Team Halep on regrouping after tough loss in Roland Garros final

Team Halep on regrouping after tough loss in Roland Garros final

Stage fright is a very real prospect for a first-time finalist.

Ostapenko began her final push, reaching 5-3, and scored the biggest win of her career a game later with an untouchable victor on match point.

It was not a case of Halep getting tight and choking on a lead but rather Ostapenko getting hot with her high-risk game and hitting her way out of trouble on both wings, so much so that one statistic revealed her forehand was an average hit faster than Andy Murray's.

Halep told Ostapenko to enjoy the moment. When serving at 5-4, Ostapenko smiled as the French crowd rose in a Mexican wave.

"We need personalities, and she's a personality", seven-time French Open victor Chris Evert told Eurosport. It's an fantastic thing. "Enjoy it. Be happy, and keep it going because you are like a kid".

Halep took the first set, putting Ostapenko in a hole that no woman at the French Open has dug out of in 16 years.

1933 — The previous time an unseeded player won the women's title at the French Open.

Two days after celebrating her 20th birthday, unseeded Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia gave herself - and her country - another reason, a bigger one, to celebrate - the French Open women's singles title.

She was born in Riga on June 8, 1997 - the same day Gustavo Kuerten won his first professional title by winning the French Open, the same feat Ostapenko has now achieved.

The junior Wimbledon champion in 2014, she will now head to the All England Club next month among the contenders.

Perhaps not a typical 20-year-old, she revealed a passion for ballroom dancing - she was professional for seven years and it's something she believes helps her footwork - and Agatha Christie's detective novels, sometimes reading to pass the time during tournaments.

She made headlines a year ago because of a bust-up with British player Naomi Broady in Auckland.

The sheer audacity of Ostapenko's ball-striking has wowed observers and opponents alike. She felt like it was quite okay for her to be where she was.

The diminutive Romanian was some sort of favourite going into the tournament, which was bereft of former Slam champions like Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka.

Halep's status in Romania is huge and she shoulders vast pressure of expectation from her followers back home.

The 23 unforced errors caught up to the Latvian and Halep took the opening set. In the run-up to Paris, she had won the title in Madrid, made the finals in Rome and the semi-finals in Stuttgart.

"Of course, I would like to win probably all of the Grand Slams". And, unfailingly in each of these five matches, her natural game looked to be much pronounced and dictated with a lot more controlled aggression. I played well. I think a little bit of luck in some points, all the lines, all the nets.

Halep failed to clinch victory despite having led by a set and 3-0, with three break point chances.

She also committed 54 unforced errors - a statistic that might have purists turning up their noses. "We worked on that and changed a few things and she now is psychologically stronger", Jakovleva explained. And Ostapenko was quick to admit that there is more improvement to come.

And then there was no looking back for Ostapenko as she continued with the thought of "nothing to lose". "It's so unbelievable to be here", said Ostapenko.

Jelena Ostapenko completed her wonderful and wholly improbable two-week journey from teenage hopeful to dazzling Grand Slam champion on Saturday when she came from a set down to blitz Simona Halep at Roland-Garros with one of the tournament's most stupendous performances. "It was always my dream, when I was a child I was watching players here". It's just the way I play.

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