Jelena Ostapenko said a more aggressive style of play helped her beat the in-form Johanna Konta and progress through to the quarter-finals of the Birmingham Classic.
The former French Open champion won in straight sets 6-3 6-4 to beat the British number one and continue her recent revival. The Latvian was as high as number five in the world in 2018 but has fallen to her current 37 having lost in the first rounds at both the Australian and the French Open so far this year.
However she was a semi-finalist at Wimbledon last year and is warming up well on grass in time for this year’s tournament, reaching the last eight in Birmingham where she will play the Croatia’s Petra Martic.
Ostapenko said afterwards that playing an aggressive game gave her the edge, saying: “It was a good match from my side. I had nothing to lose because Jo is in great form right now and she made the semis at the French Open.
“She is a very good player on grass. So I came into the match without any expectations, but I tried to play my game and be more aggressive.
“I think that helped me to win today to be more aggressive, so I didn’t really give her time to play her game.”
The win over Konta was completed in 79 minutes, Ostapenko winning the first three games to take control. Just the one break of serve was enough to clinch the set. She took a 3-1 lead in the second, and, though Konta broke back, the British player’s serve was broken once more to give the Latvian the advantage and the victory which takes her through to the last eight.
Ostapenko is priced at 8.00 to win the Birmingham Classic with Ashleigh Barty 3.30 and Naomi Osaka 4.33.