LONDON (Reuters) - In the world of tennis, Jelena Ostapenko is the woman of the moment. Since winning the French Open last month, her name is on everybody’s lips.
Her popularity has only increased as she has ploughed through the Wimbledon draw with her high-risk game.
Still, when you are the tournament’s fourth seed, and ranked number five in the world, a loss to the young Latvian can be hard to stomach.
“It will be interesting to see, you know, when she will struggle a bit later in the year and stuff,” Ukrainian Elena Svitolina said after her 6-3 7-6 loss to the rising starlet.
“Because I know her a couple of years already. So I know how she can play. You know, there are some bad times in her game, as well.”
That may be the case - and a statement borne out by the 39 unforced errors Ostapenko sprayed around the court. But they were more than countered by the 42 clean winners, and it is that statistic which has the tennis world licking its lips at her emergence.
Svitolina, who said she was now relishing a return to hardcourt tennis, acknowledged the 20-year-old’s skills.
“Now she played a brilliant game and match. And, yeah, there’s nothing really to say. I did my best. I fought until the end, and those few points that she made the winner (from) like unbelievable angles, you know, there was not much I could do,” the 22-year-old said.
”I didn’t see much of her game, of her matches before, but, yeah, today it seemed a little bit like I was a bit unlucky,“ she smiled. ”Because she hits lots of lines today. I wish I could have had at least one important point.
“Now I‘m looking forward to the hard courts - it is the surface that I feel pretty confident on. So I‘m going to have a few weeks off now, and then slowly prepare.”
Editing by Mark Heinrich