French Open: Jelena Ostapenko eyes second Roland Garros title after eliminating second seed Karolina Pliskova

2017 champion knows consistency is key to claiming the trophy in Paris

Eleanor Crooks
Thursday 01 October 2020 14:53
Comments
Sonic boom from fighter plane heard at French Open

Days after her 20th birthday in 2017, Ostapenko became one of the most surprising Grand Slam champions in tennis history when she lifted the French Open trophy.

Her run was characterised by utterly ruthless ball striking and virtually no margin for error, which she managed to sustain for seven thrilling matches.

Ostapenko found repeating that much more difficult, and pressure and expectation began to weigh heavily as she dropped outside the world's top 80.

The Latvian, now 23, is back up to 43rd in the women’s rankings and, if she can maintain the form that saw her topple second seed Karolina Pliskova with an emphatic 6-4 6-2 victory in the second round, she will be a danger to all over the next week and a half.

Ostapenko said: "It's hard to compare because that was three years ago and I was fearless, nobody really knew me, but now players get to know me more. They know how I can play. They know how to play probably against me.

"Of course it's in my memory, because it's the biggest win of my career so far, but I have to move forward and the world doesn't stop with winning only one Grand Slam.

"Of course I want to achieve more and I want to be back in the top five, top 10. Step by step. That's what I'm working on, my consistency. Still being an aggressive player, I think it can bring me a lot of wins, but consistency probably in my game is the key."

Ostapenko produced plenty of winners against Pliskova – 27 in total – but she was also content to stay in rallies, pulling her opponent around the baseline and throwing in several successful drop shots.

"I think I was playing good today," said Ostapenko. "I knew it was going to be a tough match, so I was trying to be very focused all match. Just playing my game.

"Also just trying to keep the ball in play to make sure I'm not missing and making too many unforced errors. But when I had the chance I was going for it."

Jelena Ostapenko celebrates her second-round win

Pliskova has been a permanent fixture in the top 10 for the past five years but has underperformed at the Slams, going beyond the fourth round just once in the last two seasons.

The Czech said: "I'm sure I could do much better. I know that she can be tough if she's playing well, but I think everything started with me."

Fourth seed Sofia Kenin is now the highest remaining seed in the bottom half of the draw, but she has been living dangerously so far and just about battled past Romania's Ana Bogdan 3-6 6-3 6-2.

Seventh seed Petra Kvitova was more convincing in a 6-3 6-3 victory over Jasmine Paolini, and eighth seed Aryna Sabalenka defeated Daria Kasatkina 7-6 (6) 6-0.

It was the end of the road, though, for 17-year-old qualifier Clara Tauson, who upset Jennifer Brady in round one but was beaten 6-2 6-3 by Danielle Collins in the second round.

PA

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in