Jelena Jankovic continues to dazzle at the Family Circle Cup, both on and off the court (mainly off the court!) and is into the third round where she will play Danka Kovinic. Jankovic made things difficult for herself against Tatjana Maria in their second round encounter but eventually came through in three sets, 6-3 6-7(6) 6-1 in two hours and 10 minutes. Maria was fully deserving of at least a set in what was an entertaining and at times, gruelling match.. Her slice-and-dice game caused Jankovic all kinds of her problem in the second set. Maria also managed to produce one sensational passing shot winner towards the end of the second set. Jankovic got tight in the second set tiebreak and double faulted on match point before losing the set. She didn’t face any issues in the decider though as she came through comfortably, 6-1..
Even in the post-match interview, JJ was a bundle of laughs as she managed to pick out people from the crowd who had been at the same restaurant as her on the previous day. Jankovic was also the feature for another superb piece by Lindsay Gibbs who documented the Jankovic-Kovinic relationship. It was a well-timed piece as the pair will meet in the third round of Charleston after Kovinic secured back-to-back best wins on tour. Before Charleston, Kovinic’s best win had come against the then ranked number 67 in the world, Karin Knapp in Bucharest last year. After an excellent win over Christina McHale in the first round, Kovinic followed that up with her first top 40 win against Belinda Bencic, 4-6 6-3 6-2. Bencic was the more steady player in the first set, serving well when it got tight and taking advantage of some loose forehands from Kovinic at 4-4.
Kovinic was stunning on serve as she dominated the final two sets, losing just 12 points on serve and not facing a break point. There was an opportunity for the momentum to swing in the third set when Bencic saved break points to prevent herself from going down a double break. However, Kovinic never lost her focus and profited from two Bencic double faults at 4-2 to get the double break. Kovinic served out to love, fittingly closing the match with an ace. As well as the serve, Kovinic’s backhand is a real strength to her game and she can do almost anything with it. She did well at hitting behind Bencic in the rallies. The drop shot was also working well for her in this match. In Linday’s piece on The Changeover, Kovinic revealed that Jankovic has acted like a mentor in her career. This will be a fascinating dynamic for Thursday’s match and I wonder if Danka will be overrawed by the occasion going up against someone she obviously respects a great deal. Jankovic was great in Indian Wells, but she still makes me nervous and hasn’t been reliable yet in 2015. Still, for the reasons mentioned above, i’d fancy JJ to prevail.
Prediction: Jankovic d. Kovinic in 2 tight sets
WTA Charleston 3rd Round Predictions
Mona Barthel d. Lauren Davis in 3 sets
Madison Keys d. Andreea Mitu in 2 sets
Sara Errani d. Sara Sorribes Tormo in 2 sets
Caroline Garcia d. Lucie Hradecka in 3 sets
Andrea Petkovic d. Madison Brengle in 2 tight sets
Angelique Kerber d. Lara Arruabarrena in 2 sets