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Jamea Looks to Fresh Start

Once one of America's brightest Tour prospects, Jamea Jackson is heading back to school.

Published August 27, 2009 12:34

Jamea Looks to Fresh Start
Jamea Jackson

After undergoing hip surgery for the third time, Jamea Jackson has decided to say goodbye to the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. The Atlanta native has accepted a post as assistant coach to the 'Cowgirls' of Oklahoma State University (OSU), where she will also study.

"I am excited to join the OSU tennis program," said former Nick Bollettieri Academy protégé Jackson, who turns 23 on September 7. "I am thankful for this amazing opportunity and hope to be an asset to Coach Chris Young as well as our current and future players."

Having made her Tour main draw debut as a wildcard at Miami in 2003, Jackson achieved her career-high ranking of No.45 in 2006, shortly after reaching the final on grass at Birmingham. There, she defeated No.10 seed Klara Zakopalova, No.8 seed Jelena Jankovic and No.4 seed Elena Likhovtseva to make the semis, where she duly upset Maria Sharapova. The Russian was the top seed and two-time defending champion at the Wimbledon tune-up - and had only ever lost three matches on grass to that point.

"I'm stunned and shocked - I don't know what to say," said Jackson after the match. "I am sure my mom is freaking out. She watches my games online and will have been screaming with every point. I cannot wait to call her.

"Maria's a great player who has always done well on grass, but I played well and I am so psyched to get this win."

The final against Vera Zvonareva could so easily have gone Jackson's way as well: she held four set points in the first set and rallied back from a 4-0 second set deficit to force a tie-break before succumbing, 76(12) 76(5).

In 2006 Jackson also reached the third round at Miami, a run that was notable for more than one reason. In the first round, she overcame a 5-2 deficit and match point to defeat fellow American Ashley Harkleroad; along the way she made history by becoming the first player to challenge a call under the new electronic line calling system.

Jackson, winner of two ITF Circuit singles titles early in her career, played the main draws of all four Grand Slams for the first time in 2006, reaching the second round at each, and she also led the US Fed Cup Team to victory in a tie against Germany.

But at the end of the season she underwent surgery to her right hip, and thereafter struggled in her comeback. In August last year Jackson reached a third Tour quarterfinal at Forest Hills and was granted a wildcard into the US Open, but a three-set loss to No.27 seed Alona Bondarenko remains her last Tour match.

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