x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Two points too far for Jankovic as Cirstea flies Romanian flag

Jelena Jankovic was just two points from overcoming a disastrous second set and reaching the quarterfinals of the French Open on Monday night.

Jelena Jankovic was just two points from overcoming a disastrous second set and reaching the quarterfinals of the French Open on Monday night. It was two points too many. The fifth-seeded Jankovic lost to Sorana Cirstea of Romania 3-6, 6-0, 9-7 in the fourth round and afterwards she blamed herself. "I should have won that," said Jankovic, who won the first two points on serve while leading 5-4 in the third set.

"I had 30-love, and what more can I ask for myself? All of a sudden, point by point, and the game went in her favour and everything got complicated." Cirstea started her comeback in that game with a forehand winner into the corner. Jankovic stared at the spot for several seconds - not the first time and not the last time she would do that on Court Suzanne Lenglen. The Romanian Cirstea, the first woman from her country to reach the quarter-finals at a major tournament since Irina Spirlea made the US Open semi-finals in 1997, then took the score to 30-30 and eventually broke Jankovic to stay in the match when the Serb first sent a backhand and then a forehand long.

"I should have gone more for my shots and reached a little more and tried to finish off the match point by point," Jankovic said. "It was a really tough match and tough loss for me." In the second set, Jankovic said she had pain in her left foot. She even called for a trainer to look at it, but continued to play. "It was hurting me inside [the shoe], but after that it was fine," said Jankovic, who has also complained about abdominal pain at this year's tournament. "I forgot about it."

Cristea, who today plays the No 30 seed Samanth Stosur from Australia, said: "I knew it was also a little bit mental, who is going to stay stronger. "I was just trying to keep the energy coming and just try to hit and keep the points shorter." * AP