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Halep, Ostapenko to clash for French Open title

  • Published at 06:57 pm June 8th, 2017
  • Last updated at 06:57 pm June 8th, 2017
Halep, Ostapenko to clash for French Open title
Simona Halep set up a French Open final against Jelena Ostapenko on Thursday, taking her to within touching distance of a first Grand Slam title and the world number one spot. Romanian third seed Halep, the runner-up to Maria Sharapova in 2014, claimed a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win over Karolina Pliskova, the second-seeded Czech. Unseeded Ostapenko downed Timea Bacsinszky 7-6 (7/4), 3-6, 6-3 on her 20th birthday to become the first Latvian finalist at a major. The eventual champion on Saturday will be a first-time major winner while victory for Halep would crown her as the new world number one, replacing Angelique Kerber. Pliskova ended the tie with 45 winners and a staggering 55 unforced errors. In contrast, Halep registered 14 in both columns. For Halep, the win came just a day after she saved a match point and came from a set and 1-5 to beat Elina Svitolina in the last eight. Pliskova, the 25-year-old Czech, would have taken the world top spot if she had made her second Slam final. In the end, she could at least reflect on progress in Paris -- before this year, she had never got beyond the second round in five attempts. Ostapenko presented herself with the perfect 20th birthday gift by reaching a first French Open final after blasting past 30th seed Bacsinszky, a semi-finalist also in 2015. The world number 47 is the first unseeded player to reach the final in Paris since Mima Jausovec in 1983. Ostapenko is also the youngest woman to advance to the final of a major since a 19-year-old Caroline Wozniacki finished runner-up at the 2009 US Open. For Bacsinszky it was a second semi-final defeat in Paris. Ostapenko fell in the first round on her main draw debut in Paris last year but is one win away from becoming the first player since Gustavo Kuerten in 1997 to win their maiden tour-level title at a Slam. Ostapenko fired 50 winners and 45 unforced errors in her victory. She has 245 winners from six rounds -- more than Andy Murray's 174 after five matches. Semifinal Results: 3-Simona Halep (Romania) beat 2-Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic) 6-4 3-6 6-3 Jelena Ostapenko (Latvia) beat 30-Timea Bacsinszky (Switzerland) 7-6(4) 3-6 6-3
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