Former Champ Jankovic Wins Through the Hard Way

Sometimes you have to go about winning the hard way.

That’s what former Volvo Car Open champion Jelena Jankovic did on Tuesday, the No. 6 seed needing a third set after having a match point in the second to defeat Tatjana Maria 6-3, 6-7(1), 6-1 to move into the third round.

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Jankovic, the No. 6 here, won this title in 2007 and was a runner up in 2013. But the former world No. 1 was tested by the German Maria, who last week shocked Genie Bouchard (Charleston’s No. 1 seed) in Miami.

“It was not easy for me mentally when I lost the second set, but I… let all that frustration out and was able to play well in the third,” the 30 year old from Serbia said after the win. “I started playing aggressively again. I took control again of the match, and I finished it off nicely, so I’m glad I was able to do that.”

Jankovic will not play again on Thursday, facing the winner of No. 12 seed Belinda Bencic or up-and-comer Danka Kovinic, a qualifier who idolized Jankovic growing up and is from Serbia’s neighboring nation of Montenegro.

Jankovic was joined by in the winner’s circle by fellow former winner Sam Stosur as well as American Sloane Stephens, No. 8 seed Caroline Garcia and Jana Cepelova, a surprise finalist here a year ago.

The win marked a 20th career singles victory here for Jankovic, who has lost just nine matches in Charleston. She said she saw some recognizable faces during Ladies’ Day Out in the crowd.

“It’s nice to see the familiar faces have that support from the crowd,” Jankovic said. “And I really enjoy it. It’s very nice, very very nice atmosphere out there. It’s a beautiful court. I love the sofas. I love the stadium, and yeah, they push me when it gets tough out there. So I really like that and appreciate it.”

Jankovic will have Wednesday off to prepare for her third round match. She’ll need the rest after failing to capitalize on that second-set match point.

“I’m going to have ups and downs, and it’s important to figure out a way to win and stay strong mentally, and as well physically,” Jankovic explained. “I showed after losing that second set and having a match point, I was able to regroup and shake it off.”