The final four of the French Open is now settled and the draw offers an interesting dynamic. In the bottom half of the draw are No.2 and No.3 seeds but the first semi final will be between the 30th seed Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland and Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia, the unseeded player who turns 20 on the day of her very first grand slam semi final.
Bacsinszky has proven to be a tough out at the French Open in recent years with two semi finals and a quarter final now in the past three years, losing to Serena Williams in the other semi final from a set and break up. After cruising through the first three rounds, she navigated two tricky opponents to get this far. Handling a vocal French crowd exceptionally well in the quarter finals, she won 6-4 6-4 over Kristina Mladenovic – impressively holding on in a shaky last service game. The weather had impacted on their match with several delays but the Swiss dealt with them admirably. “It was really difficult because we had all the seasons rolled into one today. We had a sand storm, a hurricane and we almost had snow too.” she said post-match.
Ostapenko has come of age in this tournament with a stunning run to the semi finals, capped off with a comeback against the former world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki. Having held a 3-0 record against her previously, it looked like the Latvian would finally come unstuck after falling a set and 1-0 down. However, as delays struck the match it allowed her to regain her nerve and eventually come out on top in 3 sets, finishing the last few games with some stunning hitting that Wozniacki could do little about. “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.”
On paper, it’s a very intriguing matchup between Ostapenko and Bacsinszky. They are yet to play before but it is a nice clash of styles that should make for a good match unless nerves strike.“Her game is very different. She can mix it up a lot. She can play aggressive, but she can also change the rhythm and everything. I think I have to just stay aggressive and play my game.” Ostapenko said of her opponent.
Prediction: Jelena Ostapenko in three sets