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You are here: Tennis French Open Jelena Ostapenko: "I need to stay aggressive and to play my game"

Jelena Ostapenko: "I need to stay aggressive and to play my game"

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Just a win away from her maiden Grand Slam title, and the world No. 1 ranking to boot, Romanian tennis player Simona Halep wants to keep a cool head against the history-making Latvian underdog Jelena Ostapenko. Halep will face 20-year-old Ostapenko in the women's singles final of the French Open on Saturday.

"Of course, it's going to be a great thing if I can win tomorrow, but I would like not to think too much, as it will put more pressure," said the No. 3 seed Halep at the pre-game conference on Friday.

"It's tough to know what to expect against Ostapenko. She's hitting balls very strong," said Halep. "But I will focus more on myself. I'm not focusing on her too much. I just want to do my game, be focused and move well. I know that she can play her best tennis. She has nothing to lose. I'm going there and I will be ready," she added.

After top seed Angelique Kerber's first-round exit, Halep grasped the chance to replace the German to move atop WTA world rankings with a crucial head-to-head win against the second-seeded Karolina Pliskova in Thursday's semi-final. The Romanian could accomplish the mission if she wins Saturday's final.

However, her next opponent Ostapenko was also on an unbelievable run at Roland Garros this year as the first Latvian to reach a Grand Slam final.

The Latvian promising star gave herself a perfect gift to celebrate her 20th birthday after eliminating the No. 30 seed Timea Bacsinszky. The recording-breaking victory earned Ostapenko nationwide attention back home, even from the President of Latvia.

As she revealed, the President gave her mother a phone call. "That means a lot already," she said.

"I'm already in the final. Simona is a great player. In the match against her, I need to stay aggressive and to play my game. It's going to be a tough match and I have to be ready for it," commented Ostapenko.

The Romanian shrugged off huge pressure to stand on the other side of net against the underdog.

"I always say that I play well with the pressure, but now I don't need it."

"I just take it like a big day, a big match. Definitely I'm ready for it, because I won many matches until now," Halep said.