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Jankovic upset by Kanepi

2009-02-18 21:03

Dubai - Jelena Jankovic was beaten by emerging talent Kaia Kanepi, who defeated the third-seeded Serb in straight sets on Wednesday to enter the quarter-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championship.

The 16th-seeded Estonian, playing her first tournament in Dubai, dazzled with powerful strokes and serves, winning 6-2, 7-5 in 1 hour 25 minutes.

Sixth seed Venus Williams stayed on course for a semi-final clash with younger sister and top seed Serena with a comfortable 6-3, 6-2 win over the 11th seed Alize Cornet of France. Serena was scheduled to take on the 13th seed Chinese Zheng Jie in the final match of the day.

Also moving into the last eight was the eighth seed Ana Ivanovic of Serbia, winning 6-2, 7-6 (5) over Frenchwoman Camille Pin, while defending champion Elena Dementieva of Russia was impressive in her quick 6-1, 6-3 win over Spaniard Anabel Medina Garrigues.

Kanepi completely dominated an off-color Jankovic, who got her first break in the fifth game of the second set when the 23-year-old Estonian double faulted on second break point.

Down 6-2, 4-0 at one stage, Jankovic managed to pull level in the second set at 5-5, before Kanepi sealed the match by breaking her in the 12th game.

Jankovic, a former No. 1, offered no excuses after the game.

"This was the worst match of my career. It was a horrible day. I kept framing the ball, kept making unforced errors and could not put two balls together on the court. I didn't move properly, and I didn't see the ball properly," said the No. 3.

"She didn't have to do too much. Basically, I beat myself. I don't know what happened out there. I am ashamed of this performance."

Kanepi, whose previous biggest victory came against sixth-ranked Anna Chakvedatze in last year's French Open, said: "I am really delighted. It was my tactic to mix it up and it worked."

"I did get a bit tight and started thinking too much when I was 4-0 up in the second, but such things happen when you have the opportunity to beat such a top player. Thankfully, I managed to pull it back."

Venus faced stiff resistance in the early part of her match. She started in a very aggressive fashion, but adopted a more conservative approach and began to dominate the proceedings against the 10th-seeded Cornet.

"It was interesting. I missed a few shots long and I was a little upset about that, but I managed to rein it in. She is obviously a really good player with a lot of potential. I'm sure she didn't play the way she wanted, but I think I was able to put some pressure on her," said Venus after the match.

"I made more errors than yesterday. I rushed a little bit in the first set and then realized it in the second and started pulling back a little bit on my shots."

Vera Zvonareva, the fifth-seeded Russian, advanced when former Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli quit while trailing 2-5 because of painful blisters in her feet. Dominika Cibulkova, the 12th seed from Slovakia also retired after feeling sick in the deciding set against Russian qualifier Elena Vesnina, who had upset the seventh-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova in the second round.

The Dubai Tennis Championship, a WTA Tour Premier-5 event, has attracted a quality field this year with nine of the top-10 players in the WTA Tour rankings competing.

But the tournament was overshadowed by the Emirates' refusal to grant a visa to Israeli player Shahar Peer, a move that could lead to the event being struck from next year's calendar.

Organisers of the Dubai Tennis Championships have said Peer was denied a visa last weekend due to security concerns. Citing fan anger over Israel's recent military offensive in the Gaza Strip, they said they feared riots could break out.

AP