the French Open 2017 on Thursday.
While it is obviously rare to get one player competing in a Grand Slam semifinal on his/her birthday, it is actually extraordinary to have two players do the same. To put in simpler terms, Ostapenko will be leaving her teenage years behind when she turns 20 on Thursday, the same day Bacsinszky as turns 28. While one will reach a Grand Slam final for the first time, the other will be left with the “birthday blues”.
Ostapenko, ranked 47th, stormed into the semifinals with her difficult win against the former World No1 from Denmark, Caroline Wozniacki 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, winning 15 of her total 16 net points and only 57% of her first serves in the process. She has also won 80% (35/44) of her total net points in Paris so far. At 19 years of age, the Latvian is the first teenager to reach this stage at the Rolland Garros since Ana Ivanovic in 2007. Ostapenko has displayed some great tennis since the beginning of the tournament at Paris, beating the likes of former US Open Champion Sam Stosur and Wozniacki and has successfully proven that she has what it takes to go all the way on the biggest stages.
Standing in the Latvian’s way in the semifinals is Timea Bacsinszky, who booked her spot at this “one-in-a-million” semifinal with her win against Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, 6-4. Even though the crowd was rooting against her, the Swiss held her composure throughout the match, which was interrupted twice due to rain and won 63% of her first serves in addition to blasting 25 winners on the way. Bacsinszky, who is now 9-3 on clay this season, also won 12 of her total 17 net points against the Frenchwoman in the quarterfinal.
There’s no doubt that his semifinal is going to be “one-of-its-kind” with the players locking horns for the first time in their career as they are usually on the same side of the net playing doubles together. While Ostapenko needs to be downright aggressive from the get-go and Bacsinszky trying to put pressure on her opponent’s serve, it only remains to be seen what the two have learnt about each other’s games.
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