ISTANBUL, Turkey - She may not have had a chance at qualifying for the semifinals, but she definitely got the last word - Sara Errani dropped the perfect mix of aggression and defense on Jelena Jankovic on Friday, winning the last match of the round robin portion against the former World No.1, 64 64.
After dropping serve in the first game of the match Errani shifted several up several gears, reeling off four games in a row to build a 4-1 lead - little by little Jankovic closed the gap, winning three of the next four games to get within 5-4, but Errani squeaked out one more break to close out the set, 6-4.
The No.7-seeded Jankovic retaliated in the second set, breaking for 2-1, but the No.6-seeded Errani tightened the screws again from there, winning five of the next seven games to close it out, 64 64.
Speaking of tight, the ending couldn't have been closer. Jankovic fended off four match points, two with huge forehand winners, one with a big overhead and the other with a picture perfect low volley - but a Jankovic forehand into the net off a loopy crosscourt forehand gave Errani the victory on No.5.
Although Jankovic was the clear aggressor throughout the match - she had 35 winners and 36 unforced errors - her numbers for the match were not as tidy as Errani's. The Italian countered that fairly even differential with an impressive +11 differential, blasting 20 winners to just nine unforced.
"We are in a masters so of course the motivation was a lot, even if I knew I couldn't make it to the semifinals," Errani said. "But you always want to try as much as possible in all of your matches, and I'm really happy I could win today. Jelena is a fantastic player and I'm so happy with the result.
"It's not finished, though - tomorrow we have the doubles, so I have to get ready to play again."
The victory was also a bit of revenge for Errani. In the pair's only previous meeting, at Indian Wells back in 2010, a No.49-ranked Errani was on the verge of her first Top 10 win against a No.9-ranked Jankovic, coming within two points of victory in the second set tie-break and building a 4-2 lead in the third, even bringing up triple break point to go up 5-2. But Jankovic survived, 26 76(6) 64.
That was a third round match - Jankovic would go all the way to the title that week.