SEOUL, Sept. 20 (Yonhap) — Top seed Jelena Ostapenko advanced to the round of 16 at the WTA Hana Bank Korea Open on Tuesday, surviving a scare against a South Korean teenager, to inch toward her second career title in Seoul.
Ostapenko, world No. 19, defeated Jeong Bo-young of South Korea in three sets, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7-2) on the center court at Olympic Park Tennis Center.
Jeong, a 19-year-old ranked 688th in the world, gave Ostapenko all she could handle, and came within a game of pulling off the biggest upset of the tournament on Day 2. Jeong was a wild card entry into the only WTA tournament in South Korea.
Ostapenko fended off an early push by Jeong to win the first set 6-4. Then with the game score tied at 3-3 in the second set, Jeong broke Ostapenko to take a 4-3 lead, taking advantage of the Latvian’s unforced errors.
Jeong then survived two break points in the next game to open up a 5-3 lead, and claimed another game to take the second set 6-3.
Ostapenko regrouped and broke Jeong to open the third set thanks to some powerful backhand strokes, and held her serve to go up 2-0.
Jeong, though, wouldn’t go down without a fight, as she won the next three games for a 3-2 lead.
Ostapenko drew even again and then broke Jeong to reclaim her lead at 4-3.
Ostapenko then held her serve to move within a game of winning the match, though Jeong won the next game to stay alive,
Serving for the match, Ostapenko had two double faults and got broken without winning a point.
Jeong then claimed the next game to push Ostapenko to the brink, but Ostapenko held her serve to send the match to a tiebreak.
Ostapenko kicked into another gear in the do-or-die tiebreak, as she won three straight points early and finished off Jeong by forcing an errant return for the match point.
Ostapenko won the 2017 Korea Open, weeks after capturing her first Grand Slam singles title at the French Open. Ostapenko quickly became a fan favorite in Seoul, and played at the next two Korea Opens, too.
The tournament was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the 2021 competition was downgraded to a second-tier, WTA 125 event, before returning this year as a WTA 250 tournament.