KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Jelena Jankovic was pushed probably more than she would have liked on her 27th birthday, but she was victorious nonetheless in the first round of the BMW Malaysian Open on Tuesday.
Watch action from Kuala Lumpur all week on WTA Live!
The second-seeded Jankovic's 76(7) 46 76(2) triumph over Caroline Garcia took just under three hours. She overcame a set point at 7-6 in the first set tie-break, and in the third set on Garcia's serve a match point at 5-4, 40-30 and two more at 6-5, 40-15.
"I didn't know what to expect when I was drawn to play her," Jankovic said of the 18-year-old Garcia. "I had to push myself, as the weather conditions were humid. But I managed to stay tough and mentally strong in the last set when I was down and had almost lost the match.
"It was also not easy only having two days to train here. But all credit to her. She's young and had nothing to lose. She came out strong and pushed me."
After playing the youngest player in the draw, Jankovic will next take on the oldest - 37-year-old Jill Craybas.
"It's the total opposite. But every match is a new one and I will just have to work for my win," said Jankovic, who is 3-3 against Craybas but has not played her since 2006. "Hopefully I can play better than I did today."
Other seeded winners were No.3 seed Peng Shuai, No.4 seed Jarmila Gajdosova and No.6 seed Ayumi Morita. Peng was a 61 46 62 winner over Yvonne Meusburger despite letting a 4-2 second set lead slip away. Gajdosova, a semifinalist here last year, was two points from defeat at 5-4 in the third set but managed a 16 76(2) 75 victory over Kathrin Woerle. Morita beat qualifier Nudnida Luangnam, 64 60, for her first main draw match win since last October in Beijing.