NANCHANG, China - Jelena Jankovic withstood some early pressure to keep her title bid on track at the Jiangxi Women's Tennis Open with a straight set win over No,5 seed Duan Ying-Ying on Friday evening.
Duan gave the top seed plenty to think about early on, breaking three times in a topsy-turvy first set. However, Duan's own serve proved just as vulnerable and once Jankovic had pinched the opener, her spirits dropped. Jankovic stormed into an early lead in the second set and was soon putting the finishing touches to a 7-6(3), 6-0 triumph.
"I am always so happy after I win any match, but today was very special," Jankovic said. "It's really nice to enjoy the game, and I can do that when my fans are there at the side."
The former World No.1 also had some encouraging words for her opponent, who is rapidly closing in on a Top 100 debut.
"As for Duan Ying-Ying, you know, I think she played really hard tonight - she made a good start but couldn't quite keep it up. She has lots of strong parts of her game and I enjoyed playing with her."
In the bottom half, Chang Kai-Chen takes on Lu Jia-Jing. Chang, who was once an established member of the Top 100, is no stranger to performing on the big occasion, having appeared at the latter stages of numerous WTA events, including the final of Osaka in 2012 - where she lost in three thrilling sets to Heather Watson.
There were glimpses of that player in her quarterfinal with No.7 seed Wang Yafan, whom she eventually overcame, 6-3, 1-6, 6-4. Lu was made to work similarly hard, battling back to defeat Han Na-Lae, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.