LONDON, Great Britain – Reigning French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko was taken to the brink by Canadian qualifier Françoise Abanda but managed to dodge the upset and advance into the third round of Wimbledon for the first time.
The fellow 20 year olds renewed their former Juniors rivalry at Wimbledon’s Court No.12 but it was the No.13 seed that came out on top, taking the match 4-7, 7-6(4), 6-3.
The victory not only seals her career-best result at Wimbledon – she’d never been past the second round in her previous two appearances – but it also puts her at nine straight Grand Slam match wins.
The nearly two-hour match was decided mainly at the baseline – it was an hour and 12 minutes before either player finished a point at the net. Abanda started out on the front foot as unforced errors plagued Ostapenko’s game.
The No.142-ranked Canadian was retrieving and retuning everything Ostapenko threw at her, recovering from an early break down to build up a 5-2 lead.
Ostapenko turned up the intensity and cleaned up her game, putting Abanda back under pressure with her fast groundstrokes to get the break back and come within a point of levelling the score. But Abanda denied her the set with some powerful groundstrokes.
The tug-of-war continued into the second set – Abanda would strike first and take a break, and Ostapenko would fire back shortly after and bring them level.
Racing against the fading light at the All England Club, Ostapenko took the tiebreak but fell behind a break in the deciding set as Abanda refused to fold. Ostapenko climbed out of the 2-0 hole and surged ahead, breaking twice more to put an end to the match after an hour and 58 minutes.
She’ll head back to the court on Friday to take on Camila Giorgi after the unseeded Italian took down No.17 seed Madison Keys.
More to follow…
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