Jeļena Ostapenko (born 8 June 1997), also known as Aļona Ostapenko, is a Latvian professional tennis player. She has career-high WTA rankings of world No. 5 in singles, achieved on 19 March 2018, and world No. 17 in doubles, reached on 2 March 2020.
|Born||8 June 1997|
|Height||1.77 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|Turned pro||23 April 2012|
|Plays||Right-handed (two-handed backhand)|
|Coach||Thomas Högstedt |
Jeļena Jakovļeva (her mother)
|Prize money||US$ 9,727,821|
|Career record||265–164 (61.8%)|
|Highest ranking||No. 5 (19 March 2018)|
|Current ranking||No. 30 (18 October 2021)|
|Grand Slam Singles results|
|Australian Open||3R (2017, 2018, 2022)|
|French Open||W (2017)|
|US Open||3R (2017, 2018, 2019)|
|Tour Finals||RR (2017)|
|Career record||140–106 (56.9%)|
|Highest ranking||No. 17 (2 March 2020)|
|Current ranking||No. 31 (18 October 2021)|
|Grand Slam Doubles results|
|Australian Open||QF (2020)|
|French Open||QF (2019)|
|Wimbledon||3R (2016, 2018)|
|US Open||QF (2019)|
|Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results|
|Australian Open||2R (2020)|
|French Open||1R (2017)|
|US Open||2R (2017)|
|Fed Cup||31–17 (64.6%)|
|Last updated on: 30 August 2021.|
Ostapenko won the 2017 French Open singles title, becoming the first player from Latvia to win a Grand Slam tournament and the first unseeded player to win the French Open since 1933. In addition to her singles career, she has played as a member of the Latvia Fed Cup team. She has won seven singles and eight doubles titles on the ITF Women's Circuit, and she also won the junior singles event at the 2014 Wimbledon Championships. Ostapenko is known for her highly aggressive playing style, including powerful inside-out groundstrokes and a tendency to aim for the lines.
Ostapenko was born in Riga to former footballer Jevgēnijs Ostapenko (d. 2020) and Jeļena Jakovļeva. Jevgēnijs played professional football for FC Metalurh Zaporizhya in the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhia where Jeļena's grandmother lives. Jeļena has one half-brother, Maksim, who lives in the United States. She was introduced to tennis at age five by her mother and idolized Serena Williams while growing up. She also started dancing around that age, going on to compete in the National Latvian Championships for Ballroom Dancing. At the age of 12 she chose to focus on tennis, but she credits her good coordination and skilled footwork to her years of dancing. She speaks Latvian, Russian, and English.
Her legal name is Jeļena, but she is known to her family and friends as Aļona. When she was born, her parents' desired name of Aļona was not on the Latvian name calendar, so she was named Jeļena after her mother. Latvian authorities have now clarified, though, that there have been no restrictions in place that would not allow to register the desired name and most likely there has been some misunderstanding. Fans in Latvia and elsewhere in Eastern Europe had always called her Aļona, but the name was unknown in the West until her win at Roland Garros in 2017. She uses her legal name professionally in order to avoid administrative confusion.
2014: Wimbledon junior champion and pro debutEdit
Ostapenko won the singles event at the junior Wimbledon Championships and was ranked the No. 2 junior tennis player in the world in September 2014. She made her WTA Tour main-draw debut at the Tashkent Open, having been awarded a wildcard.
2015: Grand Slam main-draw debutEdit
At the Ladies Neva Cup, Ostapenko went through qualifying and won the biggest title up to then.
At Wimbledon, Ostapenko defeated the ninth-seeded Carla Suárez Navarro in straight sets (dropping only two games in the match and grabbing her first win over a top-ten player) in the first round before losing to Kristina Mladenovic.
She ended the season as the world No. 79.
2016: First Premier-5 final, Wimbledon mixed-doubles semifinalistEdit
She reached the final of the Qatar Open, a Premier 5 tournament in Doha, beating world No. 8, Petra Kvitová on the way. She was beaten by Carla Suárez Navarro in the final, but she rose to No. 41 in the world rankings.
At the Aegon Classic, she beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in straight sets during the first round, and she defeated two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitová in the second. She was defeated by Madison Keys in the quarterfinals. She reached the semifinals of the mixed doubles at Wimbledon with Oliver Marach, but they fell to the eventual champions Heather Watson and Henri Kontinen.
2017: French Open champion, top-10 debutEdit
At the French Open, Ostapenko, then ranked 47th in the world, defeated Louisa Chirico, Monica Puig, Lesia Tsurenko, and Samantha Stosur. She then faced Caroline Wozniacki in the quarterfinals. Ostapenko came from a set down to defeat her, reaching her first Grand Slam semifinal. She was the first Latvian female player to do so and first teenager in a decade to reach the French Open semifinals (the last was Ana Ivanovic in 2007), opposite Timea Bacsinszky on 8 June, the birthday of both players. She beat Bacsinszky in three sets to reach the final, being the first unseeded female player to play in the final of the French Open since Mima Jaušovec in 1983 and the first Latvian player to reach the final of a major. In the final against third-seeded Simona Halep, Ostapenko came back from being down a set and 3–0 to win her first professional title. She became the first Latvian player to win a Grand Slam singles tournament and the first unseeded woman to win the French Open since 1933. Ostapenko also became the first player since Gustavo Kuerten to win his or her first career title at a Grand Slam tournament; coincidentally Kuerten won his first title at the 1997 French Open on the day Ostapenko was born. With the win, she reached a new career-high ranking of world No. 12.
At Wimbledon, Ostapenko beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich, Françoise Abanda, Camila Giorgi, and fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina en route to her second Grand Slam quarterfinal. She lost to five-time champion Venus Williams.
Then, at the US Open, she reached the third round by defeating Lara Arruabarrena and Sorana Cîrstea, before losing to Daria Kasatkina. Her performance was enough for her to make her top-ten debut in the world rankings, at No. 10.
At the end of September, she won her second WTA title at the Korea Open in Seoul. In the Wuhan Open, she beat Barbora Strýcová and Monica Puig to reach the quarterfinals, where she scored her first win over a reigning WTA number one, Garbiñe Muguruza, extending her winning streak to eight in a row. She lost to Ashleigh Barty in the semifinal.
In October, she reached the semifinals of the China Open, losing to Simona Halep. At the WTA Finals, she scored a win over Karolína Plíšková but lost to Muguruza and Venus Williams. She ended her 2017 season ranked No. 7 in the world.
2018: Top-5 entrance, Wimbledon semi-final, French Open first round lossEdit
She then played at the Miami Open, where she defeated the ninth-seeded Petra Kvitová in the fourth round and fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina in the quarterfinals, 7–6, 7–6. In the semifinal, Ostapenko defeated qualifier Danielle Collins to reach the final, in which she lost to 12th-seeded Sloane Stephens.
Ostapenko entered the French Open as the fifth seed, but failed to defend her title, losing in the first round to Kateryna Kozlova. Following the loss, she left the top ten for the first time since entering. At Wimbledon she beat Katy Dunne, Kirsten Flipkens, Vitalia Diatchenko and Aliaksandra Sasnovich to reach the quarterfinals for a second successive year, then beat Dominika Cibulková to reach her first Wimbledon semifinal, in which she lost to eventual winner Angelique Kerber. The rest of the season was largely disappointing, as a left wrist injury caused her to withdraw from the WTA Elite Trophy, and she ended the season ranked No. 22.
2019: Loss of form, fall through the rankings, doubles success, late season resurgence, return to top 50Edit
Ostapenko's first tournament of the year was the Shenzhen Open where she lost in the first round to Monica Niculescu. She went on to play at the Sydney International, where she lost to Ash Barty in the first round. At the Australian Open, Ostapenko was seeded 22nd and lost to Maria Sakkari, again in the first round. One commentator identified her tendency to hit a relatively high number of double faults, and frequent coaching changes, as contributing to her lack of success in 2019. At the French Open, she lost to Victoria Azarenka in the first round, but reached the quarterfinals of the doubles event with Lyudmyla Kichenok, falling to Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka.
At Jūrmala, Ostapenko was defeated in the first round by Bernarda Pera, but she reached the final of the doubles alongside Galina Voskoboeva; the pair lost to Sharon Fichman and Nina Stojanović. At Toronto, Ostapeonko defeated Caroline Garcia and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to reach the third round, before losing to qualifier Marie Bouzková; in doubles, she and partner Lyudmyla Kichenok lost in the first round to Julia Görges and Karolína Plíšková. At Cincinnati, she was defeated in the first round of the singles tournament by Yulia Putintseva, and, partnering with Kichenok once again in the doubles, defeated Raquel Atawo and Han Xinyun in the first round, before falling to Lucie Hradecká and Andreja Klepač, the eventual champions. Finally, she had some success at the US Open where she beat Aleksandra Krunic and 2019 Wimbledon quarterfinalist Alison Riske, in straight sets, to reach her first Grand Slam third round of the season where she faced wildcard Kristie Ahn to whom she lost in straight sets. In doubles, she and Kichenok were defeated in the first round by Caroline Dolehide and Vania King.
At Zhengzhou, she defeated You Xiaodi in the first round, before falling to Aryna Sabalenka. At Seoul, she lost to Tímea Babos in the first round, and also lost in the first round of the doubles tournament where, partnering with Kirsten Flipkens, she fell to Hayley Carter and Luisa Stefani. At Tashkent, she retired in the first round against Katarina Zavatska. At Beijing, she upset the second seed Plíšková in the first round, before falling to Kateřina Siniaková in the second. However, she went on to reach the biggest women's doubles final of her career at Beijing, partnering with Dayana Yastremska; they lost to Sofia Kenin and Bethanie Mattek-Sands. At Linz, Ostapenko defeated Tamara Korpatsch, Alizé Cornet, and Elena Rybakina en route to reach her first semifinal appearance since 2018 Wimbledon. In the semifinal, she came from a set and a break deficit to defeat Ekaterina Alexandrova in three tight sets. In her first final since Miami 2018, Ostapenko faced Coco Gauff, to whom she fell in three sets. At Linz, Ostapenko announced that she had hired fellow Grand Slam champion Marion Bartoli to her coaching team.
At Luxembourg, Ostapenko defeated Caty McNally in the first round, and then defeated top-seeded Elise Mertens in the second round. She then defeated Antonia Lottner and Anna Blinkova to reach the final, where she defeated defending champion Julia Görges in straight sets, to win her first title since Seoul in 2017.
2020–2021: First WTA 500 title, doubles successEdit
Ostapenko withdrew from the 2020 Auckland Open following the death of her father. At the Australian Open, she defeated Liudmila Samsonova in the first round, before falling to Belinda Bencic in the second round. In doubles, she partnered Gabriela Dabrowski and reached the quarterfinals, and in mixed doubles, she partnered Leander Paes and lost in the second round to finalists Mattek-Sands and Jamie Murray.
After participating in the 2020-21 Billie Jean King Cup, where she lost to Serena Williams, but defeated Sofia Kenin before losing in the deciding doubles rubber to Kenin and Mattek-Sands, Ostapenko played at St. Petersburg, where she lost to Alizé Cornet in the first round whilst struggling with illness and jet lag.
In May 2021, Ostapenko reached the semifinals in doubles at the Madrid Open with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova defeating en route the top seeded pair and world No.1 and No. 3, Hsieh Su-wei and Elise Mertens. Next she reached the quarterfinals of a WTA 1000 tournament at the Italian Open, her first since 2018, by defeating Angelique Kerber. She had match points against Karolína Plíšková, but lost in a third set tiebreak. In the last tournament of the month, Ostapenko played Sofia Kenin in the first round of the French Open, but crashed out of the first round after losing in three sets.
Ostapenko won her fourth title as a wildcard at the Eastbourne International, defeating Anett Kontaveit in straight sets in the final. She became only the third wildcard to win the title, following Monica Seles in 1996 and Julie Halard-Decugis in 2000. 
At the 2020 Summer Olympics, Ostapenko was a flagbearer for Latvia alongside basketball player Agnis Čavars and entered the singles and doubles tournaments at the Games. Ostapenko was defeated in the first round in the singles tournament after losing to Elena Vesnina in three sets. She and her partner Anastasija Sevastova also lost in the first round of the doubles tournament to Australia's Samantha Stosur and Ellen Perez.
For the beginning of the US Open Series, Ostapenko attended the Canadian Open unseeded and played against unseeded Kateřina Siniaková in the first round, but lost in straight sets. At the Cincinnati Open, also unseeded, she defeated Tamara Zidanšek in the first round and 13th seed Jennifer Brady (by retirement) in the second before losing to Angelique Kerber in the third. Ostapenko ended the year winning the doubles title alongside Katerina Siniakova in Moscow.
Ostapenko is an all-court player, with a highly aggressive playing style. In a 2017 article, Steve Tignor of Tennis.com described Ostapenko's mentality as "See ball, hit winner." Eurosport labeled her style as "risky, aggressive, fun tennis".
Her forehand and backhand are both hit flat, with relentless power and depth. In a 2016 interview, Crosscourt View labeled Ostapenko's backhand her "strongest weapon"; the same year, Hartford Courant stated that she "hits a lot of forehand winners". Due to her aggressive playing style, she accumulates significant numbers of both winners and unforced errors. She aims to finish points quickly, either with powerful groundstrokes or deft volleys. Ostapenko moves opponents around the court by aiming long strokes at corners and lines, and then changes direction to hit powerful winners. After putting an opponent in a vulnerable position, she regularly seeks to end the point with a cross-court forehand, a down-the-line backhand, a swinging volley, or a drop shot. Before her participation in the 2017 Charleston Open final, an article on the event's website declared that what was "most impressive about Ostapenko is her willingness to strike big to all corners of the court, be it a cross-court laser or a bold down-the-line winner." One of her major weaknesses is a high error rate due to her high-risk approach. At the 2017 French Open, where Ostapenko won her first professional title, she regularly hit between 35 and 45 winners throughout her matches. Following her quarterfinal performance, she attracted multiple comparisons to Monica Seles. Ostapenko said in an interview at the event that "aggressive is my style of game". After the final match of that French Open, analysts highlighted the differences between her performance and opponent Simona Halep's performance: Ostapenko had 54 winners and 54 unforced errors, while Halep had eight winners and ten unforced errors. ESPN's Simon Cambers wrote "Fear just does not seem to come into [Ostapenko's] vocabulary... Her groundstrokes are simply massive, flat swipes of the ball that left Halep... grasping at shadows."
The major weakness in Ostapenko's game is her serve, which is highly inconsistent. Her first serve is powerful, being typically recorded at 106 mph (170 km/h), and peaking at 112 mph (180 km/h), allowing her to serve aces, whilst her second serve is inconsistent. Her second serve is hampered by nerves, and a frequently wayward ball toss, meaning that she double faults frequently. In 2017 and 2019, she was the WTA Tour leader in double faults, hitting 436 double faults in 2019. She also frequently has one of the lowest first serve percentages on the entire tour; in her first-round match at the 2019 China Open against Karolína Plíšková, she served 25 double faults, and had a first-serve percentage of 49%, whilst still winning the match. However, after partnering with Marion Bartoli at Linz, her serve began to show some improvement, and in the final against Julia Görges at Luxembourg, she did not double fault once.
Ostapenko has been noted for her tenacity, determination, and competitive spirit, and is a formidable competitor.
Ostapenko is coached by her mother, with her father serving as a fitness trainer. In 2017, she also trained with two-time French Open doubles champion Anabel Medina Garrigues. She parted company with Medina Garrigues at the end of 2017, taking on David Taylor – former coach of Sam Stosur and Ana Ivanovic – to coach her for the majors, with her mother remaining as her full-time coach. In October 2019, Ostapenko partnered with 2013 Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli on a trial basis; their partnership resulted in Ostapenko reaching two finals in two weeks, and winning the title in Luxembourg. Bartoli announced that their partnership would continue into 2020, and that she would be Ostapenko's full time coach throughout the year. After a poor start to the 2020 season, and Bartoli's pregnancy, Ostapenko ended their partnership during the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and began to be coached on a trial basis by Thomas Högstedt, the former coach of Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep. This partnership was not extended into 2021, and Bartoli began coaching Ostapenko once again in February 2021, following the birth of her daughter, at Doha.
Between 2016 and 2019, Ostapenko held the remarkable distinction of being the only player in recorded tennis history to have won a Grand Slam title (2017 French Open), and lost in the first round the three other times she had competed at the same tournament (2016 to Naomi Osaka, 2018 to Kateryna Kozlova, and 2019 to Victoria Azarenka). This run ended in 2020, as she advanced to the second round after beating Madison Brengle.
Grand Slam singles performance timelineEdit
|Australian Open||A||1R||3R||3R||1R||2R||1R||0 / 6||5–6||45%|
|French Open||Q1||1R||W||1R||1R||3R||1R||1 / 6||9–5||64%|
|Wimbledon||2R||1R||QF||SF||1R||NH||3R||0 / 6||12–6||67%|
|US Open||2R||1R||3R||3R||3R||A||A||0 / 5||7–5||58%|
|Win–Loss||2–2||0–4||15–3||9–4||2–4||3–2||2–3||1 / 23||33–22||60%|
Grand Slam tournament finalsEdit
Singles: 1 (1 title)Edit
|Win||2017||French Open||Clay||Simona Halep||4–6, 6–4, 6–3|
Mixed doubles: 1 (runner–up)Edit
|Loss||2019||Wimbledon||Grass||Robert Lindstedt|| Latisha Chan
|2014||Latvian Sports Rising Star of the Year|
|2016||WTA Tour Breakthrough of the Month (February)|
|2017||WTA Tour Breakthrough of the Month (May)|
|2017||WTA Tour Most Improved Player of the Year|
|2017||Latvian Sportswoman of the Year|
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jeļena Ostapenko.|
- Jeļena Ostapenko at IMDb
- Jeļena Ostapenko at the Women's Tennis Association
- Jeļena Ostapenko at the International Tennis Federation
- Jeļena Ostapenko at the Billie Jean King Cup
- Jeļena Ostapenko at the Latvijas Olimpiskā Komiteja (in Latvian)
- Jeļena Ostapenko at the International Olympic Committee
- Jeļena Ostapenko at Olympics at Sports-Reference.com (archived)