2021 Viking International

Former Grand Slam winner Ostapenko advances to semi-final

Grass proves a conundrum too far for Russian Kasatkina

Jelena Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion, triumphed over Russian Daria Kasatkina 1–6 7–5 6–2 to progress to the final four in the Wimbledon warm-up event.

The Latvian, coached by 2011 Eastbourne winner Marion Bartoli of France, made an horrendous start and was shot down in the opening set by the lively Kasatkina.

But the 24-year-old gathered herself together to cautiously play percentage tennis and peg her way into the contest in a cat-and-mouse second set, which failed to set the court alight.

There were no fireworks to follow. In fact it was roles reversed in the third set as Kasatkina, who accounted for Poland’s no.4 seed Iga Swiatek in the previous round, producing wayward shots that mirrored Ostapenko’s slow start in the opening set.

As the match progressed the Russian looked fatigued. Having finished runner-up to Tunisian Ons Jabeur at last week’s Viking Classic in Birmingham, she looked weary in the deciding set. Being visibly exhausted following her recent exploits on grass.

Ostapenko, the 2014 Junior Wimbledon champion, said: “Probably I was playing more aggressive today and tried to put as much pressure as possible on her.

“In the second set I was fighting very hard to win it. In the third set I already found my game and played much better.

“I get very sad because it’s very short, the grass season, and I get very excited. But I wish it could be longer, because I love to play on grass.”

Jelena Ostapenko
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