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Jeļena Ostapenko
Ostapenko RG18 (9) (42077295315).jpg
Ostapenko at the 2018 French Open
Full name Jeļena Ostapenko
Country (sports)  Latvia
Residence Riga, Latvia
Born (1997-06-08) 8 June 1997 (age 21)
Riga, Latvia
Height 1.77 m (5 ft 10 in)
Turned pro 23 April 2012[1]
Plays Right-handed (two-handed backhand)
Coach Jeļena Jakovļeva
Anabel Medina Garrigues (2017)
David Taylor (2018–)
Prize money US$6,125,119[2]
Singles
Career record 195–105 (65%)
Career titles 2 WTA, 7 ITF
Highest ranking No. 5 (19 March 2018)
Current ranking No. 12 (11 June 2018)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open 3R (2017, 2018)
French Open W (2017)
Wimbledon QF (2017)
US Open 3R (2017)
Other tournaments
Tour Finals RR (2017)
Doubles
Career record 80–60 (57.14%)
Career titles 3 WTA, 8 ITF
Highest ranking No. 32 (19 June 2017)
Current ranking No. 44 (25 June 2018)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian Open 1R (2016, 2017)
French Open 1R (2016, 2017)
Wimbledon 3R (2016)
US Open 1R (2016)
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
French Open 1R (2017)
Wimbledon SF (2016)
US Open 1R (2016)
Team competitions
Fed Cup 20–12
Last updated on: 25 June 2018.

Jeļena Ostapenko (born 8 June 1997), also known as Aļona Ostapenko,[3] is a professional tennis player from Latvia. On 19 March 2018, she reached her best singles ranking of world No. 5 in the Women's Tennis Association (WTA), and she peaked at world No. 32 in the WTA doubles rankings on 19 June 2017.

Ostapenko won the 2017 French Open singles title, becoming the first player from Latvia to win a Grand Slam tournament and the first unseeded player to win the French Open since 1933. In addition to her singles career, she has played as a member of Latvia's Fed Cup team.[4] She has won seven singles and eight doubles titles on the ITF tour, and she also won the Junior singles event at the 2014 Wimbledon Championships. Ostapenko is known for her highly aggressive playing style, including powerful inside-out groundstrokes and a tendency to aim for the lines.

Contents

  • 1 Personal life
  • 2 Career
    • 2.1 2014: Wimbledon Junior champion and pro debut
    • 2.2 2015: Grand Slam main draw debut
    • 2.3 2016: First Premier 5 final, Wimbledon Mixed Doubles semifinalist
    • 2.4 2017: French Open champion, Top 10 debut
    • 2.5 2018: Top 5 entrance
  • 3 Playing style, equipment, and coaches
  • 4 Career statistics
    • 4.1 Grand Slam tournament finals
    • 4.2 Grand Slam performance timelines
  • 5 Awards
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links

Personal life[edit]

Ostapenko was born in Riga to former footballer Jevgēnijs Ostapenko and Jeļena Jakovļeva. Jevgēnijs played professional football for FC Metalurh Zaporizhya in the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhia where Jeļena's grandmother still lives.[5] Jeļena has one half-brother, Maksim, who lives in the United States. She was introduced to tennis at age 5 by her mother and idolized Serena Williams while growing up. She also started dancing around that age, going on to compete in the National Latvian Championships for Ballroom Dancing. At age 12, she chose to focus on tennis and credits her good coordination and skilled footwork to her years of dancing.[6] She speaks Latvian, Russian, and English.[7][8]

Her legal name is Jeļena, but she is known to her family and friends as Aļona. When she was born, her parents' desired name of Aļona was not on the Latvian name calendar, so she was named Jeļena after her mother.[9] Latvian authorities have now clarified, though, that there have been no restrictions in place that would not allow to register the desired name and most likely there has been some misunderstanding.[10] Fans in Latvia and elsewhere in Eastern Europe had always called her Aļona, but the name was unknown in the West until her win at Roland Garros in 2017.[9] She uses her legal name professionally in order to avoid administrative confusion.[11]

Career[edit]

2014: Wimbledon Junior champion and pro debut[edit]

Ostapenko won the singles event at the junior 2014 Wimbledon Championships[12] and was ranked the No. 2 junior tennis player in the world in September 2014.[13] She made her WTA tour main draw debut at the 2014 Tashkent Open, having been awarded a wild card.

2015: Grand Slam main draw debut[edit]

At the Ladies Neva Cup, Ostapenko went through qualifying and won the biggest title of her career before the 2017 French Open.

At Wimbledon, Ostapenko defeated the 9th-seeded Carla Suárez Navarro in straight sets (dropping only two games in the match and grabbing her first win over a Top 10 player) in the first round before losing to Kristina Mladenovic.[14][15]

At the US Open, she lost her second-round match to Sara Errani.[16][17]

In September, she reached her career's first WTA final at the Coupe Banque Nationals, where she lost to Annika Beck.

She ended the season as the world No. 79.

2016: First Premier 5 final, Wimbledon Mixed Doubles semifinalist[edit]

Ostapenko at the 2016 Eastbourne International

She reached the final of the Qatar Open, a Premier 5 tournament, in Doha, beating world No. 8 Petra Kvitová on the way. She was beaten by Carla Suárez Navarro in the final, but she rose to No. 41 in the world rankings.[18]

At the French Open, Ostapenko was seeded in the singles for the first time in her Grand Slam career, but she dropped her opening match to Naomi Osaka.

At the 2016 Aegon Classic, she beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in straight sets during the first round, and she defeated two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitová in the second. She was defeated by Madison Keys in the quarterfinals. She reached the semifinals of the mixed doubles at Wimbledon with Oliver Marach, but they fell to the eventual champions Heather Watson and Henri Kontinen.[19]

Ostapenko made her Olympic debut at the 2016 Summer Olympics. She lost to Samantha Stosur in the first round.

2017: French Open champion, Top 10 debut[edit]

At the Australian Open, she advanced to the third round of a major for the first time, losing to Karolína Plíšková in three sets despite serving for the match in the third set.[20]

At the Charleston Open, she reached the final, losing to fellow 19-year-old Daria Kasatkina.

Ostapenko after winning the 2017 French Open

At the French Open, Ostapenko, then ranked 47th in the world, defeated Louisa Chirico, Monica Puig, Lesia Tsurenko, and Samantha Stosur. She then faced Caroline Wozniacki in the quarterfinals. Ostapenko came from a set down to defeat her, reaching her first ever Grand Slam semifinal. She was the first Latvian female player to do so and first teenager in a decade to reach the French Open semifinals (the last was Ana Ivanovic in 2007), opposite Timea Bacsinszky on June 8, the birthday of both players.[21][22] She beat Bacsinszky in three sets to reach the final, being the first unseeded female player to play in the final of the French Open since Mima Jaušovec in 1983 and the first Latvian player to reach the final of a major.[23] In the final against 3rd-seeded Simona Halep, Ostapenko won in three sets her first professional title. She became the first Latvian player to win a Grand Slam singles tournament and the first unseeded woman to win the French Open since 1933.[24][25][26] Ostapenko also became the first player since Gustavo Kuerten to win his or her first career title at a Grand Slam; Kuerten won his first title at the 1997 French Open on the day Ostapenko was born.[27] With the win, she reached a career-high ranking of world No. 12.[24]

At Wimbledon, Ostapenko beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich, Françoise Abanda, Camila Giorgi, and 4th-seeded Elina Svitolina en route to her second Grand Slam quarterfinal. She lost to five-time champion Venus Williams.

After the US Open, she made her top 10 debut in the world rankings as No. 10.

At the end of September, she won her second WTA title at the 2017 Korea Open in Seoul. In the Wuhan Open, she beat Barbora Strýcová and Monica Puig to reach the quarterfinals, where she scored her first win over a reigning WTA No. 1, Garbiñe Muguruza,[28] extending her winning streak to eight in a row. She lost to Ashleigh Barty in the semifinal.

In October, she reached the semifinals of the China Open, losing to Simona Halep.[29] At the WTA Finals, she scored a win over Karolína Plíšková but lost to Muguruza and Venus Williams. She ended her 2017 season ranked No. 7 in the world.

2018: Top 5 entrance[edit]

After Indian Wells, Ostapenko made her debut in the top 5 at No. 5.

She then played at the Miami Open, where she defeated the 9th-seeded Petra Kvitová in the fourth round and 4th-seeded Elina Svitolina in the quarterfinals with 7-6, 7-6. In the semifinals, Ostapenko defeated qualifier Danielle Collins to reach the finals, where she lost to 12th-seeded Sloane Stephens.

Ostapenko entered the 2018 French Open as the fifth seed, but was unable to defend her title after losing in the first round to Kateryna Kozlova.

Playing style, equipment, and coaches[edit]

Ostapenko at the 2016 Wimbledon Championships

In a 2017 article, Steve Tignor of Tennis.com described Ostapenko's mentality as "See ball, hit winner."[30] Eurosport labeled her style as "risky, aggressive, fun tennis".[31]

Ostapenko moves opponents around the court by aiming long strokes at corners and lines, then changes direction to hit powerful winners.[32][33][34] After putting an opponent in a vulnerable position, she regularly seeks to end the point with a cross-court forehand, a down-the-line backhand, a swinging volley, or a drop shot.[21][35] Several journalists have observed her interest in using the entire court, along with her tendency to finish points. Before her participation in the 2017 Volvo Car Open final, an article on the event's website declared, "Most impressive about Ostapenko is her willingness to strike big to all corners of the court, be it a cross-court laser or a bold down-the-line winner."[34] One of her main weaknesses is a high error rate due to her high-risk approach.[21]

She hits powerfully on both wings. In a 2016 interview, Crosscourt View labeled Ostapenko's backhand her "strongest weapon"; the same year, Hartford Courant stated that she "hits a lot of forehand winners".[36][37]

At the 2017 French Open, where Ostapenko won her first professional title, she regularly hit between 35 and 45 winners throughout her matches.[21][38] Following her quarterfinal performance, she attracted multiple comparisons to Monica Seles.[22][30] Ostapenko said in an interview at the event that "aggressive is my style of game".[30] After the final match of that French Open, analysts highlighted the differences between her performance and opponent Simona Halep's performance; Ostapenko had 54 winners and 54 unforced errors, while Halep had 8 winners and 10 unforced errors. ESPN's Simon Cambers wrote "Fear just does not seem to come into [Ostapenko's] vocabulary... Her groundstrokes are simply massive, flat swipes of the ball that left Halep... grasping at shadows."[39][40]

Ostapenko uses Wilson Blade racquets and typically wears Adidas clothing on-court; her apparel was previously supplied by Nike.[41]

She is coached by her mother, with her father serving as a fitness trainer. In 2017, she also trained with two-time French Open doubles champion Anabel Medina Garrigues.[30][42] She parted company with Garrigues at the end of 2017, taking on David Taylor — former coach of Sam Stosur and Ana Ivanovic — to coach her for the majors, with her mother remaining as her full-time coach.[43][44]

Career statistics[edit]

Grand Slam tournament finals[edit]

Result Year Tournament Surface Opponent Score
Win 2017 French Open Clay Romania Simona Halep 4–6, 6–4, 6–3

Grand Slam performance timelines[edit]

Key
W  F  SF QF #R RR Q# A NH
(W) Won; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (A) absent; (NH) not held. SR=strike rate (events won/competed)
To avoid confusion and double counting, these charts are updated at the conclusion of a tournament or when the player's participation has ended.

Currently through 2018 French Open.

Tournament 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 SR W–L Win%
Australian Open A A 1R 3R 3R 0 / 3 4–3 57%
French Open A Q1 1R W 1R 1 / 3 7–2 78%
Wimbledon A 2R 1R QF 0 / 3 5–3 63%
US Open A 2R 1R 3R 0 / 3 3–3 50%
Win–Loss 0–0 2–2 0–4 15–3 2–2 1 / 12 19–11 63%

Awards[edit]

Year Awards
2014 Latvian Sports Rising Star of the Year[45]
2015 WTA Tour Breakthrough of the Month (February)
2017 WTA Tour Breakthrough of the Month (May)
2017 WTA Tour Most Improved Player of the Year
2017 Latvian Sportswoman of the Year