Bowing out with her head held high



Originally published on 08/06/17 00:00

The No.30 seed gave everything she had against unseeded Latvian Jelena Ostapenko for three scintillating sets, making light of a thigh strain and a jarred knee to push the 20-year-old throughout the 7-6(4) 3-6 6-3 defeat, matching her best Grand Slam run with a second loss in the semi-finals at Roland-Garros.

“I could be only disappointed on one aspect of the match as it's some opportunities I had in the first set,” said Bacsinszky, who like Ostapenko was celebrating her birthday on Thursday. “I created myself some opportunities, but on the other side of the net she was playing quite well, and she was defending very well everything I was proposing.

“But otherwise, I just went for every shot. I never thought it was the end until the last points. And, well, she just went for her shots, maybe had more success on what she was trying.

“She was going for many lines. She did hit many lines – more than I expected, to be honest,” the 28-year-old added with a smile.

Bacsinszky admitted that her 2015 semi-final loss to Serena Williams, where she led by a set before again losing in three, had haunted her for a time. But with a fresh perspective, the Swiss 28-year-old believes the experience has made her a better player.

“When I lost two years ago, I did a lot of thinking. Did I miss a lifetime opportunity? It really affected me, this semi-final. I only tried to take the positive things. But the truth is that I was very disappointed.

“Don't get me wrong. I'm very disappointed today, as well, but I think I'm looking at things from a different perspective. I didn't think I would ever make it back. Today's match shows that it is possible to come back. If you're a true professional, if you work hard, if you put all your efforts, all your time in tennis, it pays off and it can happen again.

So this was my second time. So going forward, I think this can help me build more confidence. It's possible. It's possible to do better. It's possible to go further. It's possible to grow.”

Asked for her three-word mantra for life as a tennis player, 28-year-old Bacsinszky cheated and allowed herself four: “The first word which is coming, to be ‘privileged’. It's a very strong word for me; ‘Limitless,’ like I'm trying every day; and the last is ‘true love’ – true love for Paris, for this tournament, for the French Open, for the clay, for the atmosphere, for the people here – many things.”


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