Vee has a good feeling about this season
Venus crushes Jankovic in World Team Challenge
by John Weaver 16 minutes ago
HONG KONG (AFP) - Venus Williams crushed world number one Jelena Jankovic in straight sets Thursday, inspiring the Americas to victory over second seeds Europe at Hong Kong's World Team Challenge.
The Wimbledon champion pulled her team level after the Americas lost their opening doubles clash and in Thursday's late evening match Gisela Dulko beat Agnes Szavay 6-4, 6-7 (8-10), 6-3 to take her team through to the gold group final.
In the final, the Americas will face top seeds Russia, who won all three of their matches against Asia-Pacific.
Williams seized control early in her match with Jankovic and never let up, breaking twice in each set for a 6-2, 6-2 win.
The seven-time Grand Slam champion broke the Serbian in the first game of the match, racing into a 4-0 lead, unfurling a series of unanswerable ground strokes.
Williams, who trails Jankovic 4-5 in head-to-heads on the WTA tour, broke again in the third game of the second set and went on to seal the match with the help of another break.
"I had a good start. I think it put some pressure on her. I also wasn't giving her the errors I usually give to her, lots of errors," said Williams, who beat Jankovic in their last meeting at the season-ending WTA Tour Championships.
The world number six said she had a "great feeling" about the upcoming season and was going to use the knowledge she had gleaned from her last two tournaments in 2008, both of which she won.
Williams, looking to win her first Australian Open title, said she was not surprised to be off to such a strong start against a powerful opponent.
"I've always been a good player off the jump. That's always been the way I've played throughout my career," she said.
Jankovic said she had found her first singles match of the season tough.
"It was very hard to get into the match. I felt very slow on the court and didn't really get my rhythm out there," she said.
"But it's the first match of the season so I can't expect myself to play the best tennis, which is normal."
Jankovic is hoping to use the Hong Kong exhibition tournament to sharpen up ahead of a bid to win her first Grand Slam in Australia later this month.
Last year she reached the final of the US Open as well as the semi-finals of the Australian Open and the French Open but she has never won a major.
In the decisive singles clash, Dulko took the first set 6-4 and although she was edged out in a second set tie-break, she held her nerve to take the third 6-3 to seal the win for the Americas.
Jankovic and Michelle Larcher de Brito had beaten Williams and Coco Vandeweghe in a doubles clash on Wednesday to give Europe a 1-0 lead.
The Russian pair of Vera Zvonareva and Alexandra Panova beat Asia-Pacific's Zheng Jie and Zhang Ling 6-2, 6-4 in the doubles to go with the team's two singles wins on Wednesday.
The JB Group Classic World Team Challenge, which runs until January 10, features four three-player teams representing Europe, Russia, the Americas and Asia-Pacific.
Asia-Pacific and Europe will meet in the silver group final.