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Jelena Ostapenko says Serena Williams was her "idol" growing up, adds it "was very nice and entertaining" to watch the American's matches

Jelena Ostapenko (L) and Serena Williams.
Jelena Ostapenko (L) and Serena Williams.
ANALYST

Jelena Ostapenko continued her impressive run at the 2021 BNP Paribas Open with a hard-fought 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 win over home favorite Shelby Rogers. After the match, Ostapenko spoke about a range of issues, including her admiration for Serena Williams, her own form this season, and her prospects at Indian Wells.

When asked to name one player she enjoyed watching on court, Ostapenko said she loved Serena Williams' aggressive game. The 24-year-old said she idolized the American growing up and watched plenty of her matches.

"Now it's hard to say because I'm playing myself," Ostapenko said in her post-match press conference. "I'm not really watching anyone specific."
"Before, of course, Serena [Williams]," she continued. "I loved the way she played. I mean, she's still playing now. Yeah, she was like my idol I think."
Serena Williams at the 2020 Billie Jean King Cup tie against Latvia.
Serena Williams at the 2020 Billie Jean King Cup tie against Latvia.

Ostapenko further went on to describe Serena Williams as a very entertaining player to watch, adding that the American played with "a lot of emotion."

"[Serena Williams] was the one I was looking up to," Ostapenko added. "She was playing very aggressive. It was very nice and entertaining to watch her. She has, like, a lot of emotions when she plays."

"I think it's another great opportunity because it's a big tournament" - Jelena Ostapenko on Indian Wells title prospects

On a roll 💨@JelenaOstapenk8 is into her third semifinal of the year after stopping Rogers' run at the @BNPPARIBASOPEN! https://t.co/23tFXDmxzS

With her win over Shelby Rogers, Ostapenko advanced to her first-ever semifinal at the BNP Paribas Open. The Latvian will take on former champion Victoria Azarenka for a spot in the final.

The 2017 Roland Garros champion had staged a major upset by taking out second seed Iga Swiatek in the fourth round. She now finds herself just two wins away from her biggest title since lifting her maiden Grand Slam trophy in Paris four years ago.

When asked to describe how she felt about making the semifinals at Indian Wells, Ostapenko said she wanted to "enjoy the moment".

"I mean, it's really great because especially after I couldn't play US Open, I was really sad about it because I was in such a great form before. I think it's another great opportunity because it's a big tournament," Ostapenko said.
Yeah, I just enjoy it. It's last couple of tournaments this season. I'm just going to try to enjoy it as much as possible. But I honestly feel like I can continue the season much longer, but there are not many tournaments left. Most of the players are very tired, but I don't feel like that. I'm kind of feeling very fresh."

The Latvian is anticipating a stern test against Azarenka in the semifinals.

"I mean, she's a great player. She's such a champion, a great fighter I think. Both of us are great fighters. It's going to be an interesting match," Ostapenko added.
"Of course, I just have to play my game. I'm more focused on my game. Of course, she's very consistent. It's going to be hard. But if I play my game and choose the right shots, I will be consistent, I think it will be very interesting match."
Edited by Arvind Sriram
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