Paris — With the unbridled joy of a kid reaching heights she never has, and the go-for-it strokes of someone too bold to know better, an unseeded 19-year-old from Latvia, Jelena Ostapenko, beat former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 at the French Open on a rainy Tuesday to reach her first Grand Slam semifinal.
Ostapenko sent shots toward the lines and put them right where she wanted often enough to deliver 38 winners — 32 more than the defensive-minded Wozniacki, a two-time runner-up at majors.
“I knew,” the 47th-ranked Ostapenko said, “I had to be aggressive all match.”
Ostapenko’s next opponent is 30th-seeded Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland, who eliminated 13th-seeded Kristina Mladenovic of France, 6-4, 6-4.
Both women’s quarterfinals were interrupted twice because of showers; the first delay lasted more than 3 hours, the second about a half-hour. The men’s quarterfinals involving Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic that had been set for Tuesday were postponed until Wednesday.
The last two women’s quarterfinals are also Wednesday: No. 2 Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic vs. No. 28 Caroline Garcia of France, and No. 3 Simona Halep of Romania vs. No. 5 Elina Svitolina of Ukraine. This is the first Grand Slam tournament since the 1979 Australian Open that none of the eight women’s quarterfinalists had won a major title.
When Tuesday’s play began, the wind averaged 18 mph, with gusts up to 50 mph, making balls swerve oddly. Serve tosses were an adventure. Players repeatedly wiped their eyes to get rid of dust kicked up from the clay court. By the final resumption, the temperature was below 55 degrees.
“We had all the seasons rolled into one today. We had a hurricane, a sandstorm, and we almost had snow, too,” Bacsinszky told the crowd at Court Philippe Chatrier.
Ostapenko had the most trouble in those conditions, quickly trailing 5-0. She calibrated her strokes better as time went on and the air swirled less, taking four games in a row to make the first set interesting before ceding it. Still, it was clear she was up to the task against the 11th-seeded Wozniacki, who has been to two U.S. Open finals and yet somehow seemed the less sure of herself.
“Her shots are hard to read,” Wozniacki, 26, said, “so you don’t really feel comfortable at any point in the match.”
Ostapenko’s rise has been swift.
She is the youngest French Open semifinalist in a decade. And she is the first Latvian woman to reach a Grand Slam semifinal in the professional era, which began in 1968.
Now Ostapenko will play for a spot in the final Thursday, which just so happens to be Ostapenko’s 20th birthday and Bacsinszky’s 28th.