Jankovic closes in on WTA top spot
The East West Classic title will send J.J. past Ivanovic at the top of the rankings - but first she must face Dinara Safina...
East West Classic top seed Jelena Jankovic is through to the semi-finals with an impressive 7-5 6-4 win over Nadia Petrova.
Jankovic came back from behind in both sets to defeat the Russian in the Los Angeles tournament and maintain her bid to leapfrog compatriot Ana Ivanovic in the rankings and become world No.1.
Petrova tossed her racket angrily into her chair after missing an simple forehand volley to lose the first set, and let a 3-1 lead slip in the second before being broken again to lose the match.
But the Russian paid tribute to Jankovic, playing her first tournament since injuring her knee at Wimbledon last month. “She’s really improved over the past year, she’s not just running on the baseline anymore. She’s serving better and taking the ball earlier and coming forward.”
Jankovic said her knee was holding up well and was pleased with her movement. “I played the big points well and was able to come back,” she said afterwards. “I did quite well when it was the important times. I hung in there and hit my shots when I needed to.”
Jankovic must win in LA to top the rankings – but first must face Dinara Safina in the last four after the Russian crushed Victoria Azarenka 6-3 6-1 in her quarter-final.
The other semi-final features Flavia Pennetta – a 7-6 3-6 6-1 winner over Austrian Sybille Bammer – face wildcard American Bethanie Mattek, whose impressive summer form took her past China’s Yuan Meng 6-2 7-5.
Elsewhere, Wimbledon champion Venus Williams has withdrawn from next week’s Rogers Cup in Montreal, having failed to recover from tendonitis in her right knee.
The American was forced out of this week’s tournament in Los Angeles with the same problem. It looks likely that her return to competitive tennis will be at next month’s Olympic Games in Beijing.
Daniela Hantuchova has also withdrawn from Montreal due to a schedule change.