Jankovic, Clijsters looking for mini-comebacks

August 9, 2010 10:01 PM
Jelena Jankovic in action last week in San Diego

MASON, Ohio (AP) -- Jelena Jankovic is hoping to get tournament-tough with a long string of matches. Kim Clijsters just wants to get back into the flow.

Living up to their Cincinnati Open seeds will help both players reach their goals.

The second-ranked Jankovic is the defending champion and No. 1 seed and the seventh-ranked Clijsters is seeded fourth in the $2 million Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open, which started Monday. Jankovic is coming off a first-round loss last week in San Diego, her first match since injuring her left ankle in the second round of a tournament in Slovenia in mid-July.

"My ankle's OK,'' said Jankovic, who also had to retire from her fourth-round match at Wimbledon with lower back problems. "I've been able to practice the last couple of days. Now, it's feeling good. I'm looking forward to getting back to playing.''

The former No. 1 player, who got a first-round bye, is scheduled to play qualifier Vera Dushevina in the second round. The 71st-ranked Dushevina advanced in straight sets, beating Anastasia Rodionova 6-2, 7-6 (7) on Monday.

Ana Ivanovic lost the first set and was down 2-4 in the second before charging back to win that set in a tiebreaker and go on to upset ninth-seeded Victoria Azarenka 2-6, 7-6 (6), 6-2 in a grueling first-round match that lasted 2:14 on Monday night. The 62nd-ranked Ivanovic built on the momentum of winning the tiebreaker to break Azarenka's serve in the first game of the third set and never looked back, clinching the win with a successful challenge on match point.

Clijsters, the defending US Open champion, also got a first-round bye. The Belgian is scheduled to meet No. 35 Dinara Safina in a second-round rematch of last year's quarterfinal. Safina, who beat Clijsters in straight sets last year, advanced Monday with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Roberta Vinci.

Clijsters hasn't played a tournament since losing in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, settling for playing World TeamTennis and doubles.

"It's been awhile,'' she said. "I'm looking forward to playing a match. It doesn't matter who I play.''

Serena and Venus Williams both had to skip the tournament because of injuries. Serena, ranked No. 1, is out with a foot injury, while a knee problem has sidelined No. 4 Venus.

In other first-round matches on Monday, qualifier Bojana Jovanovski rallied to upset 14th-seeded Aravane Rezai 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. The first-round loss was the second straight for Rezai. The 19th-ranked Frenchwoman lost in the first round last week at San Diego.

Jovanovski, ranked 98th, will meet Akgul Amanmuradova in the second round. Amanmuradova cruised past Kimiko Date Krumm 6-1, 6-2 in a matchup of qualifiers.

Shahar Peer became the first seeded player to advance with a win when Olga Govortsova retired because of heat illness, giving the 13th seed a 6-3, 4-1 win. Peer will meet Nuria Llagostera Vives in the second round. Vives needed three sets to eliminate Vania King, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, while Sara Errani moved on with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Jamie Hampton.

Temperatures reached the mid-90s during the afternoon matches.

Sixteenth-seeded Marion Bartoli followed Peer into the second round, rolling over Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-4, 6-0. Bartoli will face Alona Bondarenko in the second round. Bondarenko came from behind for a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 win over Dominika Cibulkova.

Qualifier Monica Niculescu also won, knocking off 91st-ranked Sabine Lisicki 6-3, 6-0, while Yaroslava Shvedova defeated Alla Kudryavtseva 7-5, 6-4, qualifier Ayumi Morita knocked off Arantxa Parra Santonja 7-6 (7), 6-2, and Alisa Kleybanova beat Alexandra Dulgheru, 6-4, 6-4.