Rothesay Classic Birmingham 2023: Jelena Ostapenko caps historic week by winning her second career grass court title
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Second seed Jelena Ostapenko ousted top seed Barbora Krejcikova 7-6(8), 6-4 to win her first-ever title in Birmingham, adding title No.6 to her awe-inspiring list of accolades.
Having equalised her competitor’s tally of six titles, the Maud Watson trophy will sit among some of the most elusive trophies on the circuit following her wins at the French Open and the Masters 1000 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
This is Ostapenkos second grass court title on British soil, having won the Rothesay International Eastbourne back in 2021.
Ostapenko sealed her first straight sets win after enduring a marathon draw, dispatching Linda Noskova, superstar Venus Williams, Magdalena Frech, and Anastasia Potapova prior to her career-first final in Birmingham.
“It was a very tough week, and I never have easy draws, so every match was difficult,” Ostapenko said. “Some matches I had to come back from a set down, but I managed to win them and that’s the most important thing.
Speaking on her opponent, Ostapenko added: “She is a great player and congratulations to her and her team on what has been a great week. Hopefully we will play many more finals and I wish you good luck in Eastbourne and Wimbledon.
Both players took no time settling into the match, holding to love in three successive games before Ostapenko earnt her first point on the Krejcikova serve.
The Latvian, ranked 17, forged the first break point of the match six games into the opening set. However, Krejcikova, who broke into the top 10 for a second time in her career after a concrete run of form in Birmingham, diverted any signs of danger before winning two break points of her own.
A total of three break points came and went with little separating the two former Grand Slam champions, each dropping just seven points on serve at 6-5.
As they battled on the baseline with some righteous depth, the two women entered their first tiebreak since their last match up in Rome. Much like their previous encounter, Ostapenko peppered the Czech with her clinical forehand, saving set point and earning four to eventually seal the opener at the fourth time of asking.
Buoyed by her rich vein of form, the world No.17 charged into the second set, consolidating her immediate break with a convincing hold before Krejcikova got a game on the board.
As the world Krejcikova’s double faults tripled in the second, and points won on her second serve dwindled, the world No.10 found herself trailing a double break at 4-1 with her opponent keeping the unforced errors to a minimum.
Despite the top seed threatening her revival after closing the chasm with a solitary break, the now six-time Tour level champion kept her composure as she produced a mighty hold to see out the match in just shy of two hours.
Both finalists will play in the Rothesay International event in Eastbourne this coming week. While Kvitova is set to play Britain’s very own Katie Boulter; this year’s Rothesay Classic champion will go head-to-head with the reigning Rothesay International champion, Petra Kvitova.