Los Angeles: August 6-12

August 13, 2006 08:54 PM

By BETH HARRIS

CARSON, Calif. (AP) -- Elena Dementieva overcame her own nerves and Jelena Jankovic's gambling style for 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 victory in the JPMorgan Chase Open final Sunday.

Dementieva smacked a crosscourt forehand winner on her third championship point of the 2{-hour match, then jumped and squealed with delight at winning her sixth career title.

Dementieva's nerves were apparent a game earlier, when she sidearmed some serves in and got broken at 5-4 after squandering two match points.

Serving out the match, Jankovic used the new electronic line-calling system to challenge an in call trailing 15-30 -- a gutsy move because if she had been wrong, she would have faced triple match point.

She was right, the ball was out, but her subsequent backhand error set up Dementieva's third and final match point.

Dementieva, a 24-year-old Russian who was the 2004 U.S. Open runner-up, raced to a 5-0 lead in the third set. But Jankovic reeled off four consecutive games to get back in the match after receiving treatment for heat-related symptoms.

Both players cooled down with ice packs during changeovers. In between sets, Dementieva left the court to change her clothes while Jankovic stayed in the heat and amused herself by watching the stadium's ``kiss cam.''

Dementieva, who beat top-seeded Maria Sharapova in the semifinals, earned $95,500 for the win.

Jankovic, a 21-year-old from Serbia and Montenegro who lives in Bradenton, Fla., reached her fifth career final. She won her lone title on clay in 2004.

Jankovic fell to 2-18 against top-10 players in her career, although she pushed Sunday's loss to three sets for the third consecutive tournament, having lost to No. 2 Kim Clijsters at Stanford and Carlsbad, Calif.

Jankovic nearly quit tennis earlier this year, when she won one match in her first 10 tournaments. But she eventually turned things around and is 24-10 in her last 10 events, including victories over Venus Williams at Wimbledon and Serena Williams in the semifinals here.

Dementieva is projected to move from sixth to fifth when the WTA Tour rankings are released Monday, her first time back in the top five since July 2005. Jankovic will move from 28th to 21st.

 

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