On the day she turned 20, Jelena Ostapenko became the first unseeded French Open finalist since 1983, using big and bold ground strokes to beat 30th-seeded Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland.
In Saturday's championship match, the 47th-ranked Ostapenko will face Simona Halep of Romania, who got past 2016 US Open runner-up Karolina Pliskova.
As we look forward to the semi-finals at Court Philippe Chatrier where fourth-seeded Rafael Nadal takes on World No 6 Dominic Thiem and top-ranked Andy Murray takes on World No 3 Stan Wawrinka, here are a few off-court highlights from Day 12 of Roland Garros.
From Wimbledon to Roland Garros
In 2014 Wimbledon Championships, Jelena Ostapenko, then 17 years old, upset eighth seed Kristina Schmiedlova 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 to win the girls' singles title.
Three years ago, Jelena Ostapenko won the girls' singles at #Wimbledon...
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) June 8, 2017
"She's a baby, but she's a beautiful baby." — Bacsinszky on 20-year-old Ostapenko.
Crepes? Croissants? Wine? Players tempted
As a professional athlete who is judicious about what she eats and drinks, Bethanie Mattek-Sands knows all too well how impossible it is to avoid the sweet aroma emanating from a stand selling waffles with a chocolate-hazelnut spread just outside the French Open's main stadium.
"We would walk by that every day," the 32-year-old American said last week at Roland Garros, recalling her run to the 2015 women's doubles title. "We could even smell it from one of the match courts." There is nearly constant gastronomic temptation for tennis players at the annual Grand Slam tournament held in one of the world's capitals of cuisine.
Crepes and croissants. Baguettes and pates. Steaks and french fries. The rich sauces. The chocolate. The macaroons. The wine. And on and on and on. "The French cheese and foie gras and everything they have — it is extremely caloric," said Sergiy Stakhovsky, a 31-year-old from Ukraine best known for his upset of Roger Federer in the second round of Wimbledon four years ago. Some players say they resist the carbs, the desserts, the alcohol.
Others simply give in. Others hold out until they're done competing. "I've gotten better at the 'everything in moderation' thing. But I'm in my 20s, I travel, I work out a lot. So I'm like, 'You know what? I love food,'" said Madison Brengle, a 27-year-old American who reached the second round at the French Open. "I feel like I'd rather work out more and really enjoy the food. The places we get to go to around the world, there's amazing food. Got to try it."
Quotes of the day
"He used to play football in Ukraine. I honestly don't know which team, but I think something like — no, I don't know, actually. I don't know. Sorry."
— Jelena Ostapenko can't recall her dad's football team.
"I mean, what's the point difference that we have? Ah, only one? Ah, bad luck. Okay. It's a tough one. I cry now or later? It actually makes me cry now. Ah, but it's okay."
— Timea Bacsinszky on being told that she won 105 points to Ostapenko's 106 in her defeat.
"I think the chase, it's amazing, right? Like the cat and rat, they are one after another."
— Gustavo Kuerten on the longtime rivalry between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
"I don't miss the questions really, 'Why did you lose? What happened today?'"
— Former champion Ana Ivanovic, now retired, not missing regular media inquisitions.
Slide of the day
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 9, 2017
Stats of the day
18 — The ranking Ostapenko guaranteed herself by virtue of making it to the final from her current position as World No 47. She can rise to 12 in the world if she wins.
1983 — The last time an unseeded player reached the women's final at Roland Garros. Ostapenko, ranked 47th, has done just that.
With inputs from AP and AFP
Published Date: Jun 09, 2017 04:38 pm | Updated Date: Jun 09, 2017 04:38 pm