恩高域勇奪保誠香港網球公開賽冠軍

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Former world number one Jelena Jankovic of Serbia has set her sights firmly on winning her first Grand Slam title after she stormed back from a first set loss to out-power and out-muscle Germany’s Angelique Kerber in the final of the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open on Sunday.

Fourth seed Jankovic slugged her way in a three-set thriller, coming back from the brink to defeat second-seeded Kerber 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-1 in front of a capacity 3,500-strong crowd at Hong Kong’s Victoria Park centre court.

The victory was Jankovic’s second WTA title this year – and 15th in her career - following her triumph in the opening leg of the Asian swing in Guangzhou last month. Jankovic, who is now ranked 24th, reigned briefly at the top of the WTA rankings in 2008.

“This victory will do my confidence a world of good. Beating Angelique and my win over Venus (Williams) in the semi-finals proves I can still play at the top level and if I work hard, maybe I can win a Grand Slam next year,” said the 30-year-old Jankovic.

A last-minute wild card entry, Jankovic held her nerve to win the second set on a tie-break and force a deciding set which she easily won breaking a dis-spirited Gerber twice.

“It was tough. It is never easy playing Angelique for every ball is being returned. She defeated me in three sets in Wuhan a few weeks ago and I thought this would go the same way. But I tried to stay focused and positive and it worked,” Jankovic said.

World number nine Kerber’s hopes of winning her fifth title this season and booking a place in the WTA Finals fell apart as her serve deserted her midway through the match.

“It was tough. I have played her many times and we both know each other’s game very well. She deserved to win today,” said a disappointed Kerber.

Four double faults at crucial stages in the second set saw the pressure pile on the left-handed Kerber. Both players traded service breaks twice to push the second set to a tiebreak.

Jankovic, who had also conquered Venus Williams in the semi-final with her attritional baseline game, won the tiebreak 7-4 to level the score at one set apiece and with the momentum firmly behind her.

Jankovic continued to rely on her powerful double-handed backhand to out-slug Kerber whose confidence had hit rock-bottom by now. An early break in the deciding set allowed Jankovic to take a 3-0 lead. Despite a medical timeout at this stage, Kerber couldn’t re-discover the spark as she tamely folded dropping her serve again in the sixth game.

“If I continue to work hard and stay injury free and healthy, I’m confident I can have a good season next year. My goals will be the majors. I’m not thinking about my rankings for if I have the confidence and self-belief, the results will come,” said Jankovic whose next tournament will be in Luxemburg starting Monday.

The 27-year-old Kerber will now have to rely on a strong showing at the final WTA tournament in Moscow, starting Monday (Oct 19), to see if she will remain among the top eight on the Road to Singapore race. Five players have now confirmed their places in the WTA Finals – Simona Halep, Maria Sharapova, Garbine Muguraza, Petra Kitova and Agnieszka Radawanska.

“I have entered to play in Moscow but I will have to see how I shape up,” said Kerber who revealed she has been struggling with a back injury.

“I don’t want to use that as an excuse for my performance today. Jelena deserved to win,” Kerber said.

In the doubles final, fourth seeds Alize Cornet of France and Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan defeated top seeds Lara Arruabarrena of Spain and Andreja Klepac of Slovakia 7-5, 6-4.

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