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Jankovic beats Serena to reach Australian Open semis


Melbourne : Jelena Jankovic claimed her third career Grand Slam semi-final spot as she dismantled petulant holder Serena Williams 6-3, 6-4 in a dazzling display in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open here Tuesday.

The smiling Serb third seed has now reached the final four in Melbourne, New York and Paris since 2006. The win – marred by ten breaks of serve – boosted her record against Williams to 3-2.

“I’ve beaten the Williams sisters a couple times. But here it is very special, because last year actually in this tournament in the fourth round I lost to her,” said the winner.

“Getting revenge, it feels so good. I’m so happy to be in the semi-final, having no expectations, having injuries, and not really thinking that I can go far.

“But I just played one match at a time, and I really don’t know how I’m doing, but I’m in the semis, and it feels great.

“This doesn’t happen every day, I’m glad to get another win against her.”

Williams, who reportedly smashed a racquet during practice earlier in the day, was never on her game, holding serve a mere three times. The American also handed over a fifth double-fault for a Jankovic match point, which the Serb converted as Williams sprayed a forehand wide after one hour, 39 minutes of pure frustration ended by a 34th unforced error.

Williams managed to lose serve in the fifth game of the first set and did it again to drop the opener after 35 minutes.

At one end of the court, she was bothered by the sun while serving, which wouldn’t have helped the mood of a woman who smashed a racquet along the way.

Jankovic got off on a tear in the second set with a break for 2-0 but lost the edge a game later finally grabbing a 3-1 lead during a run of four consecutive breaks.

After breaking Williams for 3-2, Jankovic called for the trainer to treat a left upper thigh, among a run of injuries she has dealt with this month which have included a glute muscle, lower back, quad and neck.

Not to be outdone during the time-out, Williams called for treatment on some blisters.

Jankovic took a 5-3 lead with another break of Williams, the sixth of the error-strewn set, and claimed victory a game later.

“I’m going through pains,” admitted the Serb. “But I try to forget them on court. I act like I’m in good shape. But I’ll feel like new again when I play in two days, (against the winner from Maria Sharapova and Justine Henin).

“I thought I played very well. I came out very strong, and I was going for my shots, especially my backhand down the line was working unbelievably, and that’s how I hurt my opponent.

“I just kept hitting it, and luckily it was all going in. It was going very deep.”