Rain and bad weather robbed Roland Garros of almost an entire day’s play with only Jelena Ostapenko and Timea Bacsinszky winning their singles matches. But the duo put on a terrific performance to make the day memorable – not least setting a semi-final on their shared birthday. Dive in for the all the headlines and sidelines from the fifth day.
The Big News
Latvian teen Ostapenko into last four
Jelena Ostapenko, all of 19, became the first Latvian woman to reach a Grand Slam semi-final as she stunned Danish 11th seed Caroline Wozniacki 4-6, 6-2, 6-2. Before this, she had never been beyond the third round at a major. Now, she has gone step further than compatriot Anastasija Sevastova at last year’s US Open.
Wozniacki charged into a 5-0 lead in the opening set, blowing two set points as Ostapenko reeled off four straight games before Wozniacki finally wrapped it up. But the Latvian, who is a chasing a first career title, hit back impressively with three breaks of serve in the second set to level the match. Wozniacki hit just six winners in total, and Ostapenko’s bold approach paid off as the teenager continued her dream run.
Bacsinszky ends home hope Mladenovic’s run
Swiss 30th seed Timea Bacsinszky reached the French Open semi-finals for the second time with a rain-hit 6-4, 6-4 win over home hope Kristina Mladenovic. The 27-year-old, who also made the last four in 2015, overcame Mladenovic, bidding to be the first Frenchwoman in the semi-finals since Marion Bartoli in 2011, in a rain-marred game.
Mladenovic was broken in her first service game before she levelled at 2-2. But she handed the advantage straight back in the fifth game and the Swiss player went on to claim the opening set on an ace after 63 minutes on court. At 1-1 in the second set, the match was halted for three hours as torrential rain swept across Roland Garros. When they returned, Mladenovic raced into a 3-2 lead, but was unable to back it up and Bacsinszky took the next four games to stretch to what proved to be a crucial 5-3 lead.
Rain delays, postpone big matches
Tuesday was a completely rain marred day at Roland Garros as only two singles matches could be completed. Both matches lasted just under two hours in duration, but took the best part of six hours to complete after two rain delays – one that lasted for over three hours. The weather interruptions forced Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic’s respective quarter-final matches to be pushed back until Wednesday, drawing a deafening chorus of boos from the Paris crowd. This means that all four men’s quarter-finals will be played on Wedneday with Andy Murray against Kei Nishikori and Stan Wawrinka facing Marin Cilic.
Shot of the day
Look at the backhand winner. These were the kind of rockets Ostapenko threw at Wozniacki to which helped her win from 0-5 down in the first set to reach the French Open semis.
“We had all the seasons – a hurricane, sandstorm and almost snow.”
– Timea Bacsinszky after seeing off Kristina Mladenovic.
“I think it [dancing] helped me. And I’m still doing it now just for myself, the dancing. My favourite one is Samba.”
– Jelena Ostapenko on how her passion for ballroom dancing is fuelling her breakthrough performance
From the sidelines
Birthday girls in semi showoff
Jelena Ostapenko and Timea Bacsinszky both celebrate their birthdays on Thursday when they clash in the semi-finals. Ostapenko will be 20 while her Swiss opponent will turn 28. For now, Ostapenko is the first teenager in the French Open semi-finals since Ana Ivanovic in 2007. So, who will make their birthday more memorable?
Rain, dust...and boos
Fans on the showcase Philippe Chatrier and Suzanne Lenglen courts booed when it was announced that the men’s quarter-finals were being pushed back to Wednesday. A flustered announcer quickly tried to defuse the situation by promising a full ticket refund after just under two hours of action was possible.
Caroline Wozniacki managed just six winners in her three-set defeat to Jelena Ostapenko. The Latvian fired 38.
4/0 – Ostapenko’s win/loss record against Wozniacki
30 – Maximum wind speed in km/h as play was disrupted by torrential rain.
44 – double faults served by Kristina Mladenovic in five rounds.
With inputs from AFP