INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - She had lost their last five matches in a row - not since the final of this very tournament four years ago had she beaten her - but Jelena Jankovic solved the Caroline Wozniacki riddle again at the BNP Paribas Open again, cruising past her fellow former World No.1.
It actually looked like Wozniacki was going to extend her head-to-head domination against Jankovic in the early goings, as she broke for a 3-1 lead - but the match turned on a dime from there as the No.7-seeded Jankovic won 10 straight games and eventually put away the No.10-seeded Wozniacki, 63 61.
"I lost to her the last I don't know how many times, but right now I'm playing some pretty good tennis. I went on court trying to wait for my chances," Jankovic said. "Against her, if you go for too much, you just make so many errors and beat yourself. It happened to me a lot of times in the past. So I just tried to play solid and aggressive at the same time, waited for the right shots, and then executed.
"I just didn't let her play how she plays. That was very important in the match today."
Jankovic wasn't sure of what to expect because of a back injury she suffered two nights earlier.
"I kind of surprised myself," she said. "Two nights ago I hurt my back, and yesterday I did not hit at all. I had a lot of treatment. I couldn't put my shoes on. I went on court not knowing how I was going to feel, if I was going to be limited with my movement, if I was going to be able to play my game. But I did, and I was surprised. I was so happy and really pleased with how everything went out there today."
Next up for Jankovic will be No.2 seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who had a much tougher battle on her hands with No.22 seed Alizé Cornet. Radwanska originally led 4-1 but lost four straight games and was on the verge of losing the first set as Cornet held double set point serving 5-4, 40-15 - but she kicked into gear at just the right time, sneaking out the first set and eventually completing a 75 63 victory.
"She's been playing really great tennis the last couple of months, so I knew it was going to be tough," Radwanska said of Cornet. "I was really in trouble in the first set so I'm happy I could win today."
Radwanska leads Jankovic in their head-to-head, 4-1. She has won their last four meetings.
"We've played a lot of times against each other but our last match was a long time ago," Radwanska said. "It's going to be a good challenge for me, especially because she's been playing some good tennis this year, and she played a really good match against Caroline today. I'll have to play my best."