The 2017 French Open champion, Jelena Ostapenko kick-started the KEB Hana Bank Korea Open positively. She ignited the flame of tennis in her domicile, Latvia and made the sport eminent in her native land. Also, Ostapenko shares the statistics of the growing popularity of tennis with Hyeon Chung ’s records in Korea. “It’s really nice to see that so many kids are coming to tennis clubs for practice – now almost all tennis clubs are full of kids, I see this change when people are more into tennis and I think that’s really great for tennis in Latvia,” said Ostapenko. She looks forward to the Fed Cup campaign alongside Anastasija Sevastova which will take place in February 2019.
The 2017 Korea Open champion, Ostapenko wrapped up a 6-3, 6-3 victory against Lara Arruabarrena in one hour and 14 minutes. She was showering winners and broke her opponent five times in the match. “Today was a good match for me, especially for the first round because first rounds are always tough”. Ostapenko mentioned after winning the match. The 21-year-old Latvian, plays extremely aggressive. Her aggression drew some attention due to Arruabarrena’s consistency and precision. From a very young age, the top-seed smacked the ball very hard. “If you have a chance, be aggressive,” she said. “When you win points by yourself it always brings you good results – but you also have to be very consistent, you don’t have to go crazy for every shot!” The Latvian comitted 29 unforced errors, 21 more than Arruabarrena. However, she balanced it out with 32 winners on the spaniard’s court.
Ostapenko blends a tender relation with Korea. “I was really happy that so many people came,” she said. “Especially here in Korea, I have great memories from last year – the fans support me a lot so I felt really good out there today.” She will next play against Ekaterina Alexandrova in the second round.