Unseeded Ostapenko defies the odds to win incredible French Open title

Latvian underdog Jelena Ostapenko won her first Grand Slam title in a thrilling manner as she came back from one set down to beat No. 3 seed Simona Halep 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in women's singles final at the 2017 French Open here on Saturday.

Ostapenko also became the first Latvian player to win a Grand Slam in the single competition.

Two years later, in 2009, she would win the Open 10-12 in the 12-year-old category, at the Tennis Club de Boulogne Billancourt, a stone's throw from Roland Garros, joining Amelie Mauresmo and Justine Henin on the list of winners.

It was a similar tale in the deciding set as Halep again saved break points in the opening game and raced to a 3-1 lead but again Ostapenko blasted her way out of trouble and didn't show any signs of nerves closing the match out. I was 3-0 down [in the second set] but I was fighting for every point.

She stormed through the last five games in a row, apparently free of nerves, to clinch victory and grab her place among the elite of women's tennis.

And it was the 299 winners she hit over the course of seven matches that captured the imagination of the Roland Garros crowd, who roared her to victory on Saturday.

She was in similarly desperate straits in the third set when 1-3 in arrears.

She turned 20 during the tournament and was still a teenager when she lost the first set of her first-round match against Louisa Chirico of the United States. "It's fantastic", said Ostapenko.

Add Halep to the list.

The Romanian had played the percentages, with just one victor and two errors, and she looked set to end her wait for a major title when she moved 3-0 up in the second. "To go away", Halep said, as she fought back the tears. Because of all the unbelievable things she acheived in the span of one tournament, there's no reason to think she can't make a deep run, and possibly get another win, at the All England Club when Wimbeldon commences in less than a month. Keep it going because you are only a kid.

There have been plenty of even younger prodigies with Grand Slam championships.

Ostapenko's idol growing up, Serena Williams, is taking the rest of the season off while pregnant.

Ostapenko, who just celebrated her 20th birthday on Thursday, has already made history in the semifinals as the first Latvian player to make into the final at a Grand Slam tournament.

World No.47 Ostapenko's average forehand speed at the French Open is just behind Rafa Nadal's and ahead of men's No.1 Andy Murray.

Until Roland Garros, Ostapenko was best known outside of Latvia as a racquet-throwing villain after an incident in Auckland in January, when she nearly hit a ball boy.

"She is smiling all the time", Medina Garrigues said. But her natural ball-striking ability means she can always dictate play.

Before this competition started, nobody saw her among on the probable quarter-finalists and let alone as a victor.

Ostapenko has tended to be unpredictable and volatile. 'I knew she had it inside of her, it's just trying to get her to dig down deep and really commit to it and she's been great since. Her first, also at Roland Garros, was in 2014 against Maria Sharapova.

Having arrived in Paris as the little-known world number 47 from Latvia, Ostapenko leaves as the world number 12 and with her career earnings nearly tripled.

"I knew that Gustavo Kuerten also won his first title here also in 1997 (the year she was born)". So I want to really hit the ball (smiling).' About her popularity in Latvia, Ostapenko said: 'My match they were translating in the city center on big screen. "It was my dream".

"I'm really happy to win here".

Ostapenko certainly was not planning to go all the way, either.

A large contingent of Romanian fans was now chanting her name with confidence, but her run of six games in a row came to an end, and Ostapenko grabbed the momentum.

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