Schiavone out, Jankovic advances
Top-seeded Francesca Schiavone of Italy was ousted from the Aegon Classic tournament in Birmingham after a 7-5, 6-4 loss in the first round to Miskai Dothe of Japan on Wednesday.
The Italian, who is not a top-class exponent of grass tennis, said she was disappointed by the early exit from the Wimbledon warm up even, but said she's struggling to adjust her game after the clay-court season. She is hoping to improve in time for Wimbledon and the London Olympics, which will also be played at the All England Club.
"Of course it is upsetting, but it is hard for me, it takes time to adapt to a grass court rhythm," Schiavone said.
Schiavone was only one of several seeded players exiting the Birmingham tournament early.
The sixth-seeded Mona Barthel of Germany fell to Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic 7-6 (5), 6-2 and the seventh-seeded American, Christina McHale, lost 6-1, 1-6, 7-5 to Elena Vesnina of Russia.
Former world No 1 Jelena Jankovic of Serbia staved off a bee and two set points in a 6-1, 7-6 (3) win over British wild card Melanie South to reach the Aegon Classic last 16 on Wednesday.
Jankovic's world-class groundstrokes showed their brilliance when she saved two set points from 4-5, 15-40 - just as they did when she defeated Maria Sharapova to win the Birmingham title five years ago.
"That was the last time I was here, so I would love to win it again," Jankovic said.
"I think my taste is changing because I actually do like grass and I never used to. I hit the ball pretty flat and I have the game to do well on it," she added.
Asked if that game is good enough to win Wimbledon or the Olympics, Jankovic answered, "We will see. I don't want to speak too far ahead, but there's no reason why I can't do well."
The bee bothered her not long after Jankovic played a bad service game and, trailing 4-2 in the second set, seemed ready to receive South's first service of the seventh game.
Instead, she suddenly darted towards the back stop, calling out "Wait, wait, wait." South then double-faulted.
The home hope went on to lose that service game, enabling Jankovic to climb back to parity at 4-4, though there was no question that the former champion's consistently rhythmic returning and counter-hitting made her a deserved winner.