Jelena's Happy Hardcourt Return
Published July 20, 2010 12:00
PORTOROZ, Slovenia - Playing in her first tournament since Wimbledon, Jelena Jankovic made a strong start in Portoroz, winning her opener at the Banka Koper Slovenia Open against Bojana Jovanovski, 63 63.
Jankovic, the No.1 seed and heavy tournament favorite, broke early en route to taking the first set and recovered from an early break down in the second set.
"Bojana played superbly, she is young and very talented," Jankovic said. "I played as best as I could; I'm slowly getting back into shape after my injury."
The crowd was holding a banner saying 'God must love her, it's not hard to.'
"It really means a lot to me. I really appreciate all these fans. I play all over the world and whenever people cheer for me it gives me the energy to carry on."
The No.2 seed, Petra Kvitova, wasn't so fortunate. In her first match since reaching her first Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon, Kvitova started strongly, breaking for 3-1 and leading 30-0 in that game, seemingly on her way to 4-1. But Stefanie Voegele had other ideas, rallying back and prevailing, 75 62.
"I just tried to concentrate on my game. It was difficult because it was so hot, but I tried to stay aggressive," said Voegele, who made her first career semifinal here a year ago. "I'm taking it point by point and we'll see how I can do here."
Ten minutes after the match, a gracious Kvitova found Voegele in the gym and congratulated her again on the win, also wishing her good luck.
No.3 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and No.4 seed Sara Errani both won, Pavlyuchenkova recovering from 0-4 in the first set to beat Alberta Brianti, 75 61, and Errani edging qualifier Anna Tatishvili, 76(1) 64.
"I have a lot of ranking points to defend and that's not easy," said Errani, who was a runner-up to Dinara Safina here last year. "Mentally, I struggle when I come on court knowing I'm defending so many points. But I'm trying to focus."
No.7 seed Polona Hercog advanced but the other two seeds in action were ousted, with Ksenia Pervak rolling past No.5 seed Dominika Cibulkova, 61 63, and Johanna Larsson ousting No.8 seed Sofia Arvidsson, 76(1) 62.
"I'm very satisfied to have won today. This is what I wanted most here on home turf," Srebotnik said. "I'll be much more relaxed in Round 2. I got a load off my shoulders and accomplished my goal of passing Round 1."