Mercurial Jelena Ostapenko powers up in Rome triumph over Paula Badosa

Jelena Ostapenko
Jelena Ostapenko waves to the crowd

Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko has recorded her best ever run in Rome after reaching the semi-finals of the tournament for the first time.

The 2017 French Open champion has endured a difficult season with her run to the last eight at the Australian Open her best performance of the year to date.

Ostapenko advanced to her first semi-final of the year with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 win over Paula Badosa in the last eight in Rome.

She said that she knew that she was up for a fight when she learned that she would be facing Badosa.

“This is one of my favorite tournaments. I really love playing here,” Ostapenko said.

“I was never was more than in quarterfinals, and now, I’m finally in the semifinals.

“Paula is a great player and I know she is such a fighter, so I expected a tough battle. The most important thing was to fight for every point. The match is only over when you shake hands, so even though some points and games didn’t go my way, I just managed it. I think I played well in deciding moments.”

The winner of the Top-10 quarterfinal match between World No. 1 Iga Swiatek and defending Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina will go up against Ostapenko next. Swiatek and Rybakina are the sole remaining top ten players in the women’s draw.

Ostapenko got off to a strong start with a mid-match slump being followed by a relatively comfortable conclusion. In the opening set’s first three service games, Ostapenko broke Badosa, and in the decider, she won five of the final six games from 2-2.

Ostapenko increased her career head-to-head record against Badosa to 2-2 with the one-hour and 47-minute triumph.

In the first five games of the match, which lasted a scant 19 minutes, Ostapenko netted 10 winners, giving her a 4-1 advantage. However, Badosa regained composure in the face of her power tennis and seized a 4-1 advantage to begin the second set.

Ostapenko got Badosa back to 4-4, her comeback wasn’t enough to close out the match in two sets; instead, for the third time in her four victories at this tournament, she won in a third set.

Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina advanced to the biggest semifinal of her career on Tuesday and will face Veronika Kudermetova in the last four on Friday.

“It feels great, but I can’t feel my body or my legs,” Kalinina said after the win. “I think it was the longest match of my career. thanks to my coach and thanks to my fitness coach because this win is not my win. My part is 50 percent and 50 percent is my fitness coach.”

READ MORE: Iga Swiatek and Elena Rybakina set for crunch match – ‘It’s not going to be easy’