Doha contender: Jelena Jankovic
Originally published on: 22/10/10 17:11
Birthplace: Belgrade, Serbia
WTA ranking: No.7
Season best: Winner – Indian Wells Runner-Up – Rome
Season win/loss record: 38 – 19
Prize money (2010): $1,723,726
Record vs. top eight: Caroline Wozniacki 4-0; Vera Zvonareva 6-6; Kim Clijsters 1-6; Francesca Schiavone 3-1; Sam Stosur 3-2; Elena Dementieva 7-3; Victoria Azarenka 3-2
2010 Grand Slam record: Australian Open R32; Roland Garros SF; Wimbledon R16; US Open R32
WTA Championship best: Making fourth appearance; semi finalist in 2008 and 2009
Season review: It’s been a real up and down year for the former world No.1, who claimed the Indian Wells title and managed an impressive clay season, before tailing off after her fourth round exit at Wimbledon.
Jankovic kicked off the year tentatively, failing to make the second week of the Australian Open after being handily beaten by 31st seed Alona Bondarenko.
Though she failed to find much in the way of form until Indian Wells, Jankovic strung together some of the best performances of her career in the Californian desert, where she defeated Caroline Wozniacki 6-2 6-4 in the final. She followed with a quarter-final run on the Charleston clay and on her return to Europe continued to stack up wins on the red stuff. She reached the quarters in Stuttgart before securing back-to-back wins over the Williams sisters to reach the final in Rome. Jankovic then primed herself for Roland Garros with a quarter-final showing in Madrid.
Having reached the last four of the French Open twice before, the 25-year-old defeated Bondarenko, Daniela Hantuchova and Yaroslava Shvedova to do so for a third time. But just like 2007 and 2008, that final step proved too much for the Serb as she lost 6-1, 6-2 to the in-form Sam Stosur.
On to the next slam, and Jankovic initially adapted well to Wimbledon’s zippy turf, taking down Britain’s Laura Robson in straight sets in the first round. A three-set battle with Aleksandra Wozniak followed, before she crushed Bondarenko 6-0 6-3. The Serb faced eventual finalist Vera Zvonareva in the last 16 and after losing the first set 6-1, retired with a back injury.
Though forced to retire from her very next tournament in Portoroz, Jankovic was back for the American hard court summer spell, but failed to replicate the Spring form that saw her take the title in the Californian desert. Early losses in San Diego, Cincinnati and Montreal didn’t bode well for the final slam of the year, and her eventual third round exit at Flushing Meadows wasn’t much of a shock.
The fourth seed made the final of the US Open in 2008, but struggled to deal with strong winds in her third round clash, losing 6-2 7-6(1) to Kaia Kanepi.
The Estonian inflicted more misery on the Serb by knocking her out in Tokyo, before Jankovic followed up with a second round exit to world No.93 Bojana Jovanovski in Beijing and then lost in the first round of the Kremlin Cup.
Last year’s WTA Championships: Unlike this year, the Serb was in great shape coming in to the 2009 championships.
However, things didn’t get off to the best of starts as she lost to debutant Victoria Azarenka in the opening round robin match. She upped her game against Caroline Wozniacki to secure an impressive 6-2 6-2 victory, and luck was on her side in the deciding tie against Dinara Safina after the Russian withdrew early on, seeing her through to the semi-final.
Jankovic then faced Venus Williams, who she had lost to at the same point the year before, and like 2008 the Serb lost in three sets.
Chances: A consistent performer at the end-of-year championships with two semi-final appearances to her name, Jankovic will have to up her game considerably if she is to do so again this year.