By Ros Satar
(June 3, 2013) PARIS – Jelena Jankovic continued her good run of form with a systematic dismantling of Jamie Hampton 6-0, 6-2, as they took to the court after a thrilling five-setter between Richard Gasquet and Stanislas Wawrinka.
In an embarrassingly empty stadium, Jankovic wasted no time at all, winning the first set to love, in just 25 minutes.
Hampton was left looking very frustrated with herself, as she rushed shots while Jankovic exhibited pinpoint accuracy, painting the lines, and moving Hampton all around the court.
The second set started better for Hampton with an immediate break of Jankovic’s serve, but was broken straight back.
Hampton gave up a break to love after the change of ends, and from then on, Jankovic was on a mission to get the job done, in the fading light.
Jankovic said: “I was hitting my shots, I didn’t really allow Jamie to play her tennis.
“I was hitting the ball very cleanly, and very solid and went after my shots. I’m pretty pleased with my performance.”
Knowing that the amount of available light was limited, the Serb focused purely on her execution, explaining: “If I start rushing, I might ruin it, I might lose that lead, so I just tried to stay focused in that moment, focused on what I was doing out there.”
Jankovic is coming on her way back up and believes a lot of it is down to regaining the self-belief she had lost with early round defeats last season,
She said: “I go now for my shots and I believe I can make it, especially that backhand which is the shot that pays my bills [laughing].”
But for Hampton, it was a time to reflect on what went wrong, and how to go forward.
After the match, she said: “Obviously you don’t want to lose 0 and 2 in the R16 at a grand slam.
“Today was just a tough day.”
But despite the loss, she can take a lot of positives from this year’s clay court appearances, and has a lot to look forward to.
Compared to last year, with a single win on clay, and a back injury, she has made the semifinals of a WTA Premier event, made it to the second week of a slam for the first time, and uninjured.
She said: “I’m really looking forward to the grass because it suits my game a bit more ad I really have nothing to defend until the US Open.
“It’s a good time for me.”
Jankovic will meet Maria Sharapova, who halted the progress of another promising young American, Sloane Stephens.
Sharapova defeated the twenty-year-old in Rome 6-2, 6-1 and Stephens certainly gave a better account of herself today, mostly going toe to toe with Sharapova.
Losing today, 6-4 6-3, Stephens gave this analysis of her performance.
“It was just kind of a couple points here and there, she broke me, and things like that.
“But I thought I stayed pretty tough and I played solid, so I was happy with it.”
Sharapova agreed that Stephens’ performance had improved from their match in Rome.
She said: “I think she has a tremendous amount of potential.
“I think she has a lot of things in her game that she can ‑‑ in which there is a lot of room for improvement.”
Looking ahead to the quarter-final against her old Bollettieri Academy alumni, she said: “I think the clay really suits her game.
“I think she’s a great retriever, gets, you know, a lot of balls back.
“She’s playing much more consistent I believe than maybe she’s done in the last couple of years, which is nice to see, because she was at that level, you know, and she maintained that level for quite a bit of time.
“But, yeah, she’s a tough opponent.”