DAVENPORT BEATS JANKOVIC TO REACH SEMI-FINALS
Friday, September 14, 2007
by Barry Wood
Lindsay Davenport continued to surprise herself as she defeated world number three Jelena Jankovic 6-4 2-6 6-2 on Friday to reach the semi-finals of the Commonwealth Bank Tennis Classic.
Not knowing what to expect after not playing for almost a year, the 31-year old American has now beaten two seeds on her way to the final four. She’s not taking anything for granted, but she must be quietly confident of reaching Sunday’s final, as her next opponent is little-known Italian Sara Errani, who upset seventh seeded Aiko Nakamura of Japan 6-1 6-2.
Probably as a precaution, Davenport withdrew from her doubles semi-final with Daniela Hantuchova, claiming a left forearm strain.
It was a strange match, Lindsay v Jelena. Neither of them played well at the same time. First, Jankovic went up 4-1, but then lost five straight games and the first set. She also lost the first two games of the second set, but then won the next six to take the match into a decider.
By that stage Davenport was looking a little weary, but a quick freshen-up between sets allowed her to come back and compete strongly again. With Lindsay, the serve is always important but, like the rest of the match, it was uneven. She ended with eight aces and seven double-faults.
So what probably tipped the match in her favour was that Jankovic became distracted by a number of disputed calls with the umpire. At one stage, after double-faulting at 2-4 in the third set, she broke her racquet, giving it to a thrilled spectator before continuing with a replacement.
"I should have won in two sets," said Jankovic. "I was up in the first set 4-1, but I felt so flat and didn’t really move and I let that set slip away. I was down 2-0 in the second and Lindsay was playing really well and returning unbelievably and I just couldn’t do anything. Then all of a sudden I got into the match and hitting the ball a lot better and I played aggressive and got the second set. Then in the third I had a lot of break points (actually two)."
"But the umpire, it was just terrible. Especially with Lindsay, the way she serves, every opportunity that you get you have to take it, but the umpire was just doing the opposite. When the ball was in he would call it out. It was just a nightmare. He was just awful."
Jankovic also admitted it had been difficult getting up for tennis in the wonderful surroundings of the Grand Hyatt, Bali after a tough US Open.
"I didn’t practise these days and wasn’t prepared, and coming from the US Open it’s very tough to stay motivated," she said. "But Lindsay played great and she deserved to win and was the one who wanted it more."
"Of course I’d come back here. It’s so beautiful and I’d love to have a vacation here. But it’s very tough to be playing and to focus on the tennis."
Davenport was, of course, delighted with her victory.
"I would never expect to have played anything near how this week has gone and it’s fun to be out there," she said. "I didn’t want to get into long rallies with her. I wanted to keep the points short, even if that meant making errors or being overly aggressive. As the match went on I started to feel I got a little more rhythm, but she’s obviously very quick and moves the ball around."
Daniela Hantuchova needed a great deal of patience dealing with the early efforts of Ayumi Morita, but once the Japanese was broken to go down 4-2 her challenge all but disappeared. She only rescued four points from the next seven games as the second seeded Slovak won the first set and sped to 5-0 in the second on her way to a 6-2 6-1 victory.
She’ll now play Sorana Cirstea, who defeated Edina Gallovits 3-6 6-4 7-6 in an all-Romanian clash.