Former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia powered past Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina 6-4, 6-1 to enter the Eastbourne International final and set up a clash with Estonian Anett Kontaveit.
Anett advanced after Camila Giorgi of Italy retired due to a left thigh injury trailing 5-4.
Jelena struck 38 winners to 30 unforced errors and finished the match without a single double fault for the first time since winning the 2019 Luxembourg final. The result puts the Latvian world No 43 into her ninth career final, fifth at WTA 500 level or higher, and biggest since Miami 2018.
“I’m really happy with the way I played this week, and every match I played better and better,” said Jelena in her post-match press conference on Friday.
“It’s been a while (since making a) final, so I’m really happy to be in a final.”
The former Roland Garros champion hit nine winners and rattled off the first three games to take a 3-0 double-break lead. But Elena remained calm in the face of the barrage and clung on as Jelena seemed to lose the way. The Kazakh clawed her way back to 3-3 via two marathon breaks.
“Anett, I know since juniors. We have been playing a lot, maybe not so many matches but we practice sometimes together, in juniors, and played even doubles. So I know her quite well. The last couple of years, she’s been playing very well,” said Jelena about her opponent in the final.
“We will have some good rallies, I think. Just looking forward, it’s great to be in the final and just to enjoy it, because as I said, grass court season is very short. So I just want to enjoy it and to show my best.”