Timea Bacsinszky vs Jelena Ostapenko, Roland Garros SF Preview

Roland Garros, ??? Semi-Final Preview + Prediction
SF #1: (30) ?? Timea Bacsinszky vs ?? Jelena Ostapenko

A totally unexpected semi-final match-up sees Timea Bacsinszky come up against Jelena Ostapenko for a place in the 2017 Roland Garros final. This will be the first ever meeting between Bacsinszky and Ostapenko, a match-up that will feature a big contrast in styles, with so much on the line this looms as an intriguing battle. Experience will be on Bacsinszky’s side given she has been in this exact situation before in Paris, however Ostapenko has the firepower to give Bacsinszky all kinds of trouble, this one could seemingly go either way in what has been a very unpredictable half of the draw.

Timea Bacsinszky has been a regular participant at the later stages at Roland Garros, Bacsinszky reached the semi-final stage in 2015, the quarter-finals last year and is now back into the semi-finals in 2017. Bacsinszky has been one of the most consistent performers at this year’s event, the 27-year-old cruised through her first three matches, recording straight set wins over Sara Sorribes Tormo, Madison Brengle and Ons Jabeur. The second week was much more difficult for Timea and she has risen to the challenge, coming from a set down to defeat Venus Williams 5-7 6-2 6-2 and then confirming her spot in the semi-finals with a 6-4 6-4 win over Kristina Mladenovic.

Jelena Ostapenko has been the biggest surprise of the tournament, the Latvian had never made it past the third round at a Grand Slam prior to Roland Garros 2017, now all of a sudden she is into the semi-finals at her least preferred Grand Slam. Ostapenko laboured through her first round match against Louisa Chirico where she forced to come from a set down before cursing past Monica Puig and Lesia Tsurenko in straight sets. The 19-year-old showed great fight to come from a set down in back-to-back matches against far more experienced opponents to advance to the final 4: a 2-6 6-2 6-4 win over Samantha Stosur and a 4-6 6-2 6-2 win over Caroline Wozniacki. Ostapenko is playing with little fear, even under unprecedented pressure, if she can maintain this mindset she is a legitimate chance to be an unlikely champion in Paris.

This will be the first ever meeting between Bacsinszky and Ostapenko. Bacsinszky is the more experienced of the pair at this stage of a big event and is certainly the more consistent of pair. Ostapenko’s upside is greater, the Latvian has far more firepower but is far more inconsistent.

I’m going to side with Ostapenko here. It is risky to side with Ostapenko because of her inconsistency but there is no doubt that if Ostapenko plays her game and executes her plan she will be too good here. Bacsinszky’s forehand is clearly the biggest weakness in this match-up and Ostapenko has the deep hitting from both sides that can expose this weakness. Ostapenko has proven her ability to deal with defensive players, most notably in her recent wins over Wozniacki. Ostapenko also has less to lose in this match and can play with more freedom. The stage is set for another upset.

Prediction: Jelena Ostapenko to defeat (30) Timea Bacsinszky in 3 sets

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