Serbian teen tennis player Bojana Jovanovski had two days to forget after she went to Carlsbad, New Mexico, instead of Carlsbad, California, for the WTA San Diego Open.
The 19-year-old Serb, ranked 53rd in the world, almost missed her first-round match on Monday after she was somehow presented with an erroneous ticket to a tiny desert town almost 1,500km short of her intended destination.
The confused teenager, who played last week’s tournament in Maryland, spent the night in the New Mexico town before taking an early flight to California, where she arrived a mere 30 minutes before the start of her delayed match.
Jovanovski said that she flew from Washington to Dallas, then to Albuquerque and the first Carlsbad, not far from the tourist destination of Carlsbad Caverns.
Upon arrival she said she waited for 15 minutes in a nearly empty airport, then got on the phone to tournament transport, which said it was looking for her at the California arrivals hall.
“They said they were at the airport and looking for me,” she said. “I said I was the only person here.”
The person on the California end of the conversation suddenly got the picture: “Are you in Carlsbad in California or in New Mexico?”
Things didn’t improve much for Jovanovski once she finally got to the correct Carlsbad. She lost her first-round match against ninth-seeded Italian Roberta Vinci 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.
Vinci came from a set and break down to square the match, then dominated the final set as she twice broke Jovanovski’s serve and held off three break points on her own.
The Italian was one of only two seeded players to appear on Monday, following the withdrawals of Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, former world No. 1 Kim Clijsters and two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova with muscle strains.
The other seeded winner was No. 16 seed Polona Hercog, who needed more than two hours before defeating qualifier Natalie Grandin, 7-6 (7/1), 2-6, 6-4.
Hercog won despite 10 double faults and a first-serve percentage of 63 percent. The South African Grandin made 71 percent of her first serves, but won less than half of the points when she did get it in.
Vinci’s second-round opponent will be China’s Zheng Jie, who struggled past Croatia’s Mirjana Lucic 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (7/3).
Hercog will face Russia’s Vera Dushevina, who was a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over France’s Aravane Rezai on a day of several hard-fought matches.
Alexa Glatch of the US beat Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova 6-1, 6-2; Elena Baltacha of Britain cruised past American Melanie Oudin 6-0, 6-1; Sweden’s Sofia Arvidsson was a 6-3, 6-1 winner over Ashley Weinhold of the US; and US veteran Jill Craybas saw off Marie-Eve Pelletier of Canada 6-1, 6-1.
Craybas will face third-ranked and top-seeded Vera Zvonareva of Russia in the second round. Glatch’s win advances her to a match against No. 2 seed Andrea Petkovic of Germany.
SAFINA TO MISS US OPEN
Former world No. 1 Dinara Safina will not play again this year because of persistent back pain, the Russian said on Monday.
“I’m sorry to report that my back is still acting up and I will not be able to play until at least the end of the year,” she said on her official Web site.
The 25-year-old, who has not played since early May, will miss her third successive Grand Slam tournament — the US Open — after also pulling out of the French Open and Wimbledon.