Jelena Jankovic regained her world No.1 ranking yesterday, less than 24 hours after winning Stuttgart’s WTA event with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Nadia Petrova in Sunday’s final.
With former world No.1 Serena Williams losing in the second round last week, Jankovic will reclaim top spot after capturing her second consecutive WTA title after taking the China Open title in Beijing.
“I am really excited about winning here, it’s my second win in two weeks and my confidence is high,” Jankovic said. “I played some good tennis this week and I am proud of myself.”
Jankovic must now choose between the prize of a brand-new Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Cabrio or US$98,500 in prize money.
She joked: “I already have a Turbo, so why not the Carrera as well?”
The 23-year-old Serb started with a hiss and a roar as she raced into a 2-0 lead after breaking Petrova in the first game and it proved to be enough to take the first set 6-4 after 46 minutes.
Petrova, the 2006 Stuttgart champion, is playing well above her ranking of 18th in the world having won the Cincinnati tournament in August, and she broke Jankovic for the first time to level the second set 3-3.
Having beaten Venus Williams in Saturday’s semi-final despite losing the first set, Jankovic again responded in style by breaking her opponent back and holding her service to take a 5-3 lead.
“I had gone a bit flat in the second set, that is normal because I have played a lot of games, but I wanted to respond and I found another gear,” Jankovic said. “It was important to re-establish myself at that point in the game.”
She broke Petrova again to claim the second set — and the match — 6-3 to claim her third WTA title of the season after wins in Rome and Beijing.
Having broken a toe nail in Friday’s quarter-final win over Russia’s Vera Zvonareva, Jankovic again received pain-killing injections before the game.
“With the injections, I didn’t feel a thing when I was playing,” she said. “But two or three hours after the game the pain kicks in and it hurts a lot, it will take a lot of time for the nail to grow back. The physio has told me to wear flip-flops for the flight home. But it’s winter here — I want to wear boots.”
Beaten-finalist Petrova praised the new champion and said she has taken plenty of heart from her run to the final.
“I fought hard for everything out there, but it wasn’t to be,” the Russian said. “I’d like to congratulate Jelena, she is having an amazing run at the moment and this is another win for her. I tried my best here and I am looking forward to coming back to Stuttgart again.”
Romanian Sorana Cirstea secured her first ever WTA title after beating Sabine Lisicki of Germany in the final of the US$145,000 Tashkent Open on Sunday.
Cirstea, the third seed, battled back from a set down to beat fourth seed Lisicki 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) in 2 hours, 7 minutes in their first head-to-head clash on the hard court of the Dynamo Tennis Stadium.
Both teenagers were playing their first ever WTA final and it was the 19-year-old Lisicki who looked slightly more confident from the start, breaking twice in the opening set to take it in just 24 minutes.
Cirstea, 18, responded by breaking immediately in the second set and kept her lead through to level the score.
A tighter third set saw Cirstea secure her maiden WTA crown after dominating the tie-break.
“I’m happy to win my first title here. It’s amazing,” Cirstea said. “I like the tournament and the city very much and will definitely come here next year to defend my title.”
Cirstea received a silver trophy and a US$22,900 prize check, while runner-up Lisicki pocketed US$12,450. Both finalists were also awarded traditional Uzbeki robes embroidered with gold.
■OPEN DE MOSELLE
AP, METZ, France
Dmitry Tursunov of Russia won the Open de Moselle on Sunday by beating Paul-Henri Mathieu 7-6 (8/6), 1-6, 6-4 in the final.
“In the second set he had a lot of chances to attack my second serve and he was successful in doing that,” the fifth-seeded Tursunov said. “As I was two breaks down, Paul-Henri was playing with a lot of confidence. Today there wasn’t a big difference. I can’t say that I was better than him. He could have broken me as well in the third set.”
Mathieu said he could not accomplish much in the last set.
“He broke me and I couldn’t break him, which cost me the match,” the Frenchman said. “It’s tough to lose a match like that. I think that I have to improve two or three things.”
Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is buying the Forum for US$400 million, ending the billionaire’s legal fight with Madison Square Garden Co (MSG) and clearing the way to build a new arena for his NBA team down the street in Inglewood, California. Ballmer on Tuesday announced his cash purchase of the venerated arena. Ballmer, a former Microsoft executive, and Clippers vice chairman Dennis Wong are making the transaction through CAPSS LLC, a newly formed entity that would continue to operate the Forum as a live music venue. “This is an unprecedented time, but we believe in our collective future,” Ballmer said.
EXPENDITURE: Tokyo Games organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto said that ‘additional expenses are going to be quite massive’ to reschedule the Olympics The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is working with sports bodies to arrange a July-to-August window next year for the postponed Tokyo Olympics and hopes to confirm the schedule within a month, Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun reported yesterday. John Coates, head of the IOC’s coordination commission for the Tokyo Olympics, told the newspaper that the Games would have to be held between the tennis Grand Slams of Wimbledon, scheduled to end in mid-July, and the US Open, which starts in late August. “We want to more or less finalize the dates in four weeks’ time,” the newspaper quoted Coates as saying. Coates, who is also
PROUD, BUT BOWING OUT: The Dallas center missed all of 2018 due to Guillain-Barre syndrome, but Travis Frederick returned to be a standout again last season Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick on Monday stunningly announced his retirement. Frederick, who turned 29 on Wednesday last week, was a Pro Bowl selection in five of his six NFL seasons. Frederick revealed his retirement in a lengthy letter, beginning it by writing: “After much consideration, discussion, and reflection, I have decided to retire from football. This was not an easy decision.” Frederick cited his bout with autoimmune disease Guillain-Barre syndrome as a factor. He missed the 2018 season due to the illness in which the body’s immune system attacks the nervous system, but he returned to be a standout again last
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, whose positive COVID-19 test prompted the NBA to shut down its season, says that the coronavirus has caused him to lose his sense of smell. The Frenchman, whose defensive talents have earned him the nickname “Stifle Tower,” tested positive for COVID-19 on March 11, the result bringing the NBA season to an abrupt halt. In social media posts since then, the 27-year-old had said he was feeling better, but on Sunday he tweeted that he was experiencing one of the lesser-known symptoms of the illness. “Just to give you guys an update, loss of smell and taste is