World No. 1 Serena Williams and world No. 7 Jelena Jankovic will meet for the first time in 2014 in the quarter-final round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, in what should be an entertaining clash. This marks the fourteenth time these two will meet on the professional tour, with Williams leading the head-to-head series 9-4.
It took world No. 1 Serena Williams a while to adjust to the conditions in Dubai. In her opening round match against Makarova, she trailed 1-3 in the first set, broke back, trailed 3-5, broke back again, and found herself in trouble when she was down 4-6 in the tie-break, with two set points against her. After managing to escape the opening set, Williams began to hit the ball will her usual authority, and proceeded to win the following set 6-0. It was not her usual standards, but ultimately it got the job done and sent the top seed into the quarter-final round, where she will meet Serbian No. 1 Jelena Jankovic – who she is well accustomed to on court.
“I felt so rusty out there and a little frustrated – I’ve been practicing, but I was like, ‘Gosh, this isn’t what I practiced,'” Williams said after the match. “But I was just really excited to get through that. I was really telling myself to stay positive, because I was making a lot of unforced errors that I don’t normally make, and my serve just wasn’t popping the way it usually does. I’m happy for the win, but I’m going to have to play better if I want to do better here.”
World No. 7 Jelena Jankovic has been one of the most consistent players on the tour so far this season. She reached the semi-finals in Brisbane, the fourth round of the Australian Open, as well as the semi-final stage in Doha last week. Her only blunder was in Sydney, where she exited in the opening round to Ekaterina Makarova. This week she has managed two straight set victories over Zanevska and Safarova to arrive at a semi-final clash with Williams.
This marks the fourteenth time these two will meet on the professional tour, with Williams leading the head-to-head series 9-4. The American has also won their last four consecutive encounters dating back to a London match-up in 2012. Their last meeting in Istanbul was a competitive one, as the Serb has Williams in trouble at several points during the match, yet Serena ultimately prevailed 6-4 in the deciding set. Tomorrow’s match-up will likely be another close one, yet the top seed should find a way to snatch the victory.
Prediction: Serena Williams in Three Sets