On 8 June 2017, I took the Eurostar to Paris to watch the 2017 French Open Championship. After dropping my bag in the hotel, I headed to Roland Garros to see the ladies semi-final. In the first semi-final, Jelena Osapenko (who I only heard of for the first time two days earlier) prevailed over Timea Bacsinszky. In the following match, Romanian’s Simona Halep overcame number two seed Karolina Plíšková by two sets to one to reach her second French Open final.
The following day was the men’s semi-final and the first match was between Stan Wawrinka and Sir Andy Murray. The match was an epic and after four and a half hours, Murray succumbed to the potent backhand of Wawrinka. In the second semi-final, Rafa Nadal who was gunning for his tenth Roland Garros title overcame the young pretender to his throne, Dominic Thiem in three straight sets.
In the ladies final the underdog Jelena Ostapenko faced the favourite Simona Halep. As the match stated, the crowd rallied behind Simona shouting “Simona Simona Simona” each time she won a point. Simona took the first set 6–4 and was leading 3–0 in the second set. At this point in time, it looked all over for the twenty year old Latvian. Then something strange began to happen. The crowd, which was solidly behind Halep, began to switch side (probably out of pity for Ostapenko) and the rally cry of “Simona Simona Simona” was replaced with “Jelena Jelena Jelena.” From the beginning of the match, Ostapenko adopted a risky strategy of blasting winners from any position. In contrast, Halep adopted a more cautious approach, which served her well for a set, and a half. From 3–0 down in the second set, Ostapenko strategy began to yield dividends and she overcame the deficit to take the second set 6–4. In the third set, Ostapenko was in control and took the set 6–3 to become the first unseeded woman to win the French Open since 1933.
The men’s final between Rafa Nadal and Stan Wawrinka was supposed to be a battle between Nadal’s ferocious forehand and Wawrinka’s deadly backhand. However Wawrinka was no match for Nadal, who won 6–2, 6–3, and 6–1 to achieve the La Decima. With this victory, Nadal becomes the first person to win a specific Grand slam ten times. The Fédération Française de Tennis presented Nadal with a replica of the French Open trophy for him to keep.
It was a memorable tournament for me. With Sister Serena on maternity leave, it was a bit strange watching a tournament without her taking part. Normally when I watch Serena play, I get stressed out, but this time around I watched the matches in a relaxed mood. However, I missed the thrill and excitement of seeing Serena play. I look forward to the return of the Queen next year.
Below are the pictures that I took during my four-day visit to Roland Garros.