Yan stuns Jankovic; Williams sisters clash in semis

March 8th, 2008 - 12:43 am ICT by admin  

By Saumojyoti Singha Choudhury
Bangalore, March 5 (IANS) Unseeded Chinese girl Zi Yan knocked out top seed and World No. 4 Jelena Jankovic of Serbia in the quarter-finals to register the biggest upset of the $600,000 Bangalore Open here Friday. Unheralded Yan, who began the tournament by upsetting eighth seed Maria Kirilenko in the first round, battled past an Jankavoic, who was hampered by an ailing shoulder for which she had to ask for medical attention in the middle of the decider. Yan won 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 to set-up a clash with Swiss Patty Schnyder, who survived a scare before knocking off giant-killer Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(1)

The other semifinal match will see a showdown between the Williams sisters Venus and Serena.

Second seed Venus shrugged aside a mid-match rally from Russian Vera Zvonareva to score a 6-4, 6-3 win while Serena thrashed Russian Anastasia Rodionova 6-1 6-4.

It was the day’s last quarterfinal that spiced things up. But the match went Yan’s way as Jankovic unable to work up speed on her because of a troublesome shoulder was broken no less than three times in the decider.

The gritty Yan, ranked 54, now has a 2-0 record against the Serbian. Her earlier win had come in Bangkok last year, when Jankovic pulled out midway because of an ailment.

The Chinese got the only break of the set in the crucial ninth game to snatch the set 6-3. Jankovic came back strongly in the second and leveled the score at 3-6.

With Jankovic unable to serve properly, Yan broke the Serbian in the second and fourth game to go up 4-0.

The Serbian tried to out up a fight breaking back once in the fifth to make it 1-4, only to lose her serve a third time in the set in the sixth game. At 5-1 Yan was on the verge of winning, but Jankovic would still not give in and got a break back to make it 2-5.

Continuing to have problems with her own serve, Jankovic saved three match points in the eighth game and was taken to deuce four times before she saved her serve to reduce the score to 3-5.

The curtain finally fell when Yan served out for the match and grabbed the final set 6-3.

“It is the biggest win for me as I will be featuring in a Tier II semifinal for the first time in my career,” said Yan. “I will try to give my best against play Patty (Schnyder) in the semifinal. I have never played her before but I know that her strong point is spinning shots,” she added.

Jankovic said, “I made too many errors and wrong judgments today. To add to that she was hitting the ball deep.”

On her shoulder injury for which she had to call a trainer in the middle of the third set, she said: “I don’t know what went wrong with my shoulders. Right from the beginning of the match I was having problems with my shoulder. As a result I couldn’t accelerate on my first serves. It (shoulder injury) was effecting my serves, not groundstrokes,” added Jankovic.

Venus was disappointed at the prospect of meeting her sister Serena in the last four. “It would have been awesome if we had met in the finals. But (still)at the end of the day one of us will play in the finals,” said Venus, who is the reigning Wimbledon champion.

In the first set, Venus raced to a 5-1 lead, breaking her opponent in the second and sixth games. But Zvonareva struck back, drawing parity by breaking back in the seventh and ninth. Venus broke Zvonareva again in the 10th game to pocket the set.

Venus seized control of the second set after breaking her opponent twice, in the second and fourth game. Once again Zvonareva fought back to get one break back in the third but it was not enough to save the day for her, ultimately bowing out 6-3.

“I am happy to win in two sets. I concentrated on improving my performance. I had strung my rackets more tightly today that helped me a lot to handle the bounce,” Venus said.

Serena never gave the unseeded Russian an opportunity, breezing through the first set 6-1 with breaks in the second and sixth games.

The second set, however, went with serve till the seventh game when the world No. 10 stepped up the gear and got the desired break to go up 4-3, courtesy three unforced errors and a double fault from her opponent. From then onwards, what she needed to do was to hold her own serve and she did it perfectly to set up a date with her sister in the last four.

Asked about the Williams’ sisters semi-final clash Saturday, Serena jokingly said, “She (Venus) is really a tough opponent. I hoped that she breaks her leg but nothing happened,” she joked.

Schnyder raised her game and fought back from one-set down to beat Amanmuradova, who at one stage raised visions of another upset breaking Schnyder in the very first game of the opening set and then held her serve to go up 2-0. Thereafter, the set went with serve but the tall Uzbek saved two break points - in the sixth and 10th game- to clinch the set.

Down one set, Schnyder came out back determined in the second set and broke Amanmuradova’s serve in the second game. However, the Uzbek drew parity in the ninth only to lose her serve in the next that levelled the set.

In the decider, both players broke each other twice - Amanmuradova in the first and third games and Schnyder in the second and eighth. The Uzbek saved three match points in the 12th game to force the tie-breaker.

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