NEW YORK, NY, USA - Reigning French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko is through to the US Open third round for the first time after a solid 6-4, 6-4 victory over Sorana Cirstea.
No.12 seed Ostapenko came into the matchup on the back of a rain-delayed win over Lara Arruabarrena, a much-needed first victory since Wimbledon after posting back-to-back first round exits in Cincinnati and Toronto earlier this summer.
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The Latvian’s fast, high-octane tennis lead her to claim her first title ever at the French Open, and she employed that same strategy again in her first meeting against Cirstea on Armstrong.
The Romanian’s years of shoulder injuries led her to completely change the mechanics of her serve, but as a result the new abbreviated motion leaves her serve vulnerable and sometimes lacking in power - Ostapenko capitalized in the very game, returning aggressively to earn an early break.
That early move proved decisive, and Ostapenko held onto that break to take the opening set. Cirstea kept herself within touching distance of the Latvian, even bringing up seven break point chances of her own, but couldn’t manage to convert.
Cirstea’s efforts were finally rewarded at the start of the second set, getting her first break on the Ostapenko serve. But the No.12 seed dug her heels into level in the next game, and left them deadlocked after four straight breaks.
Ostapenko finally broke through late in the set, doing well to put a subpar service performance out of her mind - earlier in the set she fired three double faults in one game, but in the end she needed just one match point to see off Cirstea and move into the third round.
Up next, she’ll take on the winner between Daria Kasatkina and Christina McHale for a spot in the round of 16.
More to follow...