LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg -- Jelena Ostapenko is back in the winner’s circle.
The 2017 Roland Garros champion from Latvia claimed her third career WTA singles title -- and her first title in over two years -- by defeating defending champion and No.2 seed Julia Goerges of Germany, 6-4, 6-1 in the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open final.
"Of course it’s great to finish the season with winning a title, especially in the last tournament," Ostapenko told the press, after her victory. "I enjoyed this week so much, and I think I played really well today. I just like to finish the year this way."
Ostapenko had signaled an end-of-season return to form by reaching her first final of the year at Linz last week, and she went one further in Luxembourg, clinching her first singles trophy since Seoul in September of 2017, and ending the stellar nine-match winning streak of 26th-ranked Goerges at the event in the process.
"Especially after making the final last week, I was much more confident in coming to this tournament," Ostapenko stated.
In the first meeting between the two powerful players, both of whom have been ranked in the Top 10, it was Ostapenko, a wild card into the event, who blasted her way to the trophy after an hour of play. The World No.63 zoomed to victory with six aces, winning a sturdy 83 percent of points off of her first serve.
"I knew [Goerges is] a great player, I knew she’s serving really well, so I prepared for a battle," said Ostapenko. "I knew it was going to be a tough match. In the beginning, she was serving unbelievable, and then once I got a chance to break her, I broke her serve and I just started to feel more confident. Especially on my serve, I think I served really well today."
Ostapenko has been working with former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli during the last two weeks, during which time she has compiled a 9-1 win-loss record.
"[Bartoli is] supporting me so much and bringing so many positive things, and just trying to keep me as positive as possible," said Ostapenko. "Sometimes I can go negative if things don’t go my way, but these two weeks she’s been helping me so much, and I’m glad to have her by my side."
The bruising battle was in full effect from the outset, as Ostapenko fired rockets from both sides to earn a break point in the first game of the match. Goerges, though, had powerful tricks up her sleeve as well, crushing an ace to fend off the break point before notching a service hold to open the affair.
The opening frame continued in this manner through 4-4, as the barrage continued from both ends of the court. Ostapenko matched the fearsome serve of Goerges up to that juncture, with four aces apiece through that point, and staying with the defending champion set up the Latvian for an opportunity late in the set.
Ostapenko did, in fact, take her chance right there, as an error-forcing service return queued up double break point. Goerges, as is her custom, saved the first with a big serve, but on the second, the German shot a forehand long, and Ostapenko had attained a critical 5-4 lead.
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Serving for the set, Ostapenko was completely dominant, reaching triple set point with her fifth ace of the day. Another solid serve by the Latvian on her first chance was returned wide by Goerges, and Ostapenko found herself one set away from her first title in over two years.
Goerges held at love to start the second set, but after that, Ostapenko took control as she cruised to victory. The Latvian continued to press with her weighty groundstrokes, while Goerges had issues keeping her forehand in play, dropping her next two service games after that shot went awry on break points.
Ostapenko zipped to a 5-1 lead, where Goerges fended off one match point with a strong serve, before using another super serve to reach game point. But two more unforced errors from the German gave Ostapenko a second match point in the game, and Goerges ceded victory to the Latvian right there with her third double fault of the day.