LONDON, UK - Jelena Ostapenko says she feels free to play her own game at Wimbledon - and loves being back in SW19 where she was once junior champion.
After a disappointing campaign in Roland Garros where she failed to defend the French Open title she won in 2017, the Latvian is now enjoying flying under the radar at Wimbledon, where she is seeded twelfth.
"I had all that pressure [at the French Open], now it's gone. Finally it's gone. Now it's another tournament, another great opportunity for me," she told reporters after beating Aliaksandra Sasnovich in straight sets, 7-6(4), 6-0, to reach the quarterfinal.
"Yeah, I'm just not afraid to miss. I'm just going for the shots. I think I'm serving very well this tournament. In general, I think my level is much better than last Grand Slam."
The 21-year-old next faces Dominika Cibulkova, who she has played twice before but never beaten.
"I kind of know how she plays," added Ostapenko. "[I'm] just going to prepare well for the match...I'm going to try to focus more on my game, on myself, then I think anything can happen."
Their most recent encounter was in Indian Wells last year, when the Slovakian won 6-4, 3-6, 6-3; and their other match was on grass in Eastbourne, when Ostapenko did not manage to secure a set, losing 6-3, 6-3. That does not concern her.
"It was long time ago, so I think I play better now," she explained. "It's going to be completely different match. Of course, I'm going to get ready for it. It's going to be a tough match. Every match here is a tough match. Just looking forward to it."
Cibulkova, who beat Hsieh Su-Wei 6-4, 6-1 to reach the quarterfinal, was similarly complimentary of her imminent opponent.
"She won a Grand Slam, so she's been on the big stages before. She won a Grand Slam, so she know what it takes," she said.
"Yeah, you never know what to expect from her. In this tournament, she seems to be in the right mood."