LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg -- Jelena Ostapenko’s superb end-of-season form continued at the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open on Friday, as the Latvian wild card dispatched German qualifier Antonia Lottner, 6-1, 6-1, to move into the semifinals of the indoor event.
"Today I think I played really well," Ostapenko stated, following her win. "I think I didn’t lose one game on her serve. I returned serves really well today, and in general was very consistent, and happy with the way I played today."
In the first meeting between the two hard-hitting players, 2017 Roland Garros champion Ostapenko overwhelmed the World No.210 in just 63 minutes, to mark the second straight week the Latvian makes a WTA semifinal. Ostapenko reached the final last week at Linz -- her first final in over 18 months -- before falling to American teenager Coco Gauff.
"Marion [Bartoli] is helping me, so she’s giving me a lot of positive energy," Ostapenko said, reflecting on her last two weeks, where she has been working with the former Wimbledon champion. "I’m just trying to work on some things, but I’m kind of more relaxed, not thinking too much, like before. And even if I lose, I just fight till the end, and I try to take all the positive things out [of it]."
World No.63 Ostapenko had 23 winners to just nine unforced errors in the match, and won two-thirds of total points when Lottner was serving -- in fact, the Latvian's fierce return game meant the German was never able to hold serve in the clash.
Ostapenko got off to a quick start in the tilt, converting her third break point of the opening game to claim an early lead. The Latvian consolidated her advantage by finishing off the next game with a second-service ace and a forehand crosscourt winner, as her aggressive play continued to find its targets, much like it had last week in Linz.
Strong groundstrokes off of both sides continued to pay dividends for Ostapenko as she built a 3-0, double-break lead. An exchange of breaks in the next two games did very little to stop the Latvian’s momentum in the opener, and she zipped to a 5-1 lead, closing out that game with an ace. A double fault by Lottner on Ostapenko’s first set point wrapped up the opening frame.
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Ostapenko continued her stellar form in the second set, as the winners kept flowing from her racquet. The Latvian nearly let Lottner make things complicated at 2-0, but Ostapenko proved her prowess in all sections of the court by charging the net and knocking off a volley winner to hold on for 3-0.
Lottner blasted a return winner to get on the board in the set with a service break for 4-1, but the German could not find enough of her fiery shots to pull closer on the day, and Ostapenko claimed another break for 5-1 with back-to-back winners. In the following game, Ostapenko’s fourth ace gave her a first match point, which she converted after a long return from Lottner.
Ostapenko will face 8th-seeded Russian Anna Blinkova in the final four. Blinkova, who defeated Linz champion Gauff in the first round this week, booked her spot in the semifinals after her fellow Russian Margarita Gasparyan retired during their quarterfinal match while Blinkova led 6-3, 1-0.
"The most important [thing] is just to focus more on myself and to be aggressive," said Ostapenko. "To always put some pressure on the opponent, as I did today. I think it worked pretty well."