Thursday featured two women’s semifinals matches at the 2017 French Open, narrowing the field down to the final two to face each other for the Women’s Singles Championship. Coming into the French Open, the number three-seeded Simona Halep did not disappoint, advancing to her second Roland Garros final after a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win over the second-seeded Karolina Pliskova.
Halep’s win was not the story of the day in Paris, as birthday girl, the unseeded Jelena Ostapenko, continued her Cinderella run after her 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-3 win over the number 30 seed, Timea Bacsinszky, becoming the first-ever Latvian to reach a Grand Slam final.
“The match was really tough, I think it was a battle,” Ostapenko said. “I'm really happy to be in the final, especially on my birthday. I think it's a nice gift! I was just trying to stay aggressive and to go for a shot when I could. I think it was kind of important that I won the first set, even the second I lost, but in the third set, I found my game again.”
Currently ranked 47th in the world, Ostapenko was able to get by the 11th-seeded Caroline Wozniacki in the quarterfinals, the 23rd-seeded Samantha Stosur, the unseeded Lesia Tsurenko, world number 40 Ekaterina Makarova and American Louisa Chirico in the opening round to reach the finals. Her run at Roland Garros will jump her up over 30 spots in the WTA Women’s Singles Rankings, landing at number 18 if she were to finish as runner up or 13th in the world should she capture the title.
The 20-year-old Ostapenko will face the 25-year-old veteran Halep in the finals. Coming into Thursday, Halep led Pliskova 4-1 head-to-head and upped that mark to 5-1 lifetime with the victory.
"It is an amazing feeling, I'm so happy. I came through a tough match yesterday, but I just care about today. Karolina is a good player and made it tough,” Halep said. "It’s nice to be in the finals again. I hope I can play better and win it. I'm playing a young player, it is a big challenge and it will be great to play here on Chatrier again.”
The battle between Halep and Pliskova had more on the line than a shot at the Roland Garros title, as both were gunning for the top spot in the WTA Women’s Singles Rankings. With a win in the finals, Halep will become the new world number one.