Friday, August 31, 2012
Ivanovic, Jankovic advance, Tsonga sent packing
By Steve Ginsburg
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Serbians Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic, a pair former number one-ranked players hoping to get back to the top of the women's game, coasted into the third round of the U.S. Open under sunny skies at Flushing Meadows on Thursday.
Twelfth seed Ivanovic blew by Sweden's Sofia Arvidsson 6-2 6-2 in 64 minutes, while Jankovic, seeded 27th, had a little more difficult time in stopping Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino, 6-4 6-2.
On the men's side, Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga became the first high-profile casualty when he was upset 6-4 1-6 6-1 6-3 by Slovakian Martin Klizan in a second-round match.
Serena Williams, the fourth seed looking to build on her Wimbledon and Olympic titles, plays Spain's Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez later Thursday, while world number one Roger Federer battles Bjorn Phau of Germany.
Ivanovic opened the day's program before a sparse crowd on Arthur Ashe Stadium, while Jankovic played on outside court 17, a far cry from when they were both title contenders.
Arvidsson's counter-punching groundstrokes did little to offset the arsenal of Ivanovic, who is looking to advance to the quarter-finals for the first time at Flushing Meadows.
"I'm very happy about today's match because she's a tough opponent," said Ivanovic, who enjoyed a 39-7 advantage in winners. "She does retrieve a lot of balls. She likes to use pace off an opponent... I'm very pleased."
Jankovic took advantage of 39 unforced errors by her Spanish rival to win in one hour, 45 minutes.
"She was a tough opponent, she has a Spanish game," said Jankovic, in reference to Arruabarrena-Vecino's penchant for top-spin groundstrokes featuring long rallies.
"She has that good forehand with a lot of spin. She's very solid off the ground. She wasn't giving me any easy points. I had to work hard for each one."
Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open winner who is nursing a foot injury, said she is hungry to give herself a shot at winning another grand slam.
"It's been a long process of getting my mind there and my body and game and everything together," she said.
"Still, it's going to be a lot of hard work and a long process but I'm starting to enjoy it as well. If it doesn't happen this week, it's coming. Things are coming together."
Jankovic, who reached the Open semi-finals in 2006, echoed Ivanovic's sentiments.
"I really want to get back," she said. "I'm really working hard and feeling much fitter than I used to be," she said. "This year I've struggled a lot. I wasn't fit, I wasn't feeling my game and I had a lot of injuries.
"I've worked hard to come back physically and now I hope it will start to pay off. I'm already doing so much better than I used to. Hopefully, this is just the beginning."
Tsonga, seeded fifth and ranked sixth in the world, produced a lacklustre display as he was outplayed by the world number 52 in suffering his earliest-ever exit from Flushing Meadows.
"I played very, very well today," a beaming Klizan said after beating a top 10 player for the first time. "I was concentrating on each point. I felt comfortable on the court.
"I tried to do my best. That's it. I won and I'm very happy."
The triumph enabled the 23-year-old Klizan to reach the third round of a grand slam for the first time.
"I had no pressure," he said. "If I lose, then I lose. I lose with a good player. But I won and I'm very happy."
(Editing by Gene Cherry)