A tale of two Serbs: Ivanovic through, Jankovic out
Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:37
Ana Ivanovic exorcised the demons that seem to have stalked her return to Wimbledon this year with a markedly improved display to beat Sam Stosur 7-5 6-2 and progress to the fourth round.
But compatriot Jelena Jankovic made an ignominious exit from the Championships, beaten 6-7(8) 7-5 6-2 by 17-year-old American qualifier Melanie Oudin on the notorious graveyard of champions, Court 3.
Ivanovic, who last year as the newly-installed world No.1 was unceremoniously dumped out of the competition in the second round by Zheng Jie, had made a shaky start to the tournament, pushed all the way by Lucie Hradecka before finding some late form against Sara Errani.
But victory over Stosur, last month’s surprise Roland Garros semi-finalist, will have done the No.13 seed’s confidence a world of good.
“My tactics and my game plan prevailed over my emotions”
Ivanovic broke the Australian’s serve in the opening game of the match before a brief dip in game eight allowed Stosur to get back on level terms.
But Stosur failed to capitalise on her second chance, serving back-to-back double faults to lose her serve again in game eleven, and Ivanovic closed out the set at the second attempt in a little under 40 minutes.
No.19 seed Stosur again dropped serve in the opening game, and Ivanovic made sure there would be no comeback from the Australian to match her second-round exploits against Tatjana Malek.
A second break opened up a 4-0 lead for the world No.12, and although Stosur held serve twice more the damage was done.
“I think my tactics and my game plan prevailed over my emotions, that’s something I’m really happy about,” said Ivanovic afterwards, admitting that the past year has been hard for her.
“Once I reached No.1 it was like, okay, what’s next? I didn’t know how to deal with it because there is no higher position than the No.1, so obviously it’s going to be setbacks and you’re going to drop your ranking.
“Then some doubt crept in, and that’s something that I didn’t really know how to deal with.
“Now I feel like I’m back to basics and just, you know, working hard again on these things, and trying to feel comfortable out there again. “
Ivanovic will need to feel a little more than comfortable to go further next week – the Serbian now plays defending champion Venus Williams for a spot in the quarter-finals.
But Jelena Jankovic is out before the second week of the Championships for the first time since 2005.
The former world No.1 could not cope with the sweltering mid-afternoon conditions at Wimbledon as the forecasted thunderstorms again failed to materialise.
Jankovic required treatment for heat exhaustion at the end of a first set which she claimed in a tie-break, as the lengthy baseline rallies began taking a greater toll on the Serbian than her young American opponent Oudin.
The world No.124 showed no signs of letting up against the ailing Jankovic, who struggled with her serve throughout, and after a dogged battle to level the match she comfortably closed out the final set.