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Roland Garros final: 5 things you might not know

Jun 09, 2017
written by: Tennis Canada
written by: Tennis Canada
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After a jam-packed two weeks of tennis action, there are just two players left standing at Roland Garros. Romania’s Simona Halep will face Latvian Jelena Ostapenko for the Grand Slam title on Saturday. Here are five things you might not know ahead of the exciting grand finale:

Birthday blues?

In our semifinal preview we discussed that Ostapenko was set to play her semifinal match on the same day she would turn 20. On Thursday, she celebrated by defeating her birthday twin Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-3.

Halep celebrated her 25th birthday on September 27 at the Wuhan Open in China. Coincidentally, her doubles partner at the tournament was Ostapenko. However, during practice on her birthday, Halep was struck in the head with a ball and had to retire from the doubles draw.

Will Ostapenko’s fairy tale birthday week continue or will Halep put a damper on the celebrations?

The moment Ostapenko sealed her spot in the final:

Rogers Cup connection

At the 2016 Rogers Cup presented by National Bank, Simona Halep became the first Romanian to win the tournament. Halep and doubles partner Monica Niculescu also made the doubles final in Montreal before losing to champions Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina. In the same tournament, Niculescu defeated Ostapenko in the first round of the singles draw (3-6, 7-5, 6-1). Perhaps Halep should consult her Romanian teammate Niculescu on how to beat the young Latvian!

Halep after her 2016 Rogers Cup victory:

WTA ranking scenarios

Ostapenko came into the tournament as the No. 47-ranked player and she is now the lowest-ranked competitor to make the Roland Garros final in the Open Era. After defeating No. 30 seed Timea Bacsinszky in the semifinals, Ostapenko will now be ranked in the Top 20 of the WTA. However, if she wins against Halep, she will move all the way up to No. 12 – a phenomenal jump.

By advancing into the final, Halep has now moved into the No. 2 world ranking behind No. 1 Angelique Kerber. BUT, if Halep wins her first Grand Slam on Saturday, she will overtake Kerber and become the new No. 1 ranked player.

Whoa! That’s a lot of firsts!

History will be made at Roland Garros no matter who comes out the winner on Saturday. Halep is hoping to become the first Romanian to win at Roland Garros since Virginia Ruzici in 1978. Ruzici will be cheering for Halep from the player’s box as she is Halep’s manager.

Ostapenko is the first Latvian woman to make it to the final at Roland Garros in the Open Era. She is also the youngest player to reach the final since Ana Ivanovic in 2008. Having never won a WTA title, if she wins she will become the first player to clinch her first title at Roland Garros since Gustavo Kuerten did on June 8, 1997… also the same day Ostapenko was born.

Forehand fury!

Both players rely heavily on their forehand shots. Halep is able to hit her forehand with incredible accuracy while Ostapenko has enough power on her forehand to rival some of the top ATP players!

Now that’s impressive! But don’t hand the title to Ostapenko just yet (horrible PUN intended) – five out of the six opponents Halep ousted at the Madrid Open had faster forehands than she does. Check out Patrick Mouratoglou breaking down how Halep does it:

It’s been an incredible tournament so far and there is just one match left to decide who will be the 2017 Roland Garros champion! Halep and Ostapenko will face off on Saturday June 10 at 9 a.m. on Court Philippe Chatrier. To check out broadcast details, visit: