|photo by Daniel Ward|
The Serb played her first round match today, and--like clockwork--a tornado warning appeared on our phones and computers. While JJ was in the stadium hitting and sliding, the rest of us were trying to figure out a safe exit strategy.
There was a lot of rain, but it didn't last a long time. However, as long as Queen Chaos (Todd Spiker's perfect nickname for Jankovic) is in the draw, I'm not letting my guard down.
2007 champion Jankovic won her match, as did 2014 champion Andrea Petkovic. And the tornado warning, as tense as it was, wasn't the most exciting thing that happened today: That would be the three-hour and 19-minute battle fought between Lesia Tsurenko and 2016 quarterfinalist Laura Siegemund on the Althea Gibson Club Court.
|Laura Siegemund (photo by Daniel Ward)|
The third set was about as tense as they come. Tsurenko was grimacing in pain, sometimes stopping to bend and stretch her thigh. Her opponent's drop shots were often lethal, but Tsurenko returned the favor on several occasions, giving the German a bitter dose of her own medicine. Siegemund served for the match twice, and both times, she got tight and double-faulted her chances away.
In the meantime, Tsurenko, sensing her chances, loosened up; she was obviously now running on adrenalin and able to ignore the pain. But in the third set tiebreak, the Ukrainian player still came up short, and a very animated Siegemund was able to hit an emphatic match point and advance to the second round.
This match reminded me of a match played last year, also on Althea Gibson, between Mirjana Lucic-Baroni and Kiki Mladenovic. The atmosphere was similar, and it appeared that neither player could grab a victory until finally, Lucic-Baroni sealed it in a 15-13 third set tiebreak.