Aussie coach helping Simona Halep find her best

Rufina Vignone
Giugno 9, 2017

Karolina Pliskova (CZE) celebrates match point during her match against Caroline Garcia (FRA) on day eleven of the 2017 French Open tennis tournament at Stade Roland Garros.

"I mean, when I came here", Ostapenko said, her words spilling out with nary a pause in between, "of course I didn't expect I would be in the final".

After their high-profile bust-up, Cahill told Halep "we will talk after Paris", but she pleaded for the coach who helped Lleyton Hewitt become the youngest-ever men's year-end No.1 and then Andre Agassi to become the oldest to snare the top ranking to return to her box.

The first racket of Ukraine Elina Svitolina was one ball from getting into the semi-finals of Roland Garros, but was unable to take the final step to a new milestone.

There will be quite a contrast in styles Saturday at Court Philippe Chatrier.

Title favourite Halep was being overpowered and looked set for a disappointing exit before turning things around to win 3-6 7-6 (8/6) 6-0.

Both have had to pull off some huge upsets to reach this stage of the tournament, but it would be fair to say it didn't almost get as hard as it could have, with seeds being knocked out left, right and centre. It was measured at 76 miles per hour (122 kph), faster than the average of top-ranked men's player Andy Murray. She's not afraid of anything.

The Czech tennis star is ranked no.3 at the moment and before the French Open started she felt she did not have any chance to reach the final. "She's a baby, but she's a lovely baby". I just tried to make her move more. She will probably avoid getting into a hitting contest with Ostapenko, a feasible strategy thanks to Bacsinszky's relatively flat, laser-like groundstrokes. She double-faulted on match point to hand Bopanna and Dabrowski the victory. In the eighth game to Svitolina came to serve for the semifinals, but ran into several successful attacks from Halep and lost her serve. "I cry now or later?" I don't know how, but it was really good.

Thursday was also Bacsinszky's birthday, her 28th. She's playing also for being world No. 1.

"After Miami, [Darren] stopped working with me because he was upset about that match. And I didn't realise during the match", admitted the world No4 during her press conference.

The second set was peculiar from Garcia's perspective.

When Ostapenko held for 3-1 in a marathon fourth game of the third, the job was nearly done.

Alas, the second attempt Svitolina was unable to complete this match - Elina made a few unforced errors and could not save his serve. At one point she was forced to lunge forward to strike a backhand and accordingly popped it into the net, her foot positioning all wrong.

"It's probably tough to play my best tennis on this surface", she said, noting her trouble with the footwork that can be tricky and the way clay dulls her risky serve.

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