What I am about to say is not intended to reflect in any way on Bartoli's wonderful performance (in fact, anyone who reads this blog regularly knows I admire Bartoli): Something is wrong with Jankovic.
I have already heard some people say that Jankovic played fairly well in the match, and that she was just outplayed by Bartoli. Those people must have seen a different match from the one I saw. In the match I saw, Jankovic's signature skill--her movement--was sluggish, her swing was off, and her recently improved serve was nowhere to be seen. She has been this way since she arrived in Melbourne.
What are we to make of this? I, of course, do not have the answer, but I have a clue. When the season began, Jankovic complained that she did not feel comfortable in her new, bulked-up body. I can't help but wonder whether that is the problem--that the usually speedy, resourceful and intuitive Jankovic just doesn't know what to do with this new distribution of weight.
There is also the matter of preparation. Jankovic did not compete in any of the warm-up tournaments, and she had to withdraw from the Hong Kong exhibition when she became ill. The answer could be as simple as: She just wasn't ready.
Whatever is going on, I hope we see a solution soon. In the meantime, Marion Bartoli is back in form, and when she is in form, she is hard to beat. She is also healthy, and I certainly hope she remains that way; injury has impeded Bartoli's career for too long.