Published July 18, 2010 12:00
PORTOROZ, Slovenia - World No.2 Jelena Jankovic headlines this week's Banka Koper Slovenia Open, and while the $220,000 event takes place on the shores of the Adriatic Sea, she'll be hoping the hardcourts provide just the right preparation for the forthcoming North American hardcourt season.
Though Jankovic retired with injury during her fourth round match against Vera Zvonareva at Wimbledon, the 25-year-old Serb has been back in characteristically consistent form this season, winning at Indian Wells, reaching the final at Rome and the semis at Roland Garros. All this, plus the variable form of some of her rivals, means she deserves to enter the US Open as a favorite - and the journey starts right here in Slovenia this week.
Recent Top 30 arrival Petra Kvitova, coming off a stunning run to the semis at Wimbledon, is the No.2 seed here; assuming she can harness her formidable lefty weapons she'll be a major presence. Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, now the highest-ranked teenager at No.31, is seeded third, with 2008 champion Sara Errani - who was also runner-up to Dinara Safina last year in an epic final - occupying the No.4 slot.
The second tier of seeds features Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova, still hunting her first Tour title, at No.5; Russia's Vera Dushevina at No.6; Slovenian No.1 Polona Hercog, hoping for a first-time title at home, is seeded seventh; and Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden is the No.8 seed.
Dushevina and Poland's Klaudia Jans head the doubles field as top seeds. Jankovic has teamed up with fellow Serb Aleksandra Kunic; they have been given a wildcard into the event.