Qualifier Varvara Lepchenko rebounded from a one-sided first set to defeat French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in the first round of the Rogers Cup in Toronto.
WTA Staff
August 7, 2017

TORONTO, Canada - American qualifier Varvara Lepchenko rallied from a set and a break down to stun reigning French Open champion and No.12 seed Jelena Ostapenko to begin the Rogers Cup on Monday, 1-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(5).

"I think I woke up, I was a little bit in the sleeping mode for a set and a half. All the credit to her, she played amazing tennis - she hardly missed any ball from the very beginning," Lepchenko said on-court. "Once I gave her a little push back, that's when the game started. I pretty much focused on my game.

"I know I have powerful shots and I'm as good a player as her, so I knew I just had to give my best, and it would be a battle."

The World No.70 Lepchenko, a former top 20 player herself, trailed 6-1, 3-0, but nonetheless earned her first win over a player in that ranking class this season, and her first since beating then-No.15 Timea Bacsinszky at the US Open last summer.

Though Ostapenko hit twice the amount of winners as her American opponent (32 to 18), she also struggled with 30 unforced errors to Lepchenko's 18. 

After winning nine of the first 10 games, Ostapenko began to struggle particularly on serve, as she totaled nine of her 11 double faults in the second set.

The Latvian lost serve four times in the second set, as the American twice served to send the match to a decider, but eventually needed a tiebreak to take the action to a final set. 

"She started really good, but I also felt like I wasn't giving her enough defense or enough of my game to get some advantage," Lepchenko told WTA Insider after the match. "She was taking all the opportunity I was giving her - I felt like I was playing too short and playing more of her game.

"Once I changed it up and started playing more of my tennis, that's when she started to feel more uncomfortable and that's when we started showing a little more tennis that was on equal level."

In the deciding set, Lepchenko pounced early and broke Ostapenko in her first service game to lead 3-0 at the first changeover.

The American's lead held for nearly the duration of the set, until the No.12 seed broke her as she served for the match, and twice held serve to both stay in the match and later for a tiebreak.

In the decisive tiebreak, Ostapenko twice trailed by a mini-break, only to seemingly rally at the 11th hour and claim both points on Lepchenko's serve to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 lead and put the match on her racquet. 

However, as she had all afternoon, Lepchenko connected on her return points to close out the third set, claiming both on the Latvian's serve and closing out the match in two hours, 37 minutes.

In the decisive tiebreak, Ostapenko twice trailed by a mini-break, only to seemingly rally at the 11th hour and claim both points on Lepchenko's serve to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 lead and put the match on her racquet. 

However, as she had all afternoon, Lepchenko connected on her return points to close out the third set, claiming both on the Latvian's serve and closing out the match in two hours, 37 minutes.

"Basically, I was just trying to fight for every sigle point, trying to stay in the match and stay solid," Lepchenko said. "I  had some rough patches in that past that I had to go through mentally, and I'm happy that it's all behind me and I can finally focus on playing good tennis."