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Jankovic beats Dementieva, becomes first to reach Open semifinals

Jankovic beats Dementieva, becomes first to reach Open semifinals

Jelena Jankovic lost so many matches in a row this year, she lost count. But she'd taken enough stats classes at university to figure this: It was maybe time to quit tennis and go back to school in Belgrade.
On Tuesday, Jankovic graduated _ to her first Grand Slam semifinal, that is. She took away No. 4 Elena Dementieva's serve and coasted 6-2, 6-1 at the U.S. Open.
"I cannot believe that I won in two sets," Jankovic said. "What was the score? I don't even know the total score."
The 19th-seeded Serbian became the first player to reach the semifinals at Flushing Meadows. She advanced to face the winner between former Open champions Lindsay Davenport and Justine Henin-Hardenne, scheduled late Tuesday, weather permitting.
Rain restarted, however, and the other daytime singles were postponed to Wednesday. No. 7-seeded Nikolay Davydenko of Russia led No. 17 Andy Murray of Britain 6-1, 5-7, 6-3; 2000 champ Marat Safin led 14th-seeded Tommy Haas of Germany 2-1; and No. 5 James Blake had not started against Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic.
The 21-year-old Jankovic was already in the locker room by the time rain appeared, enjoying the biggest win of her career. She won every game when Dementieva served.
Earlier this year, Jankovic wasn't winning anything. She lost nine straight matches after the Australian Open and wondered what was next.
"Ten losses in a row, nine losses _ how many, I don't know," she said. "It was terrible. I don't know what was wrong with me. I didn't have the will to practice, didn't want to play."
"It was something that I never felt before and I almost quit playing tennis. I just wanted to go and study."
Now, those courses in statistics, economics and politics can wait.
"My ambition is to finish university," she said. "I don't want to be a typical tennis player who knows how to hit the forehand and a backhand, that's all. I think this career is quite short and I think there is life after tennis, as well, and I need to look after my future."
At 24, Dementieva was mulling her future, too.
"It is disappointing. I'm getting older and I haven't won a Grand Slam, so that's really what I'm thinking about all the time," she said. "I feel like I was in good shape here. That's why it's sad."
Dementieva let out a shriek midway through the second set when her shot hit the net tape, popped up and landed on her side. The sound echoed through Arthur Ashe Stadium, and she quietly exited a few games later.
"She didn't give me any chances," Dementieva said. "She was better."
Jankovic said she's had problems in the past with Dementieva's slow, slicing serves. It was hard to tell this time, though.
"It has some slice on the ball and it's a lot slower than all the other players," Jankovic said. "But now I got used to it somehow."
Dementieva has frequently struggled with her serve. She had so much trouble while losing the 2004 Open final to Svetlana Kuznetsova that she served almost everything sidearm, drawing laughs from the crowd.
"You wouldn't believe how many people gave me ideas on what I should do. It was crazy," Dementieva said earlier in the tournament. "I knew it was just mental. But then I thought everyone can serve. I can do it, too."


Updated : 2021-10-18 22:44 GMT+08:00