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Fearful Jankovic slips to San Diego defeat


 

Originally published on: 05/08/10 13:49

After bowing out out of San Diego’s Mercury Insurance Open yesterday, Jelena Jankovic admitted to fears over her fitness ahead of this month’s US Open.

The world No.2, who had retired from both of her last two tournaments – at Wimbledon and the Slovenian Open – with back and ankle injuries, squandered a healthy 4-0 first-set lead to fall to powerful Russian Alisa Kleybanova 7-5 6-2.

And the Serb admitted her limp defeat came from her ‘fear’ of causing a recurrence of the ankle injury that forced her to retire midway through her second round match against 129th-ranked Anastasiya Yakimova in Portoroz.

“I had some fear moving because I was afraid I would twist it again. I’m not confident where I have to move side to side and play an intense match,” said Jankovic. “I didn’t know what to expect from myself today.”

The 25-year-old had a break of just two weeks to recover from the injury between tournaments, and the 2008 US Open finalist was put to the sword by Kleybanova after failing to claim any of her three set points at 5-3 in the first set.

“I think I had lots of chances but with the lack of practice and fitness, I was pretty tired, and it showed tonight,” added Jankovic.

On her part, Kleybanova scored her third win in five meetings with the former world No.1 after mounting a successful comeback.

“I kept trying to find the key to the match and after the first few games I picked up the pace,” said the 21-year-old.

“I figured I would see what happens, and even better if I won the first set. My job today was to play, fight and win.”

Kleybanova was joined in the quarter-finals by Agnieszka Radwanska, after the Pole also beat a former world No.1 – Dinara Safina. It took the fourth seed just 66 minutes to seal victory, but Radwanska had to fend off a late surge from the Russian.

“The match was closer than the score looked. I’m really happy with this win,” said 21-year-old Radwanska, who will face Shahar Peer in the last eight after the Israeli defeated Yaroslava Shvedova 7-5 6-4.

Sam Stosur also booked her place in the quarter-finals with a 6-4 6-4 win over American teenager Melanie Oudin, who wasn’t overly upset with her second round exit.

“Sam is a really tough opponent for me because of her serve, especially her kick serve,” commented the 18-year-old. “She plays with a lot of spin and was hitting the lines with it.

“I thought hardcourt would be my best surface to play her, or grass, but she’s No.5 in the world and I’m still happy with my performance. I was still in there.”

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