Former world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic advanced to the quarter-finals of the Family Circle Cup after a seven-and-a-half-hour rain delay on Thursday that prevented a number of players from getting on court, including Serena and Venus Williams.
Serena, riding an 11-match winning streak in Charleston, was scheduled to play American qualifier Mallory Burdette, while Venus was to face Varvara Lepchenko for a spot in the last eight. Both matches were rescheduled for yesterday.
The rain fell steadily at the Family Circle Tennis Center until early evening when crews were finally able to start drying the large puddles on the gloppy, green clay courts.
Once play began, ninth-seeded Jankovic — the 2007 Family Circle champion — needed just 64 minutes to oust 19-year-old American Jessica Pegula in straight sets. Pegula won the first two professional matches of her career this week before falling to the Serb, 6-0, 6-4.
Third-seeded Samantha Stosur retired in the second set of her match against Canadian qualifier Eugenie Bouchard, trailing 1-6, 0-2.
The ninth-ranked Stosur was out of sorts against the 19-year-old Bouchard from the start. She had her right leg wrapped and spoke with a trainer after losing the first set. The Australian retired two games later.
It was Bouchard’s first victory over a top 10 player.
Bouchard, the reigning Wimbledon Junior singles champion, noticed the wrap on Stosur’s leg and that her opponent wasn’t chasing down balls she would normally reach with ease. Still, Bouchard felt she’d been playing a strong match.
“I believe that I can beat these players,” Bouchard said. “It’s time to happen.”
Second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark moved on without hitting a groundstroke when Andrea Petkovic of Germany withdrew with a calf injury a few hours before their scheduled match.
In the only other match to be completed on Thursday, 23-year-old Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland defeated 10th-seeded Julia Goerges of Germany, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3.
The long rain delay means the year’s first clay-court event has some ground to make up to finish by tomorrow. There were still four third-round matches to be played yesterday before the quarter-finals are set.
Serena Williams, who was not sharp despite winning her opening match over Camila Giorgi on Tuesday, will have waited almost three days to play again. Venus defeated 19-year-old Puerto Rican Monica Puig in three sets Wednesday night.
The sisters would each need to win twice more to set up an all-Williams semi-final. They have not played against each other in a tournament since 2009.
Both have enjoyed championship moments at the Family Circle Cup. Serena won titles in 2008 and last year. Venus won the crown in 2004 and last September clinched the winning points as the Washington Kastles took the World Team Tennis title on Billie Jean King Court.
Other delayed matches included sixth-seeded Czech Lucie Safarova against 11th-seeded Sorana Cirstea of Romania and the all-American encounter between Madison Keys and Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
Cirstea, like Serena Williams, also has not played since winning on Tuesday.
Jankovic said it was difficult keeping sharp and loose as the delay stretched through the afternoon.
“I wanted to take a nap, but I couldn’t,” she said. “We joked that if they rained it out, we have a go shopping day.”
Instead, Jankovic felt fortunate to move to the quarter-finals when so many other competitors will likely have to play twice yesterday.
“At the end of the day, I was lucky,” she said. “I came out and played quite well.”
In the doubles quarter-finals, top seeds Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic and Liezel Huber of the US defeated Taiwan’s Chan Hao-ching and Olga Govortsova of Belarus 6-3, 6-3.
Additional reporting by staff writer