PARIS (Reuters) - Timea Bacsinszky’s party was ruined when fellow birthday girl Jelena Ostapenko beat her in the French Open semi-finals on Thursday but the Swiss appeared to be taking her second failure at that stage in three years in her stride.
Asked if she would still celebrate her 28th birthday, she joked: “Yes. I‘m going to drink some beer, finally.”
Bacsinszky battled back after losing the first set tiebreak but the 30th seed was eventually overwhelmed by her 20-year-old Latvian opponent, who prevailed 7-6(4) 3-6 6-3.
The contest was tight, Ostapenko winning 106 points to Bacsinszky’s 105, but even that did not spoil the mood of the Swiss, who was obviously disappointed but dejected.
“What’s the point difference that we have? But it wasn’t that much. Ah, only one? Ah, bad luck. Okay. It’s a tough one,” she said. “I cry now or later? It actually makes me cry now. Ah, but it’s okay.”
For all her tactical skills, Bacsinszky could not contain Ostapenko, who hit the lines on multiple occasions in an aggressive style reminiscent of Monica Seles.
“I‘m not ashamed to say that she played better,” said Bacsinszky. “She was braver. She had more courage.”
The Latvian is also eight centimetres taller, meaning it was easier for Ostapenko to hit the ball harder.
That did not unduly depress Bacsinszky either.
Asked how she thought she could handle Ostapenko’s power in future, the Swiss joked: “Well, I was thinking about gaining three inches or four inches. No, I‘m just kidding.”
Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris