Women's semifinals feature long shots and favorites

Jelena Ostapenko was not supposed to be here. AP Photo/Petr David Josek

One half of the women’s singles draw at the French Open has held to form, whereas the semifinal on the other half of the bracket includes a player who was 100-to-1 to win entering the event.

Unseeded Jelena Ostapenko was given 100-to-1 odds by the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook before the French Open, and she will face Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland, the 30th seed, who was 30-to-1. At 6-1, Ostapenko is the long shot of the four players remaining.

This will be the fifth semifinal match between unseeded women or women with seeds of 30 or lower (Grand Slams increased seeds to 32 in 2001) in the open era. The most recent occurrence came in the 2010 Australian Open, when Justine Henin beat Jie Zheng in straight sets.

Ostapenko, 19, has lost the first set in three of her five matches at this tournament, including in each of the past two. Only two women in the open era have won four matches after dropping the first set in a Grand Slam event: Kimiko Date-Krumm at Wimbledon in 1996 (lost in semifinal) and Serena Williams in the 2015 French Open (won title).

Unseeded women are 4-15 in the French Open semifinal in the open era. None of those four winners went on to win the Final, with all losing to top-three seeds.

Bacsinszky, Ostapenko’s opponent, will be making her second career Grand Slam semifinal appearance (she lost to Serena Williams in the 2015 French Open semifinals). In the open era, the only Swiss woman to make a Grand Slam Final has been Martina Hingis.

On the bottom half of the women’s singles draw, the seeds held, as (2) Karolina Pliskova will take on (3) Simona Halep. Entering the tournament, Halep was a 7-2 favorite, while Pliskova was tied for the fifth-favorite, despite being the 2-seed.

Pliskova is fairly new to playing this deep in Grand Slams. In her first 17 Grand Slams, she never went beyond the third Round. But at last year’s US Open, she lost in the Final, and she made it to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open to start the 2017 Grand Slam season.