September 5, 2006

Jankovic stuns Dementieva before more rain

By Steve Ginsburg

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Jelena Jankovic roared into her first
grand slam semi-final with a stunning upset of Elena Dementieva
at a water-logged U.S. Open on Tuesday.

Jankovic, who considered quitting the sport after a long
losing streak this year, whipped Dementieva 6-2 6-1 in 62
minutes, breaking the Russian's serve seven times in a row.

That was the only match completed before rain wiped out
play for the rest of the session, however, the third day of the
tournament that bad weather has forced matches to be postponed.

Two fourth-round matches were halted when the rain arrived.
Former champion Marat Safin of Russia led German Tommy Haas 2-1
with a break of serve, and Russian Nikolay Davydenko was
leading British teenager Andy Murray 6-1 5-7 6-3.

Lindsay Davenport was due to face Justine Henin-Hardenne in
a battle of former champions in the night session and top seed
Roger Federer was scheduled to play France's Marc Gicquel.

Steady rain continued to fall, however, and play looked
unlikely to resume before Wednesday.

Jankovic, 21, continued her remarkable run through the
tournament, earning a semi-final place on Arthur Ashe Stadium
by stopping her third consecutive-top 10 opponent.


The Serbian 19th seed could hardly contain her excitement
at reaching the semi-finals.

"I don't know how to explain it," she told reporters
grinning broadly. "You can only know this feeling when you
really are there and experience it. It's a great feeling to be
in a semi-final, especially in Arthur Ashe, in a big stadium.

Dementieva, a former Open finalist, played well but was let
down by her weak serve.

"She was playing great from the beginning to the end," the
24-year-old Dementieva said. "She didn't give me any chances. I
feel like she was better today. For me, it was very hard.

"I was fighting for every point, but she was just better
and better. It's just unbelievable, the way she was playing

Jankovic lost 10 consecutive matches this year before
reaching the quarter-finals at the Italian Open and she was
beaten in three sets by Dementieva in the Los Angeles Open
final last month.

But the Serb recalled those dark days when a first-round
exit became the norm and she enrolled in college to help her
ponder life after tennis.

"It was terrible, but what can I do?," she said. "I think
overall in life, you're not going to always have good times.
There are going to be bad times, as well.

"I think when you go through something like this, it makes
you stronger as a person. For me, as a player, I feel like I
appreciate my results a lot more."

Jankovic, who beat 10th-ranked Nicole Vaidisova in the
third round and number seven Svetlana Kuznetsova in the fourth,
will play Davenport or Henin-Hardenne in the semis.

"I think some things are meant to happen, and maybe if I
didn't lose ten matches in a row, maybe I wouldn't be in the
semi-finals here," she said. "I'm lucky."