French Open 2017 WTA Semifinal Preview: Jelena Ostapenko vs Timea Bacsinszky

A first Grand Slam final for both Timea Bacsinszky and Jelena Ostapenko is on the line. The two players will face off in the first French Open semifinal.

Jelena Ostapenko [No.47] vs (30) Timea Bacsinszky [No.31]

Overview: Jelena Ostapenko has been producing fantastic results on the clay this year, and her big game has now been translated to the big stages. In Charleston, she reached her third WTA final but fell to fellow teenager Daria Kasatkina. She backed it up by qualifying successfully for Stuttgart and Rome (and winning the doubles title in the former), and also made the semifinals of Prague, beating Caroline Wozniacki and Ana Konjuh enroute. In Roland Garros, she has been playing like a Top 10 player as a few fellow players had said so. Starting off with an impressive comeback display to fend off Louisa Chirico, she beat Monica Puig and Lesia Tsurenko in relatively comfortable performances. Her fighting abilities shone through in her next two matches, coming back from a set down to beat Samantha Stosur and Caroline Wozniacki. Due to the windy and heavy conditions, Ostapenko dropped the first set against Wozniacki but was pinning the Dane way behind the baseline with her powerful groundstrokes, not showing any nerves in the second and third sets. It’ll be tough to beat Ostapenko if she does that again.

Timea Bacsinszky is into her second Roland Garros semifinal in three years, she just seems to love the French capital that much! The Swiss started to struggle with injuries in the beginning of the year, retiring to Karolina Pliskova in Indian Wells, before withdrawing from Miami. A switch to clay did not help her at first, falling at the second round in Rabat and Madrid before she began to find some form in Rome, reaching the third round. It was a stepping stone for Bacsinszky as she powered past Sara Sorribes Tormo, Madison Brengle and Ons Jabeur with the loss of just nine games. The Swiss took the scenic route in her win against Venus Williams – leading 5-1, she lost the next six games before wrapping up the match 5-7, 6-2, 6-1. Her win against Kristina Mladenovic was much more decisive – pinning the Frenchwoman in her backhand corner, she started to go around her forehand to hit backhands as her favourite wing was firing from all sides of the court. Her drop shot tactics were also useful, it should come to play against Ostapenko as it could break her rhythm.

Head to head: They have not met before

Stat: Just. Look. At. Those. Tweets. Below. Extremely. Amazing.

Thoughts: So cruel. How could semifinals day fall on both of their birthdays, THE EXACT DATE WOW. AMAZING. But anyway, back to the tennis, I think Ostapenko has a really good chance in this match-up as she has the power and weapons to pin Bacsinszky at the forehand corner, which is really her Achilles heel as that shot usually has less pace and not enough depth, which will allow Ostapenko to dictate play. The Bacsinszky backhand will be a crucial weapon too if she wants to take the first step and not let Ostapenko become the aggressor. Normally, you would think Ostapenko would suffer from the nerves in her first deep run in a Slam. It doesn’t seem like it though – the Latvian was incredibly calm (yet dramatic, obviously) against Wozniacki and she served out the match so smoothly, it seemed just like a customary match! The result will probably come down to the winners-unforced errors ratio for Ostapenko – if she leaks too many errors, it’ll be Bacsinszky’s win, but you never know with the Latvian.

That’s why tennis is just so amazing.

Check out my daily predictions here and full draw predictions here
Follow me at @WTA_Fanatics on Twitter here

 

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