Ostapenko returns to Wimbledon in week two with a comeback against Begu

No. 12 Jelena Ostapenko confirmed her spot in the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time in four years with a 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 win over Irina-Camelia Begu in the third round of Wimbledon.

The result marks the fourth time the Latvian has reached the fourth round of a Major, three of which have come at SW19. After winning Roland Garros in 2017, she went on to a Wimbledon quarter-final that same year and a semi-final in 2018.

Last year Ostapenko was unable to turn a strong grass form into a deep run at Wimbledon, winning Eastbourne but falling to Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round of the Championships. But the 25-year-old has continued her resurgence in 2022, winning Dubai in February and reaching the Eastbourne final for the second year in a row. After a rocky start, she made her way to storm through the round where she stumbled in 2021.

Ostapenko meets either Maria Sakkari or the mother of two Tatjana Maria in the round of 16.

Game management: Ostapenko’s numbers illustrated both their own streakiness and the limitations of statistics to tell the full story. She landed 57% of her first serves in the first set but got broken twice to lose it. That number plummeted to 27% in the second set, in which she had no break points and lost just three points overall on serve.

The efficiency of Ostapenko’s second serve was the crucial difference. In the first set, she won just three points (20%) behind. In the second she won all but three points behind (73%).

Behind those numbers was her greater focus on the rallies that followed after her second serve and an improved ability to defend on big points. Ostapenko was on the rise in the opener, coming back from an early break, capturing Begu’s serve with four monster returns and going up 3-2. But the Romanian capitalized on a series of loose Ostapenko errors to reel off the next four games for the set.

But in the second set, Ostapenko found scintillating tennis to break Begu three times, each time after a close tackle, and put together a nine-game streak of her own as she brought that form into the deciding set. With a 3-1 lead, Ostapenko passed her first service test since the first set, saving two break points and taking a 4-1 lead.

As she neared the finish line, she found another level and broke Begu 5-1 with her most stunning play of the game. This was sealed with a spectacular forehand pass on the run, one of the 28 error-free winners Ostapenko struck in the course of the match.

Niemeier on the way to the round of 16

Playing her second Grand Slam main draw and first Wimbledon, Jule Niemeier, No. 97, fought her way into the second week of a Major for the first time by defeating Lesia Tsurenko 6-4, 3-6 in 2 hours and 4 6-3 defeated Protocol.

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The result confirmed the Germans’ irritation against Anett Kontaveit, number 2, in the previous round. Niemeier, 22, was consistently the more aggressive player, notching 27 winners versus Tsurenko’s 20.

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2022 Dubai

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