Ostapenko Leads Quarterfinals Line-Up At Upper Austria Ladies Linz

Jelena Ostapenko (photo: Alexander Scheuber)

LINZ, February 2, 2024 (Press Release)

Top seed Jelena Ostapenko secured her place in the quarterfinals of the Upper Austria Ladies Linz after a real thriller against the young Danish star Clara Tauson. In the third set tie-break, the World No. 12 from Latvia finally converted her third match point just after midnight to win 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (9-7), and let out a loud cry of relief with her fists clenched.

“I wasn’t in my best shape, I only arrived from Australia on Wednesday. But I’m very proud that I fought to the last point,” said the 26-year-old. She shouted “Dankeschön” to the spectators who stayed until the end. The 2019 Linz finalist also raved about the host city: “I had a wonderful morning walk in the city.” Ostapenko likes Linz – and the people of Linz like her.

 Donna Vekic, another crowd favourite, came out on top against the Australian Open semifinalist Dayana Yastremska with a surprisingly clear-cut 6-1, 6-1 win on the action-packed Family Day organised by the Oberösterreichische Versicherung.

The Ukrainian had no chance against Vekic as the jet lag and tiredness after the long flight from Australia took its toll. Speaking after the match, Vekic said: “It wasn’t as easy as the result suggests. There were a lot of very close games.” Last year’s quarterfinalist is now hoping to stay in the tournament until the weekend. Appearing in Upper Austria for the seventh time, the 27-year-old feels a very special connection to the crowd: “There are no more Austrians left in the competition, maybe the fans will adopt me as a local. I always feel very comfortable in Linz, everybody is very friendly her.” Her parents have travelled all the way from Croatia again this year.  Yastremska, who sensationally reached the semifinals as a qualifier in Melbourne, had to be consoled by Tournament Director Sandra Reichel after the match. “I’m pretty drained and tired, I’ve played a lot in the last few weeks. Today, I really had no energy left, I left everything on the court. This year has gone really well for me so far, but now I really need a break,” said the 23-year-old, who will now be travelling home to her family in Odessa.  The new doubles world No. 1, Elise Mertens, who won the final alongside Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei in Melbourne on Sunday, had her tiredness well under control. The Belgian runner-up in Linz in 2020 overwhelmed the Italian Lucia Bronzetti for a 6-1, 6-3 win to secure herself a last eight berth at the Upper Austria Ladies Linz. “I served particularly well in the first set, which made it much easier, I was at the net a lot and played really well. I like the hall, it’s so convenient right next to the hotel,” said Mertens, emphasising the advantages of the venue and promptly retiring for a little afternoon nap. Anastasia Potapova was in a great mood during the morning warm-up, joking with her coach and intermittently stroking her toy poodle, Baby. In the dramatic evening match against Elisabetta Cocciaretto lasting two hours 54 minutes, Potapova appeared to be motivated by her four-legged friend’s tail wagging. The Italian played without respect, hit some incredible balls and took the first set 6-2. Cocciaretto’s energy levels however dropped a little after 90 minutes and Potapova hit back to eventually edge the tie-break 11-9. It was a similar picture in the third with the Italian scuttling around the court fighting for every ball, while Potapova had a battle of words with her coach Igor. The emotions however kept last year’s winner in the match and after staving off two match points, she finally won the third set 7-5.

“It’s simply unbelievable how Elisabetta played. It was amazing! She’ll be in the final here next year,” said Potapova when analysing the marathon match. “I’m really knackered, and my coach is also exhausted,” she said with a wry smile. After the three-set thriller, many spectators were reminded of last year when Potapova battled her way from round to round – and ultimately to claim the title. The quarterfinals are completed by Clara Burel from France, who defeated Katerina Siniakova from the Czech Republic 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.