By Curt Janka
CARLSBAD, California â€“ Jelena Jankovic battled through a slow start and a determined Melinda Czink to win 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 at the Mercury Insurance Open. Jankovic came into the match with a 2-0 record against Czink, but has had patchy results this year. This was the Serbianâ€™s first hard court win of the summer, but it didnâ€™t come easily.
Czink looked and played totally relaxed, hitting with great depth throughout the match. Her forehand matched up especially well against the forehand of Jankovic, who said she felt â€œa little bit slow.â€
Asked if there was anything causing her limited movement Jankovic waved off any concerns. She explained, â€œI was reacting a little bit slow and I wasnâ€™t setting up on the balls as well as I wouldâ€™ve liked to, but thatâ€™s tennis. Youâ€™re not always going to feel so light and fast, but those are the days when you have to work a little bit harder and get through.â€
One thing that did work well for Jankovic was her serve. Through the second and third sets, she was able to produce clutch serves when facing break points. As she started landing more forehands in, she was eventually able to disrupt Czinkâ€™s rhythm. On the opportunities she was able to step into her backhand, she was able to regain control of points and ultimately the match.
This is Jankovicâ€™s sixth appearance in Carlsbad and hard court is admittedly her favorite surface. â€œI love playing on the hard courts. I love playing in this kind of conditions. Iâ€™m excited to be here especially. This is a place where Iâ€™m going to be spending time and I would like to do well. I would like to somehow start my comeback and just play good tennis and enjoy it out there. There were times I was played well and times I didnâ€™t play well, but I enjoyed the battle. I was out there having fun and I think thatâ€™s important.â€
Jankovic will be spending considerably more time in the area, as the home she is building nearby in Rancho Santa Fe is complete. â€œJust the furniture is not there,â€ she smiled, â€œI was there yesterday. When I was entering there, I was saying â€˜Iâ€™m the ownerâ€ and they were looking like â€˜Youâ€™re not the owner youâ€™re only like 27 years old.â€ She laughed and said the security guard didnâ€™t recognize her because she was in a cap and sunglasses. â€œBut it was nice to see the improvement. It looks great so far.â€
Thereâ€™s even a court there for her to play on but nothing to sleep on yet. â€œBut you know,â€ she said, laughing again, â€œItâ€™s not too bad here at La Costa. Iâ€™m having a good time here playing golf and the weather.â€ She hopes to move in during the off-season in December.
As for staging her comeback, this draw poses a great opportunity. She next faces qualifier Yung-Jan Chan in the quarterfinals. While sheâ€™s on the same side of the bracket as top-seed Marion Bartoli and fifth-seed Christina McHale, they both also struggled through 3-set matches today. A good result here for Jankovic could give her the confidence that has been missing from her game.
MERCURY INSURANCE OPEN
Carlsbad, CA, USA
July 16-22, 2012
Results – Thursday, July 19, 2012
Singles – Second Round
(2) Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) d. Marina Erakovic (NZL) 62 64
(3) Jelena Jankovic (SRB) d. Melinda Czink (HUN) 26 64 64
(5) Christina McHale (USA) d. Misaki Doi (JPN) 46 64 64
Urszula Radwanska (POL) d. (LL) Melanie Oudin (USA) 62 61
Doubles – Quarterfinals
(1) Huber/Raymond (USA/USA) d. Chan/Chan (TPE/TPE) 62 76(3)
Chang/Lertcheewakarn (TPE/THA) d. Husarova/Watson (SVK/GBR) 64 26 108 (Match TB)
Doubles – First Round
(2) King/Petrova (USA/RUS) d. Glatch/Oudin (USA/USA) 75 62
Order Of Play – Friday, July 20, 2012
Stadium (from 11.00hrs)
1. Urszula Radwanska vs. Dominika Cibulkova
2. Jelena Jankovic vs. Chan Yung-Jan (NB 13.00hrs)
3. Varvara Lepchenko vs. Nadia Petrova (NB 15.00hrs)
4. Cibulkova/Hantuchova vs. King/Petrova (after suitable rest)
5. Marion Bartoli vs. Christina McHale (NB 20.00hrs)
6. Kops-Jones/Spears vs. Lee-Waters/Moulton-Levy