Kvitova & Jankovic To Clash In Semis
Published October 04, 2013 12:01
Safarova came into the match with all kinds of momentum, winning 11 of her last 12 matches and even two of her last three against Jankovic - and after saving a set point in her 4-5 service game, Safarova turned that momentum into a one set lead, clinching the 57-minute opening set on a tie-break, 7-3.
But the No.8-seeded Jankovic went right to work from there, outsteadying an increasingly error-prone Safarova in the second set and making a big push right at the end of a closely contested third set, winning 10 of the last 11 points from 3-4 and deuce to finally close the match out, 67(3) 64 64.
Jankovic sealed the victory with a big ace out wide on the deuce side - her seventh ace of the match.
"I lost to her the last time we played, in Fed Cup last year, so I was looking forward to playing her again," Jankovic said. "She's been in great form - she's had unbelievable results in the last month or so, winning Québec and beating top players in the last two tournaments, so I knew it would be a very tough match, and it was. She played great - she served unbelievably. It was a huge battle out there.
"She put me under a lot of pressure but I just tried to play my tennis and I'm happy I made it."
Afterwards, Jankovic talked about some of her motivations to do well here. "I'm one of the players who still has a chance at the WTA Championships. I'm still working on it. It's near the end of the season and there's just a couple tournaments left to play, but this week is the biggest one left, obviously.
"But also I really love the China Open. I have a lot of great memories from playing here, playing in the main stadium - I'm really fighting my best out there, and I'm happy to be in the semifinals again.
"I'm looking forward to my next match very much."
And that match will be against Kvitova, the No.9 seed this week, who followed up her third round upset of No.5 seed Sara Errani with a quarterfinal upset of No.4 seed Li Na, 46 62 64. Kvitova's win was highlighted by a pair of big runs - five games in a row from 2-all in the second set, four games in a row from 3-1 down in the third - and after two hours and 31 minutes, she had beaten the Chinese No.1.
"I think it was a really great match from both of us - it was very tight and every game was really close," Kvitova said. "There were a lot of important points and they were very tough. I lost them in the first set and I won them in the second, and the third was pretty close. But when I was 3-1 down in the third set I just thought, 'Okay, I need to play my game again and go for it.' I just tried to stay aggressive.
"I've played a lot of three-setters this year, and when I lost the first set, I was still positive."
Kvitova has beaten Jankovic in both previous meetings, though both of them were on one of Kvitova's favorite surfaces - indoor hardcourts - and in one of the meetings she had to rally from 64 31 down.
"It's not going to be easy. I've played her two times and it's not easy - it will be a big fight," Kvitova said. "I know what to expect. She's trying to qualify for Istanbul and she has big motivation. I think it's going to be a really tough match tomorrow, and I need to be 100% ready for tomorrow. We will see."