Ostapenko finding form, upsets Mertens in Luxembourg

Published by Tennismash

Jelena Ostapenko (Getty Images)
Now being guided by Marion Bartoli, Jelena Ostapenko reaches her second straight quarterfinal after beating No.1 seed Elise Mertens in Luxembourg.

Jelena Ostapenko continued her return to form with an upset win over top seed Elise Mertens on Thursday at the WTA tournament in Luxembourg.

Ostapenko, the French Open champion in 2017, beat the Belgian 4-6 6-2 6-2 to reach just her third quarterfinal of 2019, where she will meet Antonia Lottner.

But it’s her second straight quarterfinal appearance after last week going all the way to the final in Linz, which marked her first WTA final in 18 months.

There she fell to 15-year-old sensation Coco Gauff in a three-set decider.

NEWS: Gauff brought back to earth in Luxembourg

“I don’t feel like I’m still at my best, but it’s much better because I know how I can play. Obviously I won Roland Garros in 2017, so I know I can play at that level,” Ostapenko told wtatennis.com after shrugging off 14 double faults to beat Mertens in two hours.

“But I’m getting there. Slowly, I’m getting there. Of course, I’m in a better shape now and playing better, but I think still there is so much space to improve for me.”

Ostapenko has now won six of her past seven matches. And the week before Linz, she upset No.2 seed Karolina Pliskova in the opening round of the China Open in Beijing for her biggest win of the season.

In early August the Latvian had slipped to world No.83 but as a result of this week’s rain in Luxembourg she is on the verge of returning to the top 60.

She was ranked as high as No.5 in early 2018.

She could have beaten Mertens even more handily; she stormed to a 4-1 lead in the first set only to drop five straight games.

Yet with her serving troubles largely behind her after that first set — 10 of her 14 double faults came in the first stanza — she dropped just four more games for the rest of the match.

Now in Ostapenko’s corner is Marion Bartoli, the retired French champion who won Wimbledon in 2013.

The pair begun working together in Linz and the results were immediate.

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