July 9, 2018 / 3:53 PM / 10 months ago

Tennis: Code violation sparks Ostapenko to victory

LONDON (Reuters) - Twelfth seed Jelena Ostapenko recovered from 5-2 down in the first set to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals on Monday, channelling her anger from a disputed code violation to crush Aliaksandra Sasnovich 7-6(4) 6-0.

Tennis - Wimbledon - All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain - July 9, 2018 Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko celebrates during the fourth round match against Belarus' Aliaksandra Sasnovich REUTERS/Tony O'Brien

The Latvian former French Open champion looked in trouble with her Belarusian opponent delivering a superb lob to take her to within a game of the opening set.

However, Ostapenko appeared to be stung into action by a code violation for coaching and reeled off four games to turn the tables.

“Actually, I didn’t even understand for what it was given because I didn’t really hear anybody saying anything. Probably somebody from the crowd said something,” said Ostapenko, at 21 the youngest player in the round of 16.

“But I didn’t hear anyone from my team saying anything. That’s why I spoke to the chair umpire. Actually that code violation made me even more motivated and angry, so I just started to play better.”

Coaching teams are not allowed to talk to their players during matches at Grand Slam tournaments.

Sasnovich, who upset eighth seed Petra Kvitova in the opening round, won one more game to send the set into a tiebreak which she lost 7-4 on a double fault.

“I think the opponent played quite well in the beginning. I couldn’t get used to the rhythm,” Ostapenko said. “But then slowly I ... started to feel my game. I think at the end I finished really confident.

“I think my game suits grass pretty well. I really enjoy time here, just looking forward to my next match.”

Ostapenko, who has yet to drop a set in the tournament, clinched the first set in 56 minutes then took half that time to win the second as Sasnovich’s game deserted her.

Sasnovich, 24, saved four break points in the fourth game of the second set, her last stand, but could not hold.

Ostapenko, who had won their two previous meetings, including the first round at Wimbledon last year, proved too strong in the end and will be favoured to beat Dominika Cibulkova in the next round.

Cibulkova is one of a record nine unseeded players to reach the fourth round since the number of seeds was increased to 32 in 2001. The Slovakian ended Su-Wei Hsieh’s run after the Taiwanese had upset top seed Simona Halep of Romania.

Reporting by Rex Gowar; editing by Clare Lovell and Jon Boyle

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