Tennis: Jelena Ostapenko gets first French Open win since 2017 title

Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko after winning a point during The Roland Garros 2020 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on Sept 29, 2020.
Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko after winning a point during The Roland Garros 2020 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on Sept 29, 2020.PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - Jelena Ostapenko said she believes she can return to the world's top 10 with a little more consistency in her game after securing her first French Open victory since lifting the trophy in 2017.

The Latvian, 23, blasted 46 winners en route to a 6-2, 6-1 defeat of Madison Brengle - her only win at Roland Garros outwith her shock run to the title three years ago.

Ostapenko's raw talent and fearless approach powered her to a stunning French Open triumph that saw her become the first unseeded player to win the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen since Britain's Margaret Scriven in 1933.

However, Ostapenko admitted she struggled to cope with increased expectations following that fairy-tale run in Paris, and has added just two minor titles to her collection since beating Simona Halep in the 2017 final.

"After I won it was a tough time. I had to get used to the pressure but now it's all gone, and finally I won my first match after two years," she told reporters on Tuesday (Sept 29).

"I feel like much better than the years before. I was practising a lot. I didn't play the US swing and I was practising all the time on clay.

"I was kind of waiting for this clay season. Finally, here we are. Yeah, just taking one match at a time, but really happy with my performance today."

She reached a career high of fifth in March 2018 and made both the quarter-finals and semi-finals at Wimbledon in the two appearances directly after her French Open breakthrough.

But she entered this year's concluding Grand Slam again unseeded, at No. 43 in the world.

 
 
 

"I just have to be more confident in my game and more consistent," said Ostapenko, who could pose a difficult test for fourth-ranked Karolina Pliskova in the second round.

"If there is a consistency in my game, I think I'm going to be a very dangerous player and it's going to be very, like, not easy to beat me.

"Sometimes I feel like I play well, and then some matches I don't play well. But if I get my consistency back like in 2017 and beginning of 2018 also, I think I'll be back in like top 10."