Tue, Jan 09, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Jankovic keeps winning form in Sydney

AP , SYDNEY

Serbia's Jelena Jankovic plays an unorthodox shot in her match against Switzerland's Martina Hingis during the first round of the Sydney International tennis tournament in Sydney, Australia, yesterday. Jankovic won 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

PHOTO: AP

Martina Hingis is out of the Sydney International after just one round. Unseeded Serbian Jelena Jankovic continued her winning form with a three-set win over three-time Australian Open champion and fifth-seeded Hingis 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 yesterday.

The 21-year-old Serbian won the second title of her short career in Auckland last week and moved her Swiss opponent all around the court during the two-hour match.

"I just came from Auckland so I didn't have much time to recover, I was quite proud of how I managed to pull through," Jankovic said.

Hingis was a finalist in her first tournament of this year on the Gold Coast last week, losing to Dinara Safina in three sets.

With seven of the top 10-ranked women in the world playing the traditional Australian Open warmup tournament, Hingis knew she was in for a tough week. She will now focus on winning a fourth title in Melbourne.

"At least Ill be fresh and ready to go [for the Australian Open]. I always take the positive," Hingis said.

A small but vocal Serbian contingent with flags flowing above their heads celebrated when Hingis hit a forehand long on match point to hand Jankovic, last year's US Open semi-finalist, her sixth straight win of the year.

Jankovic will play Australian wild card Samantha Stosur in the second round. Earlier, Stosur and Tatiana Golovin of France advanced with straight-set victories.

Stosur beat Vera Zvonareva of Russia 6-1, 6-4 and Golovin beat Chinese qualifier Peng Shuai 6-4, 7-5.

In a late women's match, Australia's Nicole Pratt upset Gold Coast winner Safina 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

In men's play yesterday, Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus made a successful return to Australian courts with a straight-sets victory over Latvian qualifier Ernests Gulbis.

It was Baghdatis's first match in Australia since losing to Roger Federer in last year's Australian Open final. With more than a dozen Sydney-based relatives watching, Baghdatis won 7-6 (3), 6-1.

World second-ranked Rafael Nadal of Spain is the top men's seed at Sydney and is scheduled to play his first-round match today against Australian Chris Guccione.

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