This final was pretty much on Ostapenko’s racket from the first point, despite the 4/6 *0/3 (and points for 0/4*) score line that almost put it out of her reach. I think it’s a concern Halep couldn’t close it out from there, definite signs of tension. Would she have lost from *4/0? Possibly! The Latvian was again, very patchy but ultimately she dictated the proceedings. There were some stunning winners as we have come accustomed to and at times some bad misses but that’s how it is! It shows her confidence in her own ability! She made Halep look light-weight and though the Romanian chased and hustled everything, there was little else she could do apart from pray that Ostapenko kept missing! Even at *3/1 (Halep) in the decider, you knew it was by no means over. 5 games later and the 20-year-old Latvian had smashed her way through Halep’s defence and won her first tour title. You may be aware, it’s 20 years on from Guga Kuerten doing the same in Paris! She finished it off with a crisp backhand winner down the line. Ostapenko deserved to win today, no two ways about! She kept going after her shots and showed little fear when the finishing line was in sight. Halep admitted after that nerves had played a part, “I can say now that I’ve been like, sick in the stomach with emotions for playing this final, so maybe I was not ready to win it.” I find these comments both honest and slightly worrying, there still seems to be a mental block there. For Ostapenko and interesting few months lie ahead, how will she find the next 12 months? Muguruza, for example, has been below par. It may take some time for this to all to settle in. We will now discover a lot about the Latvian’s hunger and desire and how she deals with the expectancy. She has stolen a march on her competitors in the absence or recent comebacks of Serena, Vika, Petra and Sharapova (out of Wimbledon with muscle tear) and she has done it on her own terms. I mentioned in my RG 2017 preview that she would be looking to make her mark, she’s done a little better than that!
Worrying news for Dan Evans as he retired in his semi-final against Dustin Brown in Surbiton today, Evans was a set to the good and had points for a double break when he “heard and felt something go”. Scan on Monday, let’s hope it’s nothing serious, Evo should go well at this time of year and it will be a blow to see him out for the summer!
Andy Del Potro