Jankovic breezes, Venus toils hard to reach Bangalore Open quarterfinals

March 7th, 2008 - 12:49 am ICT by admin  

(Roundup)
By Saumojyoti Singha Choudhury
Bangalore, March 6 (IANS) Top seed Jelena Jankovic of Serbia made short work of Sanda Mamic of Croatia, while second seed Venus Williams was stretched to the wire by unseeded Chinese Shuai Peng en route to the quarterfinals of the $600,000 Canara Bank Bangalore Open here Thursday. Jankovic thrashed Mamic 6-2, 6-2 in just 71 minutes, while Venus had to toil hard for 108 minutes to defeat Peng 6-2, 6-7(6), 6-2 at the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association (KSLTA) centre court.

In other second-round singles matches of the day, seventh seed Vera Zvonareva of Russia overcame a few early hiccups to bow out Romanian Agnes Szatmari 7-6(5), 6-1 in 97 minutes and unseeded Chinese Zi Yan, who upset eighth seed Maria Kirilenko of Russia in the opening round, hardly broke sweat against Ukrainian Olga Savchuk 6-1, 6-2.

Jankovic, world ranked 4, will face Yan in the quarterfinals, while Venus will be up against Zvonareva.

Venus struggled with her serve from the start but her power play rescued her in the opening set. Her finishing at the net was also scratchy. But what saved the day was her experience. To add to that, her forehand from the back of the court, though, was not at its best, it opened up the court for winners on quite a few occasions.

The opening set went with serves till the fifth game before the American set up a breakpoint with a perfect deep forehand volley landing at the feet of Peng. The Chinese girl shot wide an easy forehand to hand American the set 6-2.

In the second set, Venus was far from her dominant self as Peng broke her in the fourth game. But the World No. 8, drawing on her experience, broke back immediately and then held serve to level the scores 3-3.

Thereafter, the set went with serves till the tie-break, but Peng seemed in no mood to give up without a fight and saved two match points to level the tie on set apiece 7-6(6) and take the match into the decider.

Though the decider was a roller coaster with breaks and counter-breaks, Venus was more purposeful as she did not allow the 22-year-old Chinese to hold her serve in the entire set. Her two games came from Venus’ service.

Venus’ serve was awful as she committed 15 double faults - one in the first and seven each in the second and third set, compared to her opponent’s lone.

Even her first serve percentage was lower than Peng. She fired 65 percent of her first serve in, while Peng registered 62.

“Today, I made some errors and in tennis you have to move on and focus on your next match. The ball was also bouncing unexpectedly higher and I had little difficulty in handling it,” Venus said after the match.

“I always want to finish a match in two sets, but it went to third set.”

Like many others, Venus also complained about the poor quality of line calls. “It was not good but you have to play every ball. I was most unhappy about an ace which was definitely in.”

Jankovic, after her emphatic victory, too expressed her difficulty in handling the bounce and said that she did not display her best game against the Croat.

“I don’t think I was playing well. The bounce was difficult to handle, as I am not used to such high bounce. I just concentrated on hitting the ball with spin which was necessary to tackle the bounce,” she said.

Zvonareva managed to keep her composure and win the first set in tiebreaker 7-6 (5). But in the second set, she was a transformed player, giving Szatmari no chance and broke her twice - in the second and fourth games - to pocket the set 6-1.

While Savchuk and Yan traded breaks in the first two games of the opening set before the 23-year-old Chinese quickly broke twice, in the fourth and eight games, to take the set.

Savchuk started the second set on a high note breaking Yan’s serve straightaway, but that was the only game she could win in the set.

In doubles, Chinese combination of Chunmei Ji and Shengnan Sun moved into the semi-finals defeating Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan and Savchuk 6-3, 7-5.

Day’s results:

Singles:

Zi Yan (CHN) defeated Olga Savchuk (UKR) 6-2, 6-1

Venus Williams (US) defeated Shuai Peng (CHN), 6-2, 6-7(6), 6-2

Jelena Jankovic (SRB) defeated Sanda Mamic (CRO) 6-2, 6-2

Doubles:

Chunmei Ji (CHN)/Shengnan Sun (CHN) defeated Akgul Amanmuradova (UZB)/Olga Savchuk (UKR) 6-3, 7-5

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