The women's draw hit the serious skids during this year's Roland Garros with Maria "Shriek"apova and Venus + Serena Williams doing their best slide out of the tourney (were they ever really there?) But, alas, we've arrived at our first Women's Marquee Matchup and it pits the "swinging Serbs" - Ana Ivanovic + Jelena Jankovic - against each other for a place in Saturday's final.
Second-seeded Ana made quick work of a hair-y Patty Schnyder 6-3, 6-2 cracking 39 winners against 19 errors and 69% success on her first serve. Brown-nosing JJ, who flew home to Serbia for treatment on her sore arm after her fourth round match, looked all but recovered in dismissing Spain's rising star Carla Suarez Navarro by the same scoreline of 6-3, 6-2. The last time these countrywomen met was at Indian Wells in the semifinals when Ana took a 7-6 (3), 6-3 decision on her way to grabbing her first title in the desert.
Here's some of what Ana had to say about JJ:
Q. When you have played Jelena you've had the better of the results. Why do you think that is?
A. Well, it's hard to say, you know. Against some players who just do better than against the others. She's a tough opponent and she defends really well. You know, I try to, you know, step in and be aggressive and play my game. You know, every match is a new match, a new experience, and I just have to keep playing like I played so far.
Q. How would you describe your relationship with her?
A: Well, obviously, you know we come the same country, so we know each other for a long time. When she was younger she went to America and I went to Switzerland, so we didn't really have chance to practice together or to hang out much. So that's how we develop, as well. Now, you know, traveling, she has her own team and I have my own team. You know we don't ‑‑ yeah, we don't just hang out.
JJ had this to say about facing her compatriot:
Q. In your matches with Ana, she's had the upper hand most of the time. Why is that?
A: : I don't know. You know, she plays a different game. For me, it has been hard to follow. I didn't ‑‑ you know, it's hard to read what she's going to hit, because she likes to play short points. She just goes for broke most of the time. You know, I had troubles in the past against her, but we never ‑‑ I don't think we played on clay many times. So it's a different game and it's different circumstances, so I think it will be a completely different match. So we will see how it will go this time.
Outlook: The clay surface is notorious for exposing baller's lack of mobility and between the two Serbs, JJ is the more fluid mover. But her serve is soft, especially the second delivery, and if Ana's forehand is on (which it's been this fortnight) she can run around her weaker backhand and make short work of this match.
There also something called the number one ranking on the line if either one of these ballers wins the whole she-bang. How great would it be to win your first Slam and become world no. 1 at the same time?
Ana has been to Grand Slam finals before (here last year of course) and has historically owned the mental edge on her Serbian sister. Nick Bollitteri is giving Ana the match in 3 sets and I agree!
(images via Getty)