Tennis-Hit or miss, but Ostapenko blazes into third round

·2-min read
Wimbledon

LONDON (Reuters) - When Jelena Ostapenko fell a break down in the final set of her second-round match against Daria Kasatkina at Wimbledon on Thursday a BBC commentator remarked that perhaps she should reel in her swashbuckling style for something more conservative.

That was never going to happen.

The 24-year-old Latvian does not do half measures and she continued blazing away to claim a 6-1 3-6 8-6 win to move into the third round and continue a hot streak that saw her claim the prestigious Eastbourne title in the build-up.

A look at Ostapenko's stats for the match told a familiar story. She struck 48 winners and 48 unforced errors.

It was a similar story when she introduced her hellraising style to the world in 2017 by winning the French Open in fearless fashion, clubbing 54 outright winners past Simona Halep to recover from a set and 3-1 down in the final.

Kasatkina served for the match at 5-4 in a deciding set in which neither player could hold serve but double-faulted at 30-30 before watching a backhand bullet fly off Ostapenko's racket and down the line to make it 5-5.

The Russian then led 6-5 only for Ostapenko to drill a forehand winner to level the match again.

The next time Kasatkina served it was to stay alive but she dumped a forehand and Ostapenko celebrated with a huge roar.

The Latvian did reach the Wimbledon semi-final the year after her storming of Paris, but since then she has suffered five first-rounds exits in Grand Slams as a new generation of big hitters jumped ahead of her in the queue.

From a ranking of five she ended 2019 down at 69 and 2020 was even worse as she slumped to 71.

But the signs are that Ostapenko is trusting the free-hitting style that makes her deadly on her day. Next in the firing line is Australian Ajla Tomljanovic who beat Alize Cornet 6-4 0-6 6-3.

This year's surprise French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova continued her maiden singles quest at Wimbledon with a 7-5 6-4 win over Germany's Andrea Petkovic to reach round three.

"So far I feel extremely happy. It's always hard to switch from clay to grass. I had such a huge run in Paris, and then I didn't really have much time to actually prepare, so came here with no expectations," the Czech said.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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