In the golden period of her career Jelena Jankovic won back-to-back Internazionali BNL d’Italia titles (2007 and 2008) and after years of predominantly weak results, the Serb has been experiencing a revival of sorts recently, with this spring’s Miami semifinals and Charleston final, and today’s triumph in the grinder against fifth seed Li Na is another reminder that the former world No.1’s abilities should not be given up on. In two hours and 39 minutes, the unseeded Jankovic eliminated Li 7-6(2) 7-5. After resisting Li’s initial 2-0 lead, then her recovery from 5-3 down and the saving of five set points, Jankovic won the first set in the tiebreak, while in the second set she did not let the victory slip away when Li recovered from the brink of defeat, saved a match point and leveled to 5-5. Jankovic broke her serve again and closed the match in the following game.
Jankovic’s quarterfinal opponent will be Simona Halep who relentlessly keeps progressing – after victories over Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska, the Romanian upset seed No.13 Roberta Vinci 6-4 6-2.
In other Thursday’s third-round matches, top seed Serena Williams raced past seed No.14 Dominika Cibulkova 6-0 6-1 and will next play Carla Suárez Navarro, who beat Lourdes Domínguez Lino 6-2 6-3. Ninth seed Samantha Stosur snapped a 0-4 head-to-head record against eighth seed Petra Kvitova, defeating her 7-5 2-6 6-1, and next up for her is third seed Victoria Azarenka, whose opponent Ayumi Morita retired at 6-1 2-0. Sara Errani's opponent Maria Kirilenko also retired, at 6-3 2-0, and in the quarterfinals the seventh-seeded Italian will play second seed Maria Sharapova, who was better than Sloane Stephens 6-2 6-1. (photo by Francesca Moscatelli)