Monday, June 1, 2009

Oh, my aching confidence

She had an abdominal strain going into the round of 16, and once she got there, she had a sore toe. But according to 5th seed Jelena Jankovic, it wasn't her abs or her foot that hampered her in her match against the unseeded Sorana Cirstea: It was her lack of confidence. By her own account, the beginning of Jankovic's season was "a catastrophe." Since then, she said, she has not had enough belief that her shots will go in, and consequently--in big moments--she hesitates.

There were plenty of big moments in the third set of that match. Jankovic was 6-5, 30-0, and just when it looked like she was going to win--albeit the hard way--the visibly exhausted Cirstea came to life and brought the set to 6-all. She would go on to win the match, 3-6, 6-0, 9-7. Cirstea wound up with eight more unforced errors than her opponent, but she also hit almost twice as many winners. She had just about everything going for her, including the ability to stay calm when the atmosphere was tense.

This match was memorable, especially the third set, in which two tired women--both good movers and good tacticians--gave it all they had. And once again, Jankovic's failure to win easy points on her serve helped to do her in.

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