Latvian teenager Jelena Ostapenko is thriving on the Roland-Garros clay, where she exited in the first round last year.
Jelena Ostapenko is the first Latvian woman to progress to a Grand Slam semi-final in the Open Era, having fought back to oust 11th seed Caroline Wozniacki 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 at Roland-Garros.
The teenager will take on Timea Bacsinszky in the final four on Thursday, with both players hoping to celebrate their birthdays in style.
“I think maybe this one is one of the best (presents),” declared Ostapenko with a beaming smile. “Because to play a semi-final of Roland-Garros on your birthday, I think it's really nice. I hope I can enjoy it.”
The 19-year-old, a keen ballroom dancer, is surprised to feature in the final four, but is determined to grasp the opportunity.
“I’m really happy, I still can’t believe it. I’m really happy to play here, it’s an amazing tournament,” said the world No.47. “When I came here I didn't expect to be in the semis, but I’m playing better and better every match. I’m getting more confident, so if I keep it up, I think anything can happen.”
Wozniacki and Ostapenko were targeting a maiden French Open semi-final, but the Dane had never beaten her teenage opponent in their three previous battles.
photos Janos Schmidt