LONDON (Reuters) - When Jelena Ostapenko travelled home to Latvia following her bolt-from-the-blue triumph at the French Open, she was flying high after being invited to sit in the cockpit with the captain for the journey.
On Monday, her feet initially barely touched the ground as she soared past Belarussian Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the opening set but eventually had to settle for a topsy-turvy 6-0 1-6 6-3 first round win to equal her best showing at Wimbledon.
The 20-year-old’s match against the 89th-ranked Sasnovich was switched from Court Three to 18 at short notice after Local hope Aljaz Bedene and Ivo Karlovic’s marathon tussle stretched into a fifth set.
The change of venue did little to unsettle the 13th seed as she walloped Sasnovich in 23 blinding minutes to take the opening set.
But Ostapenko, the 2014 junior champion at the All England Club, began misfiring her fast-and-furious groundstrokes and it was Sasnovich’s turn to run away with the second set.
With the light fading fast and the scoreboard glowing bright yellow in the gathering gloom, Ostapenko appeared to be in a rush to finish off proceedings.
That ploy initially backfired as she was broken at 5-2 but she made no mistake two games later, firing an unreturnable serve on her fourth match point with her day-glo green racket.
Reporting by Pritha Sarkar, Editing by Ken Ferris