Jelena Ostapenko: “I want to show my best level”

It has not been the hardest road, but not the easiest either. Jelena Ostapenko She is back in a WTA final after 20 months (Luxembourg, 2019). He has also achieved it on grass, a surface where he has never gone so far. His victories over Pavlyuchenkova, Jabeur, Kasatkina and Rybakina in the Eastbourne WTA 500 (three players in the top40) have allowed her to reach Saturday alive, where she will look to tip Kontaveit and take the trophy. Before the last dance before Wimbledon, the Latvian explains what her feelings are on grass and how her tennis has matured in this post-pandemic era.

Victory in two sets over Rybakina

“I think the key has been in my rest. I knew she was a great serve player and today, luckily, I was able to counter that shot. He knew that if he blocked his best weapon it would not be so easy to compete. In my case, I was able to subtract very well, serve very well and play aggressive all the time, which led me to constantly move her around the court. As a child I grew up on tracks that were extremely fast, so this has helped me in my career to play well on grass from the beginning. “

First final since Luxembourg 2019

“I am very happy with the way I am playing this week, I feel better every day. It had been a long time since I was in a final, so I am very happy, looking forward to tomorrow’s game. We come from a very complicated situation with the whole COVID issue, many things have changed within the circuit, we are seeing it this season with several new champions. In that sense, I am very proud to have known how to adapt to these new points and to be playing well again ”.

The quarterfinals, the turning point

“The match I had against Kasatkina in the quarterfinals helped me gain consistency, it took a lot of balls to get a winning shot, when I’m usually used to doing it in a couple of shots. The long exchanges have helped me today to be calmer, more confident in continuing to work and in missing very few balls. Yesterday I tried to play my game, but with a little more intelligence, not looking for the winner from the first ball, something that served me this Friday against Rybakina ”.

Great performance on grass

“I am not really surprised by this result, despite the fact that I had not played a match on this surface for two years, since no tournament was played in 2020. But in 2019 I think I did well and in 2018 I had a great experience at Wimbledon, so I already knew that my tennis could work on grass. Obviously, at the beginning of the week I did not expect to reach the final, but I have been playing better and better, each game that I have won has helped me improve. I have carried out great battles and that gives me a lot of confidence, as well as being the ideal preparation before arriving at Wimbledon ”.

Anett Kontaveit, the last hurdle

“It is nice to be both in the final, although we are not from the same country, we are two very close players. I have known Anett since we were juniors, we have played many times, not too many games but in training. I know her very well, she is a very consistent player, her last two seasons have been very good, so tomorrow it will be a difficult game. There will be intense exchanges, I know, but I want to enjoy being in a final again, the grass tour is extremely short and I am looking forward to showing my best level ”.

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