Jelena Ostapenko, 19, saw off Caroline Wozniacki in France
But it was her experiences as a young dancer that helped the 19-year-old conquer any doubts as despite two rain delays she didn’t put a foot wrong.
She arrived in her post match press conference struggling to suppress giggles, almost as though she could not quite believe her achievement. But Ostapenko is no stranger to the spotlight.
“I was quite young, yes, so for sure it was some good preparation,” she said. “Although I was just doing some Latin championships in ballroom dancing. And I think the courts I play now are much bigger! I really like it because the people were supporting me a lot, and I felt great out there.”
The Latvian started dancing at the age of three and was performing professionally by the age of 10. From then on it was strictly tennis as she focused on her development under her mother’s tutelage, only for Ostapenko to polish up the sequins again three years ago.
“At home I try and go ballroom dancing four times a week. It really helps with the footwork on the court. My favourite dance is the samba.
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“I have the dress, the shoes – everything has to be matching. I go to a club and dance with the teacher there, he’s a professional dancer.”
Clearly, it also has a positive effect on her stamina and concentration, too. Ostapenko won all five games upon the final resumption to complete a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 win against the former world no. 1.
The 2014 junior Wimbledon champion had never previously progressed beyond the second round of a senior grand slam before, so tomorrow’s semi-final against Timea Bacsinszky will be a perfect celebration of her 20th birthday.
However, Ostapenko cannot expect it necessarily to be “her” occasion as the Swiss turns 28 the same day.
“It’s really great to play here when it will be my birthday,” she said. “Playing in a Grand Slam semi-final definitely has to be one the best presents ever.”
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In the end, it proved one teenager too many for Wozniacki, who has had to face no fewer than four opponents this fortnight who were under the age of 20 at the start of the year.
Youthful vigour saw Ostapenko hammer down 38 winners to Wozniacki’s meagre six, and even though the world no. 47 made 50 unforced errors, she held her nerve in the crucial points at the end.
Wozniacki admitted: “She goes for her shots. Her shots are hard to read, so you don't really feel comfortable at any point in the match.
“It's the Grand Slam I probably like the least. But, at the end of the day, I tried my best. Today it wasn't good enough. But now I'm going to try to do better next time.”