Thursday, 25 April 2013

JJ Continues a Career Revival

While Tommy Haas has received the well deserved plaudits for resurrecting his tennis fortunes - back at 14 in the world with a victory over Novak Djokovic to his credit this year and recently turned 35 -credit must be generously afforded former WTA ranked number one Jelena Jankovic for her highly unexpected return to the consistent results she had been achieving around 5 years ago.

After early losses in Sydney and the Australian Open - to higher ranked players - Jelena reached a low point in Doha, losing a first round encounter to Niculescu, not even ranked in the top 50.

Many believed that the fine career of the Serbian star was just winding its way down to maybe a retirement within the next year or so, and the results reflected an inability to adjust to changes in the game.

However, as the backdrop against which to prove that notion totally off the mark, Jelena chose South America.  In Bogota, as top seed, she tore through the draw losing just 2 sets, admittedly against lowly ranked opposition, but with the determination of winning successive matches and lifting a trophy at the end.

A setback at Indian Wells with a first round exit at the hands of Kuznetsova was more than compensated with a great Miami tournament.  Here the Jankovic court coverage covered four players including Petrova, Cirstea and Vinci (avenging her loss to the Italian in Sydney) on the way to a semi final with WTA second ranked Sharapova.  The tournament ended for Jelena here but her fighting efforts at Charleston propelled her into her second final of 2013, and again it took a Grand Slam title holder to stop her winning run.  Serena Williams even surrendered the first set of that final.

As it stands, the Stuttgart tournament has seen Jelena draw top ten player Samantha Stosur in the first round, and her response?  A straight sets win no less.

After 3 losses in her first 6 matches of the year, Jelena Jankovic has now strung together 15 match wins from her last 18 starts.  Although her ranking is still only 18, she is 12th in the points race for the calendar year and a return to the top ten is increasingly a likelihood rather than a possibility.

This is exciting for womens tennis as Jankovic adds much needed colour to the game.