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French Open Wednesday: JJ's Revenge?

A resurgent Jelena Jankovic takes on fellow Bollettieri graduate Maria Sharapova on Wednesday for a place in the French Open semifinals.

Published June 04, 2013 12:00

French Open Wednesday: JJ's Revenge?
Maria Sharapova

PARIS, France - The identity of the final two semifinalists at Roland Garros will be confirmed on Wednesday as defending champion Maria Sharapova takes on Jelena Jankovic and Victoria Azarenka locks horns with Maria Kirilenko.

Wednesday, Quarterfinals

Court Philippe Chatrier
[2] Maria Sharapova (RUS #2) vs. [18] Jelena Jankovic (SRB #18)
Head-to-head:
Sharapova leads 7-1
According to Jelena Jankovic, the secret behind her recent return to form is down to belief. And she will need belief by the bucket load if she is to see off Maria Sharapova and reach her fourth French Open semifinal.

Jankovic has won one of her eight career meetings with Sharapova, losing their last three, picking up just three games in the most recent of these, in the semifinals of Miami earlier this year. Nevertheless, the two have not met on clay since their junior days at the Bollettieri Academy, and with her superb movement and revitalized groundstrokes Jankovic is a very live underdog.

However, over the years Sharapova has grown to love the dirt too, and, as her recent record suggests, she rarely plays second fiddle in a baseline battle; since the start of the 2012 clay court season, the Russian has won 34 of her 36 matches on the surface, with her two defeats coming at the hands of Serena Williams.

Court Suzanne Lenglen
[3] Victoria Azarenka (BLR #3) vs. [12] Maria Kirilenko (RUS #12)
Head-to-head:
Azarenka leads 3-2
Over the past 12 months or so, Maria Kirilenko has been one of the WTA's most improved players. When on song, her intelligent, all-court game is a match for most, and she will need to hit all the right notes against Victoria Azarenka if she is to reach her first Grand Slam semifinal.

To date, the last eight at a major has proven to be a glass ceiling for Kirilenko, who has fallen short in her previous two appearances, losing to Zheng Jie at the 2010 Australian Open and Agnieszka Radwanska at last year's Wimbledon.

Azarenka, on the other hand, is becoming a virtual ever-present at the latter stages of the big events, reaching at least the semifinals at three of the four majors. The one exception has been the French Open, but, in light of her recent record against Kirilenko, she will fancy her chances of completing the set on Wednesday afternoon.

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