CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Jelena Jankovic advanced to the final of
the Family Circle Cup, winning a marathon match Saturday against
Venus Williams for her second straight win against the American
coming back from a wrist injury.
Jankovic, who won 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5) also beat Williams last year
on the grass at Wimbledon.
She now meets fourth-seeded Dinara Safina, who advanced when
fellow Russian Vera Zvonareva, who had a wrist injury, withdrew
from the other semifinal.
Jankovic and Williams contested every point for just over 2½
hours on the green clay at Daniel Island. In the end, the only
thing that separated them was the last two points of the third-set
They were tied 5-5 when Williams hit a forehand long, putting
Jankovic up by one.
On the next point, Jankovic sent a shot past Williams along the
sideline. She started to celebrate, but Williams reacted as though
it was out. The umpire checked the spot, determined it was in and
Jankovic raised her arms in triumph.
"She kind of like was going to shake my hand and then she was
in doubt," Jankovic said. "So I was really lucky on that one to
win. It was great."
"I'm just tired. I've had a long week and I did my best," said
Williams, who had 13 double faults to only two for her opponent.
"I'm just going home."
Both Safina, ranked No. 12 in the world, and Zvonareva, ranked
No. 20, said Friday they had nagging wrist injuries. Both retired
from their doubles matches Friday so they could concentrate on the
Safina was leading 6-3, 0-1 when Zvonareva, whose wrist had been
bothering her all week, retired. Zvonareva said it hurt from the
beginning of the match and "it just got really bad to the point I
wasn't able to perform."
It was the second match in a row Safina's opponent has retired.
Tatiana Golovin of France retired from their Friday evening match
at the end of the first set with an injured ankle.
Williams, ranked No. 29, was playing in her fourth tournament of
the year after being sidelined earlier with a wrist injury.
Williams, like the other semifinalists, won all her earlier Family
Circle matches in straight sets.
"The encouraging part is that, if I just clean up my game some,
I know I can play a lot better," she said.