Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Day 9: The One and Only

Jelena Jankovic used to be referred to around here as "the other Jelena."

No longer. Now, she's looking like the one and only.

It's been a strange trip from there to here for Jankovic.

Once Jelena Dokic was no longer listed as "Serbian," though that label was always an iffy proposition at best depending on her constantly changing familial state of mind, Jankovic got a leg up on coming into her own. Once Dokic continued to fade from the tennis landscape in '06, possibly never to return from her trip through the looking glass, Jankovic stood alone.

But a coaching change and that 1-10 start wrecked the beginning of her season's story. She had horrible timing, it seemed. But as things have played out as the season has worn on, Jankovic's timing has turned out to be quite exquisite.

In Los Angeles last month, she displayed a breezy attitude and a killer game as she upset eventual U.S. Open Series champion Ana Ivanovic and Serena Williams, only to lose to Elena Dementieva in a three-set final. Today in New York, after showing she had developed quite a finishing touch against Nicole Vaidisova and Svetlana Kuznetsova, she finally finished what she started in L.A..

In the only major singles match that was able to be completed on Tuesday, Jankovic wiped out Dementieva 6-2/6-1 (Punch Sober never once held her serve!) to reach her first grand slam semifinal (not to mention earn a little rest while the remaining players will have to scramble to make up for another virtual rain out in Flushing Meadows).

Thus, the one and only Jelena was the one and only player in the spotlight on Day 9. Talk about perfect timing.

LOVE-LOVE... #27-seed Tatiana Golovin still could trump her accomplishment when and if she beats Maria Sharapova in the QF, but #19 Jankovic's Open semifinal berth ranks her as one of the lowest-seeded players in the 2000's to reach a women's slam SF. Here's the list:

2000 Wimbledon - Jelena Dokic
2000 U.S. Open - Elena Dementieva
2002 Roland Garros - Clarisa Fernandez
2003 Roland Garros - Nadia Petrova

[low seeds]
#32 Fabiola Zuluaga (2004 Australian)
#22 Patty Schnyder (2004 Australian)
#21 Mary Pierce (2005 Roland Garros)
#19 Nathalie Dechy (2005 Australian)
#16 Elena Likhovtseva (2005 Roland Garros)
#16 Nicole Vaidisova (2006 Roland Garros)

...of the ten previous semifinalists before Jankovic, only Pierce advanced to the final. She lost the '05 RG title to Justine Henin-Hardenne.
15-LOVE... Jankovic-Dementieva wasn't the ONLY match that actually managed to finish today. Five Boys and Girls singles winners were declared, and two Women's Doubles 2nd Round contests experienced converted match points. In those, Lisa Raymond & Samantha Stosur knocked out Shinobu Asagoe & Akiko Morigami and, in an upset, #2-seeded Zi Yan/Jie Zheng lost to Kveta Peschke/Francesca Schiavone, the latter of which someone managed to not blow a big lead and lose in the 7-5/6-4 match. Hmmm, another top Women's Doubles seed falls, while the team of Martina Navratilova & Nadia Petrova are still alive and kicking. I smell a "conspiracy."

Well, either that or all this rain is robbing me of my sanity.

3...Russia (Davydenko, Safin, Youzhny*)
2...Czech Republic (Berdych, Novak)
2...France (Gasquet, Gicquel)
2...Germany (Haas, Becker)
2...Spain (Nadal*, Robredo)
2...USA (Blake, Roddick*)
1...Australia (Hewitt*)
1...Great Britain (Murray)
1...Switzerland (Federer)

...ah, a rare list where Federer is listed last.

(*)-already advanced to QF

[bottom half]
#9 Roddick d. #15 Hewitt
#2 Nadal d. Youzhny

GAME, by retirement...

Dear M.Nature,

Can we please get a little sunshine in New York? What did everyone do to deserve this treatment? Truly, your timing could not be worse.

Might you be open to a little under the table payment to make this happen? Just wondering.

Yours truly,

P.S. - Be kind to Justine, if somehow possible. Thank you.

All for Day 9.


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