Jelena Ostapenko beats Simona Halep to win French Open

The Latest Halep wins opening set of French Open final

The newly turned 20-year-old trailed by a set and 3-0 - she had to fend off three break points to avoid falling behind 4-0 - before rallying for a 4-6 6-4 6-3 victory Saturday on Philippe Chatrier court. - Simona Halep's coach Darren Cahill, about Ostapenko.

They clinched their second tour-level title - and their first at a Grand Slam tournament - on their second match point, when Gonzalez hit a forehand long.

If Halep wins, she also will move up to No. 1 in the rankings for the first time.

This was her first top-level title of any kind, emulating the accomplishment of the much loved Gustavo Kuerten at Roland Garros on June 8, 1997. And yes, she was trying to become the first woman in almost four decades to make a Grand Slam title the first tour-level triumph of her career. 'I think so, because I always had the possibility I could hit the ball really hard.

En route to the final, she beat a string of higher-ranked players, including Australia's Samantha Stosur, Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark and Switzerland's Timea Bacsinszky. "Three years ago was something new, so now I know".

When Halep won the first after hitting one victor and two unforced errors, it indeed told you most of what you needed to know.

Halep is bidding to become just the second Romanian woman to win a major and first since her manager Virginia Ruzici won the French Open in 1978. Not coincidentally, that was also the last time at any Grand Slam tournament that none of the women's quarterfinalists had previously won a major championship.

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- "I can not believe I'm the Roland Garros champion". Ostanpenko's first serve is decent, and though her second could use some work, she continues to attack, attack, attack, with rarely a thought to do anything else.

Prior to her exploits in Paris, Ostapenko's professional earnings stacked up to just over $1.2million.

That's quite impressive.' Speaking about her future, Ostapenko said: 'I'm really happy, but I still have to improve some things and to get better as player.

Her negativity, kept in check through most of the match, came back to haunt her in the late stages of the third set after she failed to hold a 3-1 lead.

Halep hung in there for a while, but once Ostapenko started to play close to the lines and to limit her mistakes - she had only 13 in the decider - she was tough to overcome.

So Ostapenko stepped into the considerable opening created by the absences of Serena Williams (who is pregnant) and Sharapova (denied a wild card after a drug ban). "She deserved to win, she played very well".

A telling statistic: Of the 33 points Halep won in the first set, only one came via a victor off her racket. But Ostapenko pursued her aggressive game plan even when she was in a deep hole, down a set and facing two break points to go down 4-0 in the second set. She tracked one blazing Ostapenko groundstroke after another, running for her competitive life.

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