Jelena Ostapenko is the only unseeded player left in the 2017 French Open across both the men’s and women’s games and, at just 19-years-old, she’s shot herself into the public eye in just under two weeks.
Ranked 47th in the world, Ostapenko had never made it past the 3rd round of any Grand Slam before this week.
But she’s made it to the semi-finals at the French Open after dumping out Louisa Chirico, Monica Puig, Lesia Tsurenko, Samantha Stosur and Caroline Wozniacki on her way to facing Timea Bacsinszky in tomorrow’s semi.
Ostapenko has never won a professional singles title before, losing in three finals; in Canada in 2015, Doha in 2016 and Charleston in 2017, but has won two doubles titles, both in 2017.
She partnered Alicja Rosolska to beat Darija Jurak and Xenia Knoll in Saint Petersburg in February, before partnering Raquel Atawo to beat Abigail Spears and Katarina Srebotnik in Stuttgart in April.
In 2016, she didn’t make it out of the 1st round at any of the four Grand Slams, but did make it to the 3rd round of the Australian Open in 2017, beating Zhu Lin and Yulia Putintseva before eventually succumbing to 5th seed Karolina Pliskova.
Ostapenko will contest the semi-final against the Swiss on her 20th birthday, and she’s hoping for the perfect birthday present at Roland Garros.
“It was tough because we had to go away two times from the court and Caroline is such a tough opponent,” said the Latvian.
“It’s great to play here on my birthday. I am really going to enjoy it.
“When I came here I didn’t expect I am going to be in the semis, but I was playing better and better every match so if I keep it up, I think anything can happen.
“I am still in the semi-final and it is going to be a hard match, so I just have to go out there and do my best.
“I have to take one step at a time.”
Whatever the outcome of her semi-final against Bacsinszky, the feisty Ostapenko has done herself proud this fortnight, and has become the name on everyone’s lips as the French Open comes to a conclusion over the next couple of days.