Jelena Ostapenko Powers Into Final, To Meet Simona Halep

Posted June 09, 2017

"I was around watching [Martina] Hingis come up and [Steffi] Graf come up and [Monica] Seles come up, and I just see something special in this young lady and the fact that she's so fearless", Evert said of Ostapenko.

"I'm not ashamed to say that she played better".

Ostapenko had never been past the third round at a major until this week but she didn't let the occasion faze her as she took the first set on a tiebreaker.

Ostapenko's run is all the more remarkable given her third-round exit at this year's Australian Open represented her best previous Grand Slam performance.

"But I am facing a young opponent, it will be a big challenge".

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In the other semifinal, Halep bested No. 2 Karolina Pliskova, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

Czech second seed Pliskova would have become world number one next week had she won the second semi-final.

For 30th-seeded Bacsinszky it was a second semi-final defeat in three years in Paris. The 25-year-old will attempt to avenge her 2014 French Open final loss to Russian Maria Sharapova in this year's championship match.

The fast conditions have helped the Czech and, after Halep controlled the first set, Pliskova found her range on her big serve and forehand in the second. Ostapenko cracked 50 winners and recovered nicely after dropping the second set.

If Pliskova defeated Halep on Thursday, she would have automatically claimed the No. 1 spot in the WTA rankings.

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All told, Pliskova committed 55 unforced errors before Halep served out to win the match.

On Thursday, she will face No. 2 Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, a 7-6 (3), 6-4 victor over No. 28 Carolina Garcia of France.

Serbian Ivanovic was honored in a ceremony on Philippe Chatrier court after Thursday's match: The 2008 champion retired in December. While Ostapenko has been able to hit a ton of winners this tournament, her go for broke style has also produce a truckload of unforced errors, something a top tier player can take advantage of.

French TV flashed up a great stat during Ostapenko's semifinal win Thursday over Timea Bacsinszky, showing the speed of various players' forehands during this year's tournament.

"It was a really tough match. She's a big hitter", said Bacsinszky, who also lost in the 2015 French Open semifinals. Halep's defense, athleticism and ability to keep the ball in play will force Ostapenko to make a lot of tough shots. She called for a medical timeout during the interval, before returning to the court with heavy bandage on her thigh. Ostapenko has a chance to win her first career grand slam title at just 20 years old.

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For Oregon coach Mike White , it was a situation that he would've liked to challenge and ask the umpires to take another look. Garcia (22-8) took the loss Thursday in a game that began with consecutive LSU doubles in the red-shirt freshman's WCWS debut.

But just when the storm appeared to have blown over Ostapenko, who knocked over former runner-up Sam Stosur and former world number one Caroline Wozniacki en route to the semis, hit another purple patch to roar home from 3-3.