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Ivanovic leads Jankovic in Serbian rivalry
Both are from Serbia and in their 20s. Both once held the No. 1 ranking and seemed headed for future tennis stardom, a destiny both are still striving to fulfill.
Ivanovic, who already owns one Grand Slam title, took a step toward her dream of winning the Australian Open by beating Jankovic 7-5, 6-3 Friday in a third-round match. Throughout the match the 25-year-old Ivanovic punctuated winning points with her trademark fist pumps.
“It was intense from the first moment to the last,” said Ivanovic, who will face Agnieszka Radwanska in the fourth round.
The 2008 French Open champion has always seemed to receive more attention than Jankovic, partly because of her tennis and partly because of her looks and high-profile boyfriends. She’s dating Australian pro golfer Adam Scott, which gives her hometown credentials and made her the crowd favorite on Friday.
The No. 13-seeded Ivanovic took an early lead, surging to 5-2. She lost the next three games as Jankovic tried to wear down Ivanovic by sending her sprinting around the court on long baseline rallies. Ivanovic broke serve to pull ahead 6-5 and in the last game won a hard-fought point on a 26-shot rally.
She won the set with an ace, after challenging a line call that had initially ruled the serve out.
Ivanovic had an easier time in the second set, wrapping it up on her second match point.
Both players hugged each other across the net and kissed on either cheek _ and faced reporters’ questions about the state of their rivalry these days.
“It’s fine. It’s really good,” said Ivanovic, who has won eight of their 11 career matches. “Of course there is going to be rivalry, but I think there is a healthy rivalry, too, because you kind of push each other.”
Now Fed Cup teammates, they helped Serbia to its first Fed Cup final in 2012.
“We had a good week in Prague for the final of the Fed Cup. We were hanging out a lot, you know, joking,” Ivanovic said. “It’s nice, we’ve known each other for a while.”
Both players had a standout year in 2008. They played each other in the 2008 French Open semifinals, which Ivanovic went on to win and then captured the No. 1 ranking. She held the top spot for a total of 12 weeks that year.
By Joy Overbeck
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