PARIS, France - 19-year-old Jelena Ostapenko recovered from a set down to oust the No.23 seed Samantha Stosur and reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the French Open.
Ostapenko had never been past the first round in Paris in her previous two appearances, but up against Stosur, a finalist here in 2010 and three-time semifinalist, she was able to complete the comeback and win 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.
“At the beginning when I went on court I was actually very tight,” Ostapenko explained in her post-match press conference. “But Sam was playing a great match today, and at the beginning she played really good shots. She was serving well, and I was a bit uncomfortable with the way she played.
“But then I got a bit used to it and felt my confidence. Then I played better.”
It took her a while to find her footing out on Court 2, as Stosur employed her trademark heavy groundstrokes to keep Ostapenko on the back foot. Ostapenko’s high-risk, high-reward game cost her almost twice as many unforced errors as Stosur (13 to Stosur’s seven).
The Australian pounced on Ostapenko’s vulnerable second serve, breaking her four times with ease. Despite the Latvian getting two of the breaks back, she couldn’t hold on to her serve as Stosur wrapped up the opening set.
But Ostapenko did well to put the one-sided opening set behind her and regrouped stronger, cutting down on the unforced errors and finding her serves to turn the tables on Stosur. She shook off an early break opportunity from Stosur and rallied to win the last five games in row and level the score.
Both players started the third set evenly matched, staying toe to toe until Ostapenko earned the first break in the fifth game. That lone break would prove decisive, and Stosur was unable to recover the deficit as Ostapenko marched ahead to victory.
With the win she becomes the first Latvian woman to reach the quarterfinals at the French Open. She’ll take on No.11 seed Caroline Wozniacki in the next round.
“[Wozniacki] is playing good now,” Ostapenko said. “I kind of know how to play against her. I just have to stay aggressive and be consistent. Just try to play my game.
“Of course it's going to be a tough match because she's a great player, and I played her already two times this year. Yeah, I'm just looking forward to it.”