x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Early finish can't spoil girls' party

Jelena Jankovic's semi-final exit in the Sony Ericsson Championships has not put a downer on her seeing the year out as world No 1.

DOHA // Jelena Jankovic and Elena Dementieva may have finished their season a match earlier than they would have liked after being beaten in the semi-finals of the Sony Ericssson Championships here but they will look back on 2008 as one to savour. Jankovic's pride at ending the year as world No 1 is immeasurable and she left her inquisitors in no doubt how much the honour means to her as she wrestles with the problem of not having won one of the grand slams.

Venus Williams, who beat her in the semi-finals, has expressed reservations about how the rankings tend to reflect consistency ahead of ability. Jankovic knows there is a big gap on her record but refuses to allow that to take the gloss off her achievement in a year when five women have claimed the No 1 position. Jankovic is now setting her sights on one of the four major prizes and will have a long rest - "my bikinis are packed but my rackets are not", she said - before trying to justify top seeding in the Australian Open.

Jankovic laughed off the grand slam issue. "I'm leaving that until next year," she said. "If I do everything now, what will I do next year? So that is my goal for next year - to win grand slams." Dementieva, who lost her semi-final to Vera Zvonareva, was another with plenty to smile about. An Olympic gold medal was the highlight of a year which also featured a triumph in the Dubai Championships in February.

Dementieva is aware that her service is holding her back in her quest for greater honours. She said: "I realise that there is still a lot of work to be done in that area. I am working hard to make it better.". wjohnson@thenational.ae