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August 21, 2011

Jelena Jankovic


M. SHARAPOVA/J. Jankovic
4-6, 7-6, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You played her several times now. Is that a common thread of yours, what happens when you win and lose, what you're doing well when you win and what maybe not so well when you lose against her?
JELENA JANKOVIC: What do you mean?

Q. Is there parts of your game that break down?
JELENA JANKOVIC: No, today I thought it was a good battle out there. I mean, this match could have gone either way. I had my chances. I had a set. You know, I came back from being 4-1 down, and then we played that tiebreaker and it was a few points.
It could have gone my way as well and I could have finished in two sets, but unfortunately it didn't happen. You know, that's part of the sport. It shows that the match is not over until you shake the hands.
So we fought, both of us, we fought until the end. I think my biggest mistake was that I didn't serve so well today. I would break her many times and I would have the lead, and I would serve to, you know, go, you know, two games ahead.
You know, for example 2-1 I would serve to go up 3-1, and I didn't make a lot of first serves so I could have the advantage and get some more free points. Especially in that third set and maybe at the end of the second, I was playing with a lot of second serves, which is tough, especially against Maria.
So unfortunately that didn't go my way. It was just the way it is. The conditions were pretty tough as well because it was windy. And I felt especially on this other side, you know, the far end, that it was tougher, you know, to hold my serve and as well to break her.
But like it is for me it was for her. You know, it was unfortunate for me. I tried my best. Some things worked and some things didn't work out.
Overall, you know, at the end she was the better player and won the match.

Q. There was also lost of double faults. You had 9 and she had 11. Anything you can point to?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, I don't know what that was. Maybe as well the wind played a bit of a role, because sometimes I would toss it and it would go too far in front or somewhere where it's not my hitting zone.
But I don't want to make excuses. Just it wasn't my serving day. You know, I served a lot better, you know, in the last, you know, couple of the matches. Today, unfortunately, you know, it wasn't there. I wish it was, because it would be, you know, a big difference.

Q. Overall you have to be pretty happy with your week here in Cincinnati making the final as the 13th seed who no one was really looking at as a favorite going in.
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, but you can never know. I'm pretty unpredictable. As you guys can know. I can always be its dark horse.
Um, yeah, I mean, if somebody told me I was going to play a final here, you know, I would right away sign the paper, because I wasn't doing well and lost in the first round in Toronto the week before and haven't played matches since Wimbledon. So I was kind of, you know, rusty and didn't feel really comfortable and confident with my game.
I mean, you get that when you play a lot, when you keep winning matches, and that's what happened to me here. I started off the tournament, got a couple rounds, and with each match I was getting better and better and my level of tennis was getting higher and higher.
I feel good about my game now. Obviously I can improve and get better. There are things that, you know, I've done well and haven't done well. But I will just work, work hard, and I look forward to playing my next tournament and playing, you know, obviously the US Open, which is my, you know, goal to do well out there, which is the most important one.

Q. How much confidence does this give you going into the US Open?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Gives me a lot of confidence because I've beaten a lot of good players here that are in-form. Today as well I could have won. It was few points here and there. It proves to myself that I'm right there.
You know, just certain things. You know, little more focus in the big points and, you know, a little more belief in myself at times when times get tough, it can, you know, be good for me hopefully in the future.
So I don't really worry now. You know, I'm happy with my week here. I was happy to be in the finals again, and, you know, it's a pretty good result.
Obviously I wish I would have won the tournament. Everybody wishes that they can, you know, win the title. But there is only one winner each week, you know. This week was Maria. I'm the second one, and it's not that bad.

Q. The crowd really seemed to be pulling for you. In such a close match, does that give you a lot more confidence in your play?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, I think the crowd was pretty amazing. You know, it was nice atmosphere, and I have a lot of fans here, Serbian and as well American and from different parts of the world, which is nice to see.
I really appreciate that. I think they, you know, enjoyed, you know, the tennis. I think they got their, you know, money's worth of their tickets. They watched quite a lot of tennis, three hours of tennis, which is, you know, pretty good.
Like I said, you know, for me it was a good week. I got nice support from the crowd, played some good tennis, and I couldn't ask for more, I mean, especially before the Open.
I was looking to play a lot of matches and especially playing against the top players and doing well against them. That's what I needed to boost my confidence and to feel good, you know, before I go to the Open.

Q. You mentioned being a dark horse and being unpredictable. Do you enjoy that role?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I'm not really a dark horse. Obviously being No. 1 in the past -- I was No. 1 in the world, so I don't think you can ever underestimate somebody that was the best player in the world in 2008.
But just, you know, maybe because I was not playing so much lately, I wasn't really -- I'm this kind of a player that the more I play the better I get. Sometimes I have difficulty after a long break to kind of get myself going and kind of know what I'm doing in the right times. Sometimes I think too much or I want to do this and that.
At the end, I managed to choose the wrong options. But as soon as I started playing and competing again, I get to be my old self. Then I can be dangerous and I can beat anybody. I have beaten almost everybody on the tour, doesn't matter which ranking they are.

Q. In the second set tiebreaker you were ahead 3-2, and then you lost like 5 straight points. Take me through that series of points. What happened there where she got on a roll?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Yeah, she played well. You know, there were some tight points, some rallies, and just didn't go my way. I made some mistakes as well and she took advantage of that.
You know, anything can happen, especially in a tiebreaker. You know, I mean, it's few points here and there. Some luck, some skill, and there you go.

Q. You looked a little bit nervous at the beginning. Were you nervous?
JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know if -- I wasn't really nervous, I was a little flat. I was kind of -- I didn't have that energy inside of me, that fire I need to play. Maybe it was because of the rain delay. I was kind of sitting around and waiting to go on the court.
When I came out, I was kind of like sleepy, like I needed a coffee to wake up and get myself going. Then little by little I kind of -- I was down 4-1 and she was really on a roll. You know, she was hitting balls, you know, almost with closed eyes and they were going in. I had, you know, no chance at that time. I wasn't moving well, hitting the ball well, and she was doing everything right. So credit to her.
But then I kind of started to play a little better. I kind of threw her off her rhythm and I kind of got into the match and gave her a hard time.
I had the lead and I was up a set and 2-Love, and then that serve never happened. When I needed it the most, you know, it kind of gave up on me. There's nothing you can do. I mean, it was unfortunate.

Q. Almost half of your unforced errors seemed to be on your backhand side. Was there any particular problems with that shot?
JELENA JANKOVIC: Maybe I wasn't bending enough. You know, my legs are a little bit tired. I been playing quite a lot. You know, obviously when you have to hit certain shots you got to use your legs and bend your knees and kind of get under every ball. Sometimes I was lifting up and kind of -- then the ball would fly.
You know, obviously there is things that I didn't do well. I should have bent my knees and moved my feet better and should have accelerated my arm at times a lot better.
But I didn't do it. Hopefully next time will be better.

Q. In your mind, who are now the favorites going into the US Open?
JELENA JANKOVIC: You know, I want to believe that I'm going to be up there as well. You know, I can mention names. I can obviously Maria, Williams sisters. I don't know. Clijsters is not playing.
But overall, I want to believe that I can go far. I been a finalist over there. I was semifinalist, quarterfinalist over the years, so I have good results in the past and I love playing over there. I love the crowd, the atmosphere, you know, the vibe that you feel over there when you're playing in New York.
I think it's a pretty special place. It brings, I think, the most out of me when it comes to Grand Slams. I really hope that I can, you know, give my best and play some good tennis there and go far. I will try my best.

Q. I know this was a tough loss, but what are some of the positives you take of the whole week, combined event, first time here for that, just playing in Cincinnati?
JELENA JANKOVIC: The positives are for me, you know, I played, you know, a lot of matches. I competed well. You know, I was playing some good tennis, you know, at times.
And today as well. I was fighting. Even though sometimes I wasn't playing so well, I was still in there. I was still in the match and still trying to figure out my way, you know, to get through.
You know, I think that's the most important thing. I mean, I was getting down on myself, but I was still there. I never, you know, thought I was going to lose or never -- you know, there was never, you know, a thing in my mind that, you know, I'm not going to come up as the winner.
I always believed now matter how much of a difference it is, you know, or she's leading 5-Love or whatever it is, I'm still there. If she's going to beat me, she's going to really, you know, play her best tennis and, you know, really give her 100%, if not more to, you know, get me off the court.
That's what I did. I was there. I was competing. I was playing. I was really grinding. You know, I cannot really ask for more. Unfortunately didn't go my way. You know, Maria, at the end, was a better player. Congratulations to her.
I was the finalist, and I don't want to complain about that. You know, I would be frustrated if I lost in the first round, but to be in the finals, it's a pretty good result as well.

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