Jankovic guts out tough 2nd-round win

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/j/jelenajankovic1_ap.jpg' class='caption'> Jelena Jankovic's leg cramped so badly, she couldn't take another step.

Updated: September 03, 2008 08:12 IST
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New York:

Jelena Jankovic's leg cramped so badly, she couldn't take another step.

Luckily for the No. 2 seed in the U.S. Open, the agony occurred during her post-match run on the treadmill. Anyone who watched could clearly see she left about everything she had out on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday.

After Jankovic outlasted Sweden's Sofia Arvidsson 6-3, 6-7 (5), 7-5 she planned to take a 10-minute run on the treadmill but lasted only three when pain flared in the area of a knee injury sustained at Wimbledon.

"I couldn't go anymore," Jankovic said. "My leg was straight and I couldn't bend it. The muscle was in spasm and I had a lot of pain."

While Jankovic escaped an early exit, No. 8 seed Vera Zvonareva couldn't. Zvonareva was upended by Tatiana Perebiynis of Ukraine 6-3, 6-3 in the tournament's biggest upset yet. Svetlana Kuznetsova shook off an early break and rallied to a 7-6 (3), 6-1 victory over Sorana Cirstea of Romania.

Fifth-seeded Elena Dementieva advanced over Pauline Parmentier of France 6-2, 6-1, but No. 25 Francesca Schiavone was knocked out by Britain's Anne Keothavong 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, and Zheng Jie of China eliminated No. 26 Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-1, 6-4. No. 12 Marion Bartoli of France, No. 14 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus and No. 15 Patty Schnyder of Switzerland also won. Former champ Lindsay Davenport, the No. 23 seed, beat Alisa Kleybanova of Russia 7-5, 6-3.

In men's first-round play, No. 3 seed Novak Djokovic shook off an injury to his left ankle in the third set and beat Arnaud Clement of France 6-3, 6-3, 6-4. Djokovic rolled the ankle while going for a shot on the right sideline in the fourth game. After receiving on-court treatment, he wrapped up the match with a break of Clement's serve.

Eighth-seeded Andy Roddick, who has battled a shoulder injury this summer that led him to skip the Beijing Olympics, beat Fabrice Santoro of France _ the oldest man in the draw at 35 _ 6-2, 6-2, 6-2.

Fifth-seeded Nikolay Davydenko beat Dudi Sela of Israel 6-3, 6-3, 6-3; Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the No. 19 seed, moved on with a 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 win over Santiago Ventura of Spain; No. 18 Nicolas Almagro beat Frank Dancevic of Canada 6-3, 6-4, 7-5; and Dmitry Tursunov, the 26th seed, upended Eduardo Schwank of Argentina 7-5, 4-6, 7-5 7-6 (5).

Treatment with ice and stretching and massaging loosened Jankovic's leg enough for her to go back to the locker room to take a shower before she spoke to reporters in a much more comfortable setting.

Until then, it was Arvidsson who made her life difficult for the better part of three hours.

The combination of not being in match condition following the injury and an array of hard forehands and well-placed drop shots by Arvidsson left Jankovic fighting to get her wind during the 2-hour, 44-minute match.

"That was a really tough one," said Jankovic, who has reached the fourth round in the first three Grand Slam events this year. "As you can see, I am completely out of breath. She really pushed me to the limit."

Jankovic twice served for the win in the middle set against Arvidsson, yet couldn't put her away _ even with a match point in reach. Jankovic held off Arvidsson in a back-and-forth third set when both had trouble holding serve.

In the middle of the set, when a drop shot eluded her dive, Jankovic dropped to the court face down and stayed there for several moments. If anything, it gave her a brief rest.

"I was just tired and I couldn't get up," Jankovic said. "I was just trying to come back to normal position where I could just stand up and regroup again and play the next point."

The only worry she had at that point had to do with her bright yellow outfit that matched nicely with the deep blue court.

"I thought I was going to get my dress really dirty. That was my biggest concern," she said. "I would have loved to take a nap on the court because I was really exhausted. But you know, the rules are the rules. I had to keep going."

When Arvidsson fired long on the final point, Jankovic had her third service break of the third set and eighth overall. There was suddenly a spring in her step as she waved and blew kisses to the crowd.

Kuznetsova, the 2004 champion and No. 3 seed this year, trailed Cirstea 4-2 in the opening set before getting back on serve and eventually forcing a tiebreak that she dominated against her inexperienced opponent. She cruised to a 5-0 lead in the second and closed out the match in 73 minutes.

"Here you feel special, like I've made it here," Kuznetsova said. "It's an amazing feeling. ... I just play much more confident."

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