Thursday, April 3, 2014

JJ and Petko go out laughing

Photo by Daniel Ward

Not long after she finished playing her third round singles match in Charleston and meeting with the press, Jelena Jankovic had to go to the Althea Gibson Club Court and play doubles with partner Andrea Petkovic. The wild card team, who beat Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond in the first round, played 3rd seeds Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears tonight, and again, the hilarity ensued.

Jankovic had barely gotten settled when she complained to nearby press members that she was starving. She ate some fruit, then there was a lot of business with a bottle of protein powder, which Petko tried to open, but some of the powder wound up on JJ. This is probably the funniest doubles team to ever get together (and let's not forget that Jankovic used to play doubles with Li Na, but that was a long time ago, before Li became a world-class comic).

And though they continued to crack one another up throughout the match, Jankovic and Petkovic gave the doubles specialists on the other side of the net some serious problems. Kops-Jones and Spears won the first set 6-4;  Jankovic and Petkovic won the second set 6-1. Then it got really interesting, and especially for me: I was sitting with my friend Steve Ferber, who is covering the tournament for the Daniel Island News. At 3-2 in the tiebreak, Steve turned to me and announced that the tiebreak would go to 16-14. Just like that.

Behind at 4-6, Jankovic and Petkovic won four consecutive points to go up 8-6. After that, the tiebreak turned into a total thriller, with Kops-Jones and Spears saving four match points, and JJ and Petko saving two match points. When it got to be 12-all, I had a funny feeling. At 14-all, I was on edge, waiting to see who would win the next point. Kops-Jones and Spears did, and then Kops-Jones and Spears won the 16th point, and the match. Of course. 16-14. I knew that. Steve told me so. Freaky.

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