Jelena Ostapenko swats aside Coco Gauff at Australian Open – ‘If I play well, I can beat almost anyone’

Jelena Ostapenko in action Credit: Alamy
Jelena Ostapenko in action Credit: Alamy

Coco Gauff acknowledged after her match that when Jelena Ostapenko plays really well “there’s nothing you can do” and there is no doubt that the Latvian played really well during their Australian Open fourth-round match on Sunday.

Seventh seed Gauff was the overwhelming favourite ahead of the match as she had won seven matches in a row – which included a title run at the ASB Classic in Auckland – but Ostapenko was simply too good on the day.

“When you play a player like her and she plays really well, it’s like, you know, there’s nothing you can do,” Gauff said after the match.

“I feel like it was rough … So it’s a little bit frustrating on that part.”

Yet it was the American who made the better start as she broke in game three only for the 2017 French Open champion to hit back immediately.

Ostapenko then saved two break points in game five and another three in game seven before getting the crucial break in game 12. A single break in game eight set up the 7-5, 6-3 win.

The result saw the 25-year-old reach the last eight of the Australian Open for the first time while it is also her first Grand Slam quarter-final appearance since 2018.

Having won the French Open as a 19-year-old, Ostapenko is looking for some consistency.

“My life changed a lot [after winning Roland Garros], so I needed a few years to really get used to what happened because I was really young. I was 19 and then turned 20,” she said.

“I always knew and believed in my game. If I play well, I can beat almost anyone. I was trying to work more on my consistency, especially in the preseason. Yeah, just to step on the court and play my game.

“I think I’m doing it quite well this week.”

Up next is Elena Rybakina after the Wimbledon champion upset world No 1 and title favourite Iga Swiatek.

Ostapenko added: “I had to stay positive all the time and I knew I had to play aggressive to beat her. I was trying to step into the court.

“Even if I missed some balls I knew if I did everything right I would put some balls in the court. In the end I kept her under so much pressure and it brought me a win.”

As for her clash against Rybakina, she said: “I think she serves well. It’s most important to play my game again, [play] aggressive and keep her under pressure. We’ll see what happens, I’ll just try to enjoy it as much as possible.”

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