A title win at the East West Classic this week would send the Serbian to the top of the WTA Rankings next week...

J.J. has her eyes on the prize in L.A.



Originally published on 26/02/10 11:07

Jelena Jankovic will be crowned world No.1 if she can win in Los Angeles this week – and she’s going the right way about making it happen.

The Serbian was among the winners in Thursday’s third-round action at the East West Bank Classic, defeating Melinda Czink of Hungary 6-3 6-2, and will overtake Ana Ivanovic at the top of the rankings with a title run.

In the best match of the evening, No.4 seed Dinara Safina came through three tough sets to defeat compatriot and qualifier Alla Kudryavtseva 7-6(1) 0-6 7-6(3).

But while Safina lives to fight another day, the seeds tumbled elsewhere – Sybille Bammer took out No.3 seed Anna Chakvetadze 6-4 5-7 6-2 before Nadia Petrova outlasted No.5 seed and fellow Russian Vera Zvonareva 6-4 7-5.

In other action, Victoria Azarenka defeated Australian Sam Stosur 6-4 7-6(4), No.10 seed Flavia Pennetta saw off Ai Sugiyama 7-6(5) 6-3, China’s Meng Yuan cruised past Britain’s Melanie South 6-2 6-3. And wildcard Bethanie Mattek downed Olga Govortsova of Belarus 7-5 6-2.

Meanwhile, the Russians are out in force in Portoroz, with three representatives in the quarter-finals of the Slovenia Open – but Slovenian hopeful Katarina Srebotnik is out.

No.1 seed Maria Kirilenko reached the last eight after beating Roberta Vinci 6-1 6-2. Despite being the tournament favorite, Kirilenko would have had reservations about the match against an opponent who has beaten her in the past.

“The first set went smoothly but then I lost my concentration in the second set and she won a few games in a row,” the Russian said afterwards. “I was afraid I might lose track but fortunately I came back and saved the match.”

The Russian joined compatriot Vera Dushevina in the quarter-finals, after the 21-year-old knocked out Britain’s Katie O’Brien in the second round. Soon after, Elena Bovina completed the Russian hat-trick with a marathon win over French veteran Camille Pin.

The three-hour 6-3 5-7 7-6(6) result was an epic battle, with Bovina refusing to back down, even requiring medical assistance before the final set tie-break. She faces No.4 seed Anabel Medina Garrigues in the quarters.

“It was a long match and it was a little bit up and down,” Bovina said. “I had a set and 5-2 and basically the match was over. Camille was a good fighter and she wasn’t going to give it up. I played a few really good games and then the tie-breaker was also good.”

“I started to have cramps in both my hamstrings. I didn’t want to lose a tie-break for that so I called for a trainer. I took three minutes out, stretched, and it actually helped me to go through with the tie-break.”

No.2 seed Srebotnik’s hopes of a home win were dashed after Julia Goerges beat her 6-4 6-2. Despite making some unforced errors in the first set, the German continued her aggressive gameplan, which proved too much for the No.2 seed. She now faces 17-year-old Petra Martic in the quarterfinals.

“I am so happy to have won this match,” Goerges said. “Katarina is a great player and it’s always very difficult winning against such a player, especially before her fans.”

Meanwhile, No.8 seed Sara Errani cruised past against Italian compatriot Mara Santangelo 6-2 6-4. “She plays very fast so she wasn’t bothered by my game,” said Errani about Santangelo. “But I tended to switch rhythm so she struggled.

“The balls bounce quite high here so it’s not easy to aim and find the right distance. I don’t know if it was the heat, but by the end I’m sure she was bothered by my game.”

Errani faces Kirilenko in the quarters, with a 1-0 career head-to-head lead against the Russian after beating her at Miami early this year.

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