Jelena Ostapenko paid special tribute to Serena Williams after beating Venus Williams in Birmingham. In the Birmingham round-of-16, 26-year-old Ostapenko defeated 43-year-old Venus 6-3 5-7 6-3. After the match, world No 17 Ostapenko recalled idolizing Venus’ younger sister growing up. “My idol was always Serena. I was always watching her. The way she was on the court, firing it up and all the emotions. I really love it. I think that’s what makes tennis a great game. I’m a little bit older now but I still have some experience.
I hope I can be an idol for some kids,” Ostapenko said, via The Tennis Letter.
Ostapenko pays tribute to Serena & Venus Williams
Ostapenko also showed massive respect and appreciation for Venus, calling her “a great champion.” “She’s a great champion and that hasn’t gone anywhere.That’s always going to be with her. It’s great to play against players like her. She’s an idol to a lot of people so it was very special. Maybe that’s why I got a little bit tight in the second set,” Ostapenko said. Ostapenko appeared to be heading toward a straight-set win over Venus but then things got complicated for the Latvian.
After winning the first set, Ostapenko also had a 5-3 lead in the second set. Ostapenko then missed out on a match point in the ninth game and also failed to serve out for the match in the 10th game. After failing to close out the match, Ostapenko got broken again in the 11th game as Venus served out for the second set in the 12th game. After stunningly forcing a third set, Venus also started the decided with a 2-0 lead. In the third game, Venus missed out on two game points as Ostapenko managed to break back. That moment probably shifted the momentum to Ostapenko’s way again as the Latvian also broke Venus in the seventh and ninth games to complete a three-set win.