CARLSBAD, CA, USA - The Top 4 seeds all made it to the quarterfinals of the Mercury Insurance Open, but only three of them made the semifinal cut, as No.3 seed Jelena Jankovic fell to Taiwanese qualifier Chan Yung-Jan.
Jankovic looked headed for the final four as she went up a set and 3-1, with Chan seemingly succumbing to the heat. But the crafty Taiwanese wasn't done by any means, clawing back to win the second set - saving a pair of match points in the tie-break - then building a 5-2 lead in the third. Jankovic won three games in a row to tie the decider, 5-all, but Chan toughed out two marathon games to close it out after three hours and 13 minutes, 67(4) 76(8) 75.
"I thought the match was really a mental game between us, and I'm really glad that I did it," Chan said afterwards. "The tie-break in the second set was really close. Even I didn't know who was going to win it. But when she got two match points, I just felt like I knew where she was going to go and what she was going to do. So I just tried to do what I thought I needed to do, and it worked.
"This win means a lot for me, especially because I was in the qualies here. I think it could be one of the best matches I've played in my career."
It was a day of missed opportunities for Jankovic, a former World No.1. "The forehand was letting me down. I shanked so many balls when I shouldn't have," she said. "I was trying, but it didn't happen. I had match points. I had lots of opportunities, but I didn't take them, and that's what mattered today.
"She's a solid player. She has good volleys, she has good feel, she's solid pretty much every shot. If you have a lot of good shots, I think it's great."
The other three Top 4 seeds moved on, although two had a very tough time. No.2 seed Dominika Cibulkova managed a straight set win over Urszula Radwanska, 64 64, but No.4 seed Nadia Petrova went the distance to beat Varvara Lepchenko, 64 26 76(5), and No.1 seed Marion Bartoli came back from 2-0 down in the third to beat No.5 seed Christina McHale, 75 46 64.
"All the matches seem to be so long for everyone here, I don't know why!" Bartoli said. "We had some very tough rallies in the second set and I thought she would get a little tired, but she didn't. I had to keep fighting and keep believing in myself until the end. At the end I knew I really needed to go for it.
"She's really improving. She's beaten a lot of very good players this year."
Saturday's semifinals will pit Bartoli against Chan and Cibulkova against Petrova. Bartoli double bageled Chan in their only previous meeting; Cibulkova leads Petrova in their head-to-head series, 2-1, but in their only meeting in the last four years, just a few weeks ago, Petrova rolled, 62 60.