Jankovic Forced to Sweat to Clear First Hurdle

DUBAI — On Sunday Jelena Jankovic told reporters that the Dubai sun never bothers her.

By Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Thu 18 Feb 2010, 12:30 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:53 AM

Little did she know that two days later the sun and a feisty opponent would join hands to torment her during her very first match at the Dubai Tennis Championships.

The world number eight had to sweat to overcome her first hurdle against a Frenchwoman Aravane Rezai who never missed a chance ask those difficult questions.

“Yes, it was a really difficult match. She played really well. You know, she was hitting the ball so hard and so flat. Especially, you know, I had a hard time controlling the balls because they’re flying a little bit. So it took me some time to get my rhythm and feel my game,” said the Serb after her pulsating 4-6 6-4 7-5 victory in the second round match on the Centre Court of the Dubai Tennis Stadium

“You know, especially coming from Serbia, and I’ve just been here for a couple of days, the conditions were really different. You know, it was a little bit windy. The sun was in my face. Balls were flying. It’s completely different conditions, and it was my first match.

“But I managed to fight very well out there and managed to win the match. So I’m really happy about that.”

Perhaps she would have enjoyed playing her first match in the evening. “It was snowing in Serbia when I was there. It was like really, really cold, especially when you’re playing indoors. The last matches I’ve played were indoor in the Fed Cup, and the conditions were really perfect. No sun in my eyes, no wind, you know. So, you know, it was really different here. It was not easy for me, to be honest. But I was able to win the match, so it gives me confidence to continue.”

Jankovic didn’t shy away from admitting how badly she was struggling in the first set.

“Yeah, my legs were not moving, especially in that first set and like most of the second set. I just started moving a little bit better in the third for some reason. I just felt so slow, and I couldn’t really react. I was late on every shot. I was letting her dictate the points.

“Then I said to myself I need to get going somehow. And I didn’t know how to get myself, you know. But I stayed positive and got through this match.”

Jankovic gave credit though to her rival for fighting the way she did till the very last. “I think she’s really a good player. She’s a tough player to play against. And she has had some really good results lately. She’s had some really good wins, and it’s not easy at all. You know, I was able to stay in the match and lift my game and get through this match. She played really well, and I was lucky to get her today.”

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