Ostapenko wins battle of birthdays to reach French Open final

In the semi-finals, Simona Halep defeated Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 and Ostapenko got the better of 30-seeded Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland 7-6 (4), 3-6 6-3.

In the first semifinal met the birthday girl - Jelena Ostapenko match day celebrated its 20th anniversary, and Timea Bacsinszky was celebrating his 28th birthday.

Romanian Simona Halep showed the full extent of her defensive skills to beat Karolina Pliskova in three sets and reach her second French Open final.

"The match was really tough, I think it was a battle", Ostapenko said.

Its nice to see two new players with a chance to win their first grand slam crown.

But it was her response to being pegged back in the second set that truly won over the Roland Garros crowd, with Ostapenko's power game proving too much for her Swiss opponent as she broke twice to win the deciding set 6-3. Ostapenko powered her way to a 7-6 (7/4), 3-6, 6-3 victory to make history as the first Latvian grand slam finalist and the youngest at any grand slam since Caroline Wozniacki in NY eight years ago. "It probably helps me to win today".

There were a couple of early double faults from Pliskova and a sprightly Halep went a break up at 2-1 when the second seed drilled a backhand into the tramlines under pressure.

The two sides were dragged into a tiebreak, where Ostapenko won 7-4 with her strong forehand. "I love to play here, I love you guys, you're incredible, thanks for coming to support me".

The underdog Ostapenko also became the first Latvian ever to have reached the final at a Grand Slam tournament. The matchup presents a lot of interesting variables, as Ostapenko has already proven that she can play against highly-ranked players.

On Thursday, in a frenetic match of 16 breaks of serve and in which she made 45 unforced errors, some of which would have had Evert wincing, she was irresistible at times. That is 2 miles per hour faster than ATP world No. 1 Murray, whose forehand is not too shabby, and, wait for it, just 3 miles per hour slower than Rafael Nadal, who has built his career on his forehand.

- Dabrowski contesting in her maiden grand slam final became the first Canadian woman to win the mixed title at Roland Garros.

Right from the off Ostapenko showed her confident best, crunching victor after winner, interspersed with unforced errors.

It was a first Slam title for both the 37-year-old Bopanna and his 25-year-old partner from Ontario. Halep beat the second seed Pliskova 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to deny the Czech of claiming the world No 1 ranking from Angelique Kerber.

Pliskova and Halep are set to face off on Thursday, June 8.

Vanessa Coleman

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