Jun 22, 2007
The Netherlands - It's hardly a secret that Jelena Jankovic has been one of the most dangerous players on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour so far in 2007. But at the Ordina Open on Thursday she hit another milestone that put her in the same mention as legendary names Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova; the Serb won her 50th match of the year, becoming the first woman in over 30 years to achieve the feat that fast.
She did it in style as well, pummelling Alona Bondarenko in two minutes beyond an hour, 62 61. The No.1-seeded Jankovic converted on all four of her break opportunities and didn't drop serve once to extend her record against the No.8 seed to 7-0 lifetime.
"It was my first match here in Holland after getting a bye in my first round, and I am pleased with the way I played," Jankovic said. "I feel very confident and I'm enjoying the grass, winning Birmingham. I feel good going into Wimbledon."
The last time a player won 50 matches quicker than Jankovic came way back in 1974 with Evert achieving that feat at Roland Garros. In 1978, Navratilova won 50 matches before Wimbledon, but it was in her third match at Eastbourne - Jankovic getting to 50 in her first match of the warm-up week gives her the better time.
"To win my 50th match of the year is amazing; I didn't know I had this many. It just shows how well I'm playing and how consistent I am this season. When I go into a match I just give it my maximum. Maybe I can reach 100 wins this year!"
Ana Ivanovic was not so fortunate, falling to Daniela Hantuchova quietly, 63 61. The No.2-seeded Ivanovic, who was coming off an incredible European clay court season that included winning Berlin and reaching the final at Roland Garros, was ousted in just an hour and 15 minutes by the No.5 seed, who notched her fifth Top 10 win of the year (and the 21st of her career).
Rounding out the semifinal line-up will be Anna Chakvetadze and Dinara Safina, both of whom won two set quarterfinals against unseeded opponents. No.3 seed Chakvetadze was a 62 62 winner over Tour quarterfinal debutante Angelique Kerber, while No.4 seed Safina ousted ex-Top 20 player Flavia Pennetta, 61 75.
In Friday's semifinals, Jankovic takes on Safina, while Chakvetadze takes on Hantuchova. Jankovic is 1-1 against Safina, retiring in their first encounter but winning the last time they played in straight sets, in the final of Charleston earlier this season. The rivalry in the other semifinal favors Hantuchova, 2-1, with the Slovak winning at 2005 Luxembourg and Rome earlier this year but the Russian winning at Warsaw last year.
The doubles semifinals were both played on Thursday, with No.1 seeds Chan Yung-Jan and Chuang Chia-Jung and No.3 seeds Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual all winning through to the final. Chan and Chuang have won 2007 trophies at Birmingham and Bangalore, while the Spaniards' best finishes are finals at Hobart and Amelia Island.