Jelena Ostapenko became the first Latvian Grand Slam finalist
Picture Credit: Jelena Ostapenko became the first Latvian Grand Slam finalist Picture credit- Reuters / Pascal Rossignol

Ripping a screaming forehand straight through the tennis textbook, Latvian Jelena Ostapenko blazed into the French Open final with a 7-6(4) 3-6 6-3 win over Swiss Timea Bacsinszky in a battle of the birthday girls on Thursday.

But seven-times French Open champion Evert, in Paris commentating for broadcaster Eurosport, would not have recognised the brand of tennis served up by Ostapenko.

Mixed in with her scintillating winners, including forehands faster than anything men’s world number one Andy Murray has managed here so far, were 45 unforced errors, some of which could have been included in a video nasty.

Bacsinszky, the 30th seed, who needed a bandage applied to her right thigh midway through the first set, looked the more likely winner at that point as she sought to celebrate her 28th birthday by surpassing her semi-final run of 2015.

But Ostapenko played fearlessly in the decider and roared home from 3-3, swishing away a forehand to finish an absorbing contest and become the first Latvian to reach a major final.

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