Schiavone Fights Back, JJ's Cincy Mojo Back?

Francesca Schiavone rallied from 0-3 in the third to beat Maria Kirilenko. Jelena Jankovic awaits.

Published August 17, 2011 12:00

Schiavone Fights Back, JJ's Cincy Mojo Back?
Francesca Schiavone

CINCINNATI, OH, USA - With Italian No.2 Roberta Vinci's breakthrough results in Toronto last week, Italy's No.1 has been flying somewhat under the radar. But Francesca Schiavone was at her grinding best at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati on Wednesday, digging out of a deep third set hole to beat Maria Kirilenko and move into the third round, 75 36 64.

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Schiavone, the No.7 seed this week, was battling for nearly two and a half hours over on Court 4, losing 12 points in a row to drop the second set and falling behind 3-0 in the third. But with the fight that has made her the best Italian player in WTA history, the 31-year-old won six of seven games to seal it.

"It was tough today, particularly in the third set - she was playing really well. At the end I was just a little bit more consistent," Schiavone said. "This tournament is giving me the chance to feel good again. I always need to play as much as I can. The most important thing is to find a good balance ahead of the US Open."

The match was so close, Schiavone and Kirilenko both won 93 points.

Schiavone was asked about the withdrawal of Serena Williams. "She has been playing at a really high level the last few weeks but now has some problems. But for sure she is prepared for the US Open already. It's always a challenge to win a Grand Slam - it'll be tough for everyone, many people want to win.

"I think she's great. It's great for tennis Serena is back."

Next up for Schiavone is No.13 seed Jelena Jankovic, who squandered a 4-1 lead to lose the first set but rebounded in a big way to take down Chinese qualifier Zheng Jie, 46 63 61. This is the first time Jankovic has won back-to-back matches since the French Open, where she made it to the fourth round.

Jankovic leads Schiavone in their head-to-head series, 3-2.

Jankovic is one of three former champions in the field, winning in 2009. Vera Zvonareva and Nadia Petrova both won here before it became a Premier event in 2009, Zvonareva in 2006 and Petrova in 2008. Both Russians also won on Wednesday, the No.2-seeded Zvonareva winning 10 games in a row from 2-3 to beat Ekaterina Makarova, 63 60, and Petrova rallying from 2-4 in the second set to close out No.15 seed Ana Ivanovic in straight sets, 63 76(4).

Other winners during the day session were No.14 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, No.16 seed Peng Shuai, Daniela Hantuchova and qualifier Petra Martic, who came from a set down to beat No.17 seed Yanina Wickmayer, 36 62 62.

At night, No.9 seed Andrea Petkovic beat lucky loser Sofia Arvidsson, 62 64, and Shahar Peer beat another lucky loser, Pauline Parmentier, 62 63. Parmentier gained the lucky loser spot when No.3 seed Victoria Azarenka had to withdraw just before the night match with a right hand strain.

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