By Mike McIntyre
Photos Jimmie48 Tennis Photography
Jelena Ostapenko turned heads last year when she unexpectedly won the French Open. The 5th ranked Latvian surprised the tennis world again on Sunday but for entirely different reasons. The defending champion was taken out by 66th ranked Kateryna Kozlova - a player who had not won a WTA match since early February.
Kozlova refused to be dragged into the go-for-broke style of play that Ostapenko has become known for and walked away with a 7-5, 6-3 victory - her third in as many meetings with the Ukrainian.
Ostapenko's match stats stood out and for all the wrong reasons. She served at a mere 47%, was broken 7 times by Kozlova and she also threw in 13 double faults.
After the match Ostapenko spoke candidly about the pressure of returning to Paris as the defending champion. A pressure that clearly was too much for her to handle on this occasion.
"I made like 50 unforced errors and so many double faults, and couldn't serve today. Everything together just brought me a really bad result. I had this unbelievable pressure. I felt that I'm not myself today on court."
Aside from the mental pressure of defending her Grand Slam title, Ostapenko also revealed she had not completely healed from an injury she suffered against Maria Sharapova in their marathon quarter-final match at the Italian Open in Rome.
While no longer in action in singles, Ostapenko will try to salvage something of her 2018 French Open experience in doubles alongside partner Elina Vesnina where the duo is seeded 10th. As for singles success, that will now have to wait for the grass court season that begins in two weeks time. Hopefully by then the pressure Ostapenko struggled with today will be a distant memory.