By Chris Oddo/ Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Jelena Jankovic pulled the upset of the WTA Championships today, taking out Victoria Azarenka in straight sets
Photo Source: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Jelena Jankovic is enjoying her time back in the spotlight. The fan favorite and former No. 1 has engineered a stunning return to form that landed her back in the WTA's top 10 and competing with the world's best in Istanbul.
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Now that she's arrived, Jankovic is making the most of her opportunity.
Jankovic snapped a personal four-match losing streak to world No. 2 Victoria Azarenka and notched her first win against a top four ranked player since May of 2010, defeating Azarenka, 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 49 minutes.
Azarenka saved three set points in the first set, including a clutch hold when she wiggled out of a 15-40 scenario while serving at 3-5, but Jankovic took a 40-15 lead in her next service game and closed out the set when Azarenka missed a backhand wide.
In the second set, Azarenka pulled out all the stops, even saving six break points in a tension-laden fifth game, but when it came time to close it out, Jankovic held her nerve to earn her 46th victory of the season.
“It feels incredible,” said Jankovic, who hadn't beaten the Belarusian since 2009. “To beat Azarenka here in the Championships, I was so excited. First of all to qualify, to give myself a chance to play against the best players in the world once again, it was amazing.”
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Jankovic now stands atop the White Group leaderboard along with Li Na, who defeated Sara Errani in straight sets earlier in the evening in Istanbul. Azarenka drops to third place at 1-1, while Errani is at the bottom at 0-2.
“When you play the round-robin format every match counts,” Jankovic said, “and every match is difficult, so of course beating Vika will give me a lot of confidence going into the next matches.”
Jankovic, making her first appearance at the WTA Championships since 2010, will face Li in Thursday's first match of the day at Istanbul.