Davenport Beats Up Jankovic in Bali

Posted on September 14, 2007

BALI, Indonesia - Lindsay Davenport's Sony Ericsson WTA Tour comeback gained further momentum on Friday when the former world No.1 scored a sensational three-set win over top seed Jelena Jankovic at the Commonwealth Bank Tennis Classic. Meeting the unseeded American in the semifinals will be another of the week's surprise packages, Sara Errani, while on the other side of the draw at the $225,000, Tier III event Daniela Hantuchova will do battle with Sorana Cirstea.

Davenport has enjoyed a dream week on the idyllic Indonesian island in what is her first tournament in almost 12 months. The 31-year-old American was champion in Bali two years ago and has rekindled the magic this time around, to put herself within touching distance of her first Tour title since Zürich in 2005.

After easing through her opening two rounds, Davenport made an uncharacteristically sloppy start against world No.3 Jankovic and looked lethargic on her way to dropping the first four games. However, from here the three-time Grand Slam Champion promptly reeled off eight straight games to put herself firmly in the driving seat, only to endure another fallow patch as Jankovic roared back into the match to force a decider. The final set was a tight affair, until Davenport broke serve to lead 4-2 and from there closed out the match to secure a memorable 64 26 62 win.

"I never really expected to do as well as I have this week," Davenport said, "but I'm just focusing on one match at a time and so far it's going great. I tried to stay aggressive at the beginning and keep the points short and although I started slowly as the match progressed I started to find my rhythm. At the end she started to get a little upset with a few line calls, so I just tried to capitalize by playing high percentage shots and thankfully I came through."

Standing in between Davenport and a place in the final is the unseeded Errani. The 20-year-old Italian is ranked a lowly No.90 in the world, but has been in fine form this week and in Day 5's first match on Court 1 she thrashed No.7 seed Aiko Nakamura from Japan 61 62 to reach her third Tour semifinal of the year.

"I played really well today," Errani said. "I was seeing the ball so well right from the start of the match and I was hitting it so cleanly and after beating Anabel [Medina Garrigues] on Thursday it's great to get another win over a higher ranked player. Both matches were really perfect and hopefully I can carry on this form in my semifinal."

After the exits of Jankovic and Nakamura, Hantuchova is now the only seed left in the tournament. She took her place in the final four with a clinical 62 61 win over talented Japanese qualifier Ayumi Morita. The No.2 seed's straight-set win sees her advance to her sixth semifinal of 2007 where she will meet another 17-year-old qualifier, this time in the form of Romania's Cirstea. The world No.137 has enjoyed a fantastic week so far and she won her second three-set thriller in succession, when she defeated compatriot Edina Gallovits 36 64 76(3) in the day's final match on centre court.

"It was another really tough match for me today," Cirstea said, "and it makes it a little bit more difficult to play against a close friend like Edina. At the start of the match I struggled a little and wasn't playing my best, but I made sure I kept fighting and eventually found my best tennis and managed to come through a really close final set."

Two doubles matches were also scheduled to take the court on Friday, but unfortunately for the spectators at the Grand Hyatt Bali both matches ended in walkover victories. After Davenport's singles exploits a left forearm strain forced her run with Hantuchova to come to a premature end and as a result No.3 seeds Ji Chunmei and Sun Shengnan will advance to the final. Here they will meet the winner of Saturday's clash between Jill Craybas and Natalie Grandin - who profited from the withdrawal of Anbel Medina Garrigues and Errani when right patellar tendonitis forced the Spaniard and her partner out - and the No.4 seeds, Martina Müller and Gabriela Navratilova. (WTA)