Jankovic Falls, Stosur Advances

Mercury Insurance Open
By Hiland Doolittle, August 5th, 2010
Samantha Stosur of Australia

Samantha Stosur of Australia

The top seed at the Mercury Insurance Open in San Diego had her A game working on Wednesday. Jelena Jankovic led Russia’s rising star Alisa Klyeybanova 5-3, 40 –0 when she suddenly hit the wall. Kleybanova hit a daring return across the court that passed by Jankovic and started a landslide of points, games and sets.

When the dust cleared, Kleybanova had captured the first set and run off the first four games in the second. Elisa showed plenty of courage and used her impressive two-handed backhand to control the pace of the match. “I figured I would see what happens, and even better if I won the first set. My job today was to play, fight and win,” said the Russian, who certainly accomplished her goals to the chagrin of a dejected Jankovic.

Former world number one, Dinara Safina, played without her ferocious intensity against the 4th seed Agnieszka Radwanska and suffered the consequences. Safina, who has struggled with her comeback efforts, allowed Radwanska to play her solid baseline game and fell 6-3, 6-1 in just 66 minutes. Safina held a 2-0 career edge against the Pole, but Radwanska has come a long way this year while Dinara continues her struggles.

Second seed Samantha Stosur had her high kicking serve working and 5’5” battler Melanie Oudin could not catch up with it as she fell 6-4, 6-4. The score was the same as the pair had at Eastbourne. Oudin, who is finding it difficult to string wins together on the tour, continues to work on her improving serve, which she lost once in each set to account for the difference.

The mighty mite has a big fan base and when Oudin is on the court she is never alone. Oudin hopes her hardcourt season is more successful than the recently concluded grass court series.

After the match Oudin said, “I thought hardcourt would be my best surface to play her, or grass, but she’s number 5 in the world and I’m still happy with my performance. I was still in there.” The 18-year old needs some of those quality wins she earned last season to earn better draws. As Safina and Jankovic can attest, it is a difficult process to get there and once there, it is even harder to hold on.

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The 7th seed, Israel’s Shahar Peer is enjoying her best year on the tour. On Wednesday, Peer fought off Yaroslava Shvedova in a tense two set win, 7-5, 6-4. Peer lost her serve three times against the hard-hitting Shvedova. As she is prone to do, the Israeli answered each break with one of her own and then gained the pivotal break in the twelfth game of the first set.

Shvedova, was riding a wave of confidence after toppling husky Russian Nadia Petrova in the first round. Peer’s experience showed as she never became flustered and was patient. Each time she was down she played one point at a time to climb back in the one hour 33 minute match.

On Thursday, fifth seeded Flavia Pennetta will face Maria Kirilenko, Jie Zheng will play Daniela Hantuchova, Svetlana Kuznetsova will try to outgun Sara Errani and Vera Zvonareva will play local favorite Coco Vandeweghe for the final four berths in the quarters.


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