French Open 2017: Latvian teen Jelena Ostapenko says ballroom dancing helped her advance to pre-quarters

Paris: Latvian teenager Jelena Ostapenko believes her love of ballroom dancing has helped her reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time.

The 19-year-old downed Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko 6-1, 6-4 on Friday at the French Open before admitting the dazzling, sultry Brazilian rhythms of the Samba are key to her success.

Jelena Ostapenko in action at Roland Garros. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@WTA

Jelena Ostapenko in action at Roland Garros. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@WTA

"At home I try and go ballroom dancing four times a week," said the world number 47.

"It really helps with the footwork on the court. My favourite dance is the Samba."

Ostapenko said she did ballroom dancing for seven years as a child, took a break for another seven years, before dusting off the sequins again in 2014.

"I have the dress, the shoes — everything has to be matching. I go to a club and dance with the teacher there, he's a professional dancer."

Ostapenko, who will face either former US Open champion Samantha Stosur or Bethanie Mattek-Sands for a quarter-final spot at Roland Garros, will not be intimidated by the challenge.

She has already defeated the likes of two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova on two occasions while also seeing off former world number one Caroline Wozniacki, also twice.

Earlier this year, she made the final on clay in Charleston, where she went down to Daria Kasatkina in the first all-teenage title match since 2009.

"I am in the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time. I hope to keep going," she added.


Updated Date: Jun 02, 2017 18:27 PM

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