Rafael Nadal continued his fantastic form on clay, and Jelena Ostapenko surprised the world at Roland Garos.
This year’s French Open saw Rafael Nadal celebrate his tenth men’s title, while Jelena Ostapenko shocked the world with her first women’s Grand Slam.
Nadal has always been a long-term favourite in Paris thanks to his excellent form on clay, but winning the same event ten times in the Open era is completely unprecedented. The Spaniard beat Stan Wawrinka 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 in style, showing a return to the same form that saw him top the world rankings years ago.
While Nadal’s dominance on clay is well-known, Ostapenko came into the French Open as world number 47 with odds of 100-1, and left as the youngest grand slam champion since 2006.
With world number one Serena Williams now away from tennis as she awaits the birth of her first child, now could be a time for younger players to step up and make an impact. Whether Ostapenko can continue her form remains to be seen, but it’s certainly a fascinating time for the women’s game.
How did Nadal do it?
Despite multiple injuries and worries about his form in recent years, Rafael Nadal has never been beaten in a French Open final and continues to be a master of the clay court.
His powerful serve and monstrous forearm are, at times, unstoppable at Roland Garros and perhaps no other player has enjoyed such dominance over one event.
While some may deem Rafa lucky for not having to face Andy Murray or Novak Djokovic on his way to the title, his outstanding play showed exactly why he remains the man to beat on clay.
Murray is yet to win the tournament and came up short in the semi-final this time, where he was beaten by Wawrinka 7-6, 3-6, 7-5, 6-7, 1-6. Austria’s Dominic Thiem was also defeated in the last four by Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 6-0.
Djokovic, on the other hand, was beaten 7-6, 6-3, 6-0 by Thiem in the quarter finals. Djokovic, Nadal, et al will now be looking towards Wimbledon, where Murray will defend his championship.
Ostapenko’s surprise win
When Serena Williams announced her break from the game, everyone knew it was time for other players to take centre stage and challenge her position as world number one.
However, it’s safe to say few earmarked Jelena Ostapenko as the next French Open champion. The 20-year old played with a drive and determination never seen in her game before, overcoming established names such as Caroline Wozniacki and Simona Halep to claim her first grand slam.
Prior to the tournament, Halep was the firm favourite to win, with Garbine Muguruza and Victoria Azarenka among the others expected to contend for the title.
It is too early to say whether Ostapenko can continue her form at Wimbledon, but at 20-years-old, her future is bright.