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Jelena Jankovic stays without victory over Justine Henin after tenth meeting

Jelena JankovicI sometimes think that a win over Justine Henin would be a greater career achievement for Jelena Jankovic than a Grand Slam title. Both are former world No.1s, but Jankovic has an embarrassing 0-10 record against Henin.

Jankovic was close to defeating Henin many times. They have played six three-setters so far, including today in the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix quarterfinals, but Jankovic never had the nerve or that important something to go all the way. Moreover, out of those six matches played in three sets, Jankovic won the first set five times, which was the case today as well.

The two hadn’t met since the 2007 Sony Ericsson Championships and today’s quarterfinal in Stuttgart was interesting because it was their first encounter since Henin came out of retirement. As many times before, things started well for the fourth-seeded Jankovic and she took the first set 6-3. In the second set Henin hit 24 unforced errors to Jankovic’s 11, but the Belgian wildcard had 24 winners compared to Jankovic’s 8. Nevertheless, Jankovic had a chance to win the set, as she lost only in the tiebreak which ended with the score 7-4. In the third set Jankovic came back from 0-2 to lead 3-2, but then the beginning of her end started and she finally lost the match 3-6 7-6(4) 6-3.

Henin’s opponent in the semifinals will be Shahar Peer of Israel, who advanced with a 6-3 6-2 victory over rusty Dinara Safina, seeded second. (photo: sr_cranks)

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11 thoughts on “Jelena Jankovic stays without victory over Justine Henin after tenth meeting

  1. jo

    jankovic really came out storming in the 1st set, very balanced, aggressive but consistent. she was really on the way of winning the match up until the mid of 2nd set. but then justine being justine fought so hard to stay in the match, time and again just pushing to build her game igoring previous errors to prove that her game will eventually work. and it did, such a belief was incredible! i am so glad justine came back from behind. but overall, really great match, fighting, battling between the two.

  2. marine

    Sounds like I missed a hell of a match :-(. Jelena must be down after yet another defeat from Henin. Kudos to her for putting up a fight though. I think that with such a negative head 2 head a lot of players would just go for a "good loss" kind of result but she was really trying.

  3. bb

    Honestly…all their matches are on a really high level. Always were/are and hope to be. I do not agree with you Marija that JJ would have a better achievement if she beats in Henin in comparison to a Grand Slam. After all, the majority of their matches were so close that is was anyone's win. My best tennis experience was watching them play the final of the Rogers Cup in 2007. It was magical, although most people were for JJ, Henin pulled it off in a nail biter. It was thrilling!

  4. Bróna

    Marija, I do agree with you about what you said regarding their head-to-head. In many ways, Jelena's career has been stopped from reaching its full potential by Henin with all those losses. Think of the US Open 2006. If Jelena had won that match, who knows how different how her career could have been. That said, Justine is a far better player than Jelena and the head-to-head is not so surprising.

  5. Jelena S.

    I totally agree with Bróna. If Henin wasn't there a couple of years ago, Jelena would certenly have many Grand Slam titles "under her belt". I don't think Jelena's scared, I also think that Jelena has the mental strenght, but sometimes she seems not concentrated and uninterested.

    But overall, I think Jelena plays the best tennis of her career, and she is one of the favourites for Roland Garros.

  6. mg

    Agrh, Jelena was close and lost again! She played great first set, been agressive and focused, but from the middle of the second set her concentration and ofense had started falling and falling, she was being more and more stucked in defense (so typical for her), while Justine started playing her game, and, even though she made many errors, she managed to win the second set. And that was the moment I just knew she was going to lose the match. Mostly probably because you could see Jelena think that too. Yes, she did fight, but you could see that she just does not believe in victory. Too bad.

  7. bb

    Yassine! I totally agree on that thought!

    An amazing final between JJ and Henin, and JJ winning would be the sweetest moment of her career! That would be the best achievement! I hope to see that! Nevertheless, I hope JJ wins…THE TIME HAS COME!

  8. laura

    jelena is one of the nicest people on earth and eventhough she did't won against justine one time the moment gets closer and closer when she will demolish henin, propably wimbledon or us-open.

  9. marine

    I think it's also Jelena's mental game loses her matches on big stages. Henin has a big mental edge over her, and having played Jelena so many times before she probably knows how to get her out of her comfort zone.

  10. Marija Post author

    Bróna, exactly that, imagine Jelena's career if there hadn't been for Justine!

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