MASON – Jelena Jankovic
outlasted Elena Dementieva
7-6(2) 0-6 7-6(6) to book her spot in the finals of the 2009 Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open.
Jankovic, who saved four match points in the semifinal, will play World No. 1 Dinara Safina
in the final. It will be their sixth meeting all-time, with Safina owning a 3-2 edge in the series and having won the last two. However, Jankovic prevailed in their only previous meeting in a final, in Charleston in 2007.
The semifinal match was a battle throughout its 2:46 duration.
The players exchanged pairs of breaks in the first five games, before settling in and advancing to a tie-break. The No. 4 seed Jankovic managed a 5-1 lead in the breaker before closing it out with an ace.
Momentum swung heavily in favor of Dementieva, the fifth seed, as she breezed through the second to win it 6-0.
But Jankovic struck first in the final set, breaking Dementieva then holding to open up a 2-0 lead. Jankovic held on to that advantage to lead 3-2, but then neither player was able to hold serve the rest of the way.
Jankovic looked destined to win as she served at 5-4, 40-love, but Jankovic surrendered five straight points, allowing Dementieva to level the match at 5-all.
Dementieva then opened up a lead in the tie-break, and held four match points at 6-2. Jankovic, however, ran off six straight points to book herself a spot in her second final of 2009.
“It's really amazing,” Jankovic said. “I couldn't believe, you know, that I was able to win this match at the end.”
This will be just the second final for Jankovic of 2009 after winning in Marbella earlier this season. In 2008 she won four titles.
Sunday’s singles final will take place at 4 p.m.
Safina reached that final with a 6-2 6-0 win over Flavia Pennetta
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The World No. 1 is contesting her eighth final of the year, and has three titles to her name already this season.
It will be the first Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open final featuring two Top 5 players.
There have been eight Top 5 men’s finals since the ATP began keeping rankings in 1973, with the last coming in 2005 when Roger Federer
defeated Andy Roddick
In the final match of the day, the No. 3 doubles team of Nuria Llagostera Vives and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez defeated Virginia Ruano Pascual and Jie Zhenj 6-1 6-4.
Llagostera Vives and Martinez Sanchez will be contesting their seventh final of 2009. They own four titles on the season. Tickets are still available for Sunday’s final.