Martinez Sanchez shocks Jankovic in Rome


Originally published on: 10/05/10 12:26

Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez defied the odds to beat Jelena Jankovic 7-6(5) 7-5 and clinch the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome this weekend.

And though she squandered healthy leads in both sets against the world No.4, the Spaniard called on the full range of shots in her vintage repertoire to capture the biggest title of her career.

“This is a very important moment. I worked so hard to get here, and even if this goes down in history, it hasn’t sunken in yet,” Martínez Sánchez admitted after taking out the in-form Serb – who triumphed in Indian Wells in March – in straight sets.

“The key is to fight, fight, fight to the end. You don’t have to set a limit for yourself,” Martinez Sanchez claimed as the reason for her triumph.

That determination served her well in the final, surviving two mini-revivals from Jankovic as the Serb rallied back from 5-2 and 5-3 deficits in each set, but the world No.19 prevailed with her net rushing tactics.

“María José is very different from most girls,” Jankovic noted in reference to the Spaniard’s unusual playing style.

“She makes a lot of drop shots and volleys, and she’s also left-handed, which makes it a little bit tricky to play her.”

Agreeing with the Serb’s assessment of her style, Martinez Sanchez admitted that she has a different approach to the game than most.

“My game isn’t typical, not even to the other Spanish players, but that’s the key. I like doing a lot of different things, coming to the net, playing drop shots,” she said. “When I was seven or eight I always hit the ball then went straight into the net.”

Jankovic, who had out rallied both Venus and Serena Williams on the way to her second final of the year, had been expected to cruise past the Spaniard in their third career meeting, but failed to master the tricky 27-year-old.

“I tried my best. I came back in both sets and at those times I prayed to hold my serve. I didn’t manage it today. She won and credit to her.”


Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.