Latvia tennis star Jelena Ostapenko has continued winning silverware in 2024 with a win at the Adelaide WTA 500.
The Adelaide International, as it’s also known, is part of the buildup for the Australian Open. And, as the name suggests, is played in Adelaide, South Australia, at the Memorial Drive Tennis Center. The tournament is held in January or February every year on hard outdoor courts and is also part of the WTA and ATP Tours.
Ostapenko’s victory sees her return to the world’s top 10 for the first time in nearly six years. The Latvian beat Daria Kasatkina this past Saturday to snatch her seventh career title. The win also marked her first WTA championship since Dubai in 2022.
“This is great, I had some really tough matches this week,” she said. “I enjoyed every moment of playing here. I can’t wait to come back, it’s so nice to be in Australia.”
Ostapenko won the first set against her Russian opponent and broke at the beginning of the second set. She had some difficulty finishing things off, needing four match points after 76 minutes.
The 26-year-old, who’s won a title every year since 2021, has extended her streak in 2024, having won the second tourney she’s entered for the year. Ostapenko opened the year with a doubles title win alongside Lyudmyla Kichenok in Brisbane. She also made it to the quarters on her own and seems a great candidate to take a chance on sports betting sites.
Entering the Adelaide international as the No. 6 seed, she had to go through the likes of Sorana Cirstea, Caroline Garcia, Marta Kostyuk, and Ekaterina Alexandrova before playing the unseeded Kasatkina.
The Russian only needed to play two matches as Laura Siegemund and Jessica Pegula withdrew before the quarters and semis, so she had extra rest ahead of her final matchup against Ostapenko, who had a 5-2 advantage in their head-to-head.
The last time they met, Kasatkina won, coming out on top of the third round of the US Open in 2017.
The extra rest did not help the former out all that much as the Latvian got off to a better start and an early break. While Ostapenko lost her lead at the first opportunity, she got herself another one and took control with her serve as she only lost one more point for the remainder of the first set.
Kasatkina didn’t fare any better in the following sets, with Ostapenko experiencing very little difficulty and dictating the pace of the contest as she was able to expertly counter almost every stroke.
“I want to congratulate ‘Alona’ [Ostapenko] on a great week,” Kasatkina said after the match. “I must say that we’ve had our issues with you before, but now I’m really happy we can be on the same stage in a peaceful environment and that’s great.”
The Russian was referring to the current world No. 10’s temperament, which has been a problem during some of her matches.
“In all moments I tried to play aggressive, in deciding moments especially, to put pressure on her,” Ostapenko said. “I have the game to be there [in the Top 10] and I’m playing aggressively, I’m playing more consistently and I’m more mature as a player.
“I’m really, really happy … also a bit tired but it’s worth it.”
Both of the finalists are now preparing for the second round of the Australian Open in Melbourne. Ostapenko progressed with a win over Kimberly Birell while Kasatkina scored a win over Peyton Stearns.
Ostapenko’s win at the Adelaide International has set her up for a great start to the year and she will be looking to continue her winning ways at the Australian Open.
The Latvian has had a strong start to the season with a doubles title win and a singles title win in her first two tournaments of the year. With her recent victory, Ostapenko has shown that she is a force to be reckoned with on the court and a definite contender to win the Australian Open.
Kasatkina, on the other hand, will be disappointed with her loss but will take heart from the fact that she made it to the final and put up a good fight against Ostapenko.
The Russian will be looking to bounce back in the Australian Open and improve on her performance from last year when she was knocked out in the first round. With both players in good form, it promises to be an exciting tournament in Melbourne.