Google Down the Line!: PHOTO OP: JJ buries her face, Kaia buries her game in Dubai

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

PHOTO OP: JJ buries her face, Kaia buries her game in Dubai

Has Jelena Jankovic decided to switch places with Ana Ivanovic?

The Serb, who began this year as the WTA Penthouse resident, continued her Serbian Slide and was shocked by Kaia Kanepi in straight sets 6-2, 7-5 in the Dubai third round, following Svetlana Kuznetsova + Dinara Safina out the door. The Estonian will now meet Sveta conqueror, Elena Vesnina, for a spot in the semifinals.

This disappointing result can be piled on to her strangely lethargic fourth round exit in Oz at the hands of Marion Bartoli and a semifinal defeat in Paris to Amelie Mauresmo where she lost the last set 1-6.

So what gives?! Like sister Serb Ana, it seems JJ has had difficulty dealing with the pressure of being a World No.1 as evidenced by the collapse of her game this year. It takes a mental shift to go from the huntee to the hunted and mental giants these ladies are not.

Ana, though, is beginning to rise up from the doldrums (good news) but it's taken her almost a full year to get even a little bit of confidence back (bad news). Will it be the same for JJ? After these recent bad losses, it wouldn't surprise me.


PS - Justine Henin + Kim Clijsters would be fools, FOOLS I say, not to come back now. It would be like stealing candy from a baby!

(image via Getty)


  1. Seems like bulking up didn't do too much for JJ's game... She's not really moving too well and somehow lost her fire. Hell! She doesn't even bring the drama anymore! When JJ is not bringing drama to the court you know something is wrong!

    And YES!! JuJu and Kim HAVE to come back! They would be on top of the rankings in no time!

  2. maja: Yeah good point Maja! She's starting to take everything so seriously and not having fun. It's like once they hit the top spot, they stop having fun.

    Where are the crazy outfits, the smiles? I'd even take a hint of glitter!

    If those two Belgians came back they'd easily take these ballers - no prob.

  3. Good gravy marie, what is going on with the Serbs? Is it in the water? What's going on with ANY woman who holds #1 for a day? Tsk. Tsk. I'm starting to think if I fix my forehand, *I* could be number one...and I'm twice all these girls' ages.

    As for the Belgian twins coming back, dream on. I'd love to see it, too, but it's time to move on. We're stuck with the mess that is the women's game.

  4. Actually last year, the only person who won a title while holding the number one ranking besides Justine WAS Jelena. So I don't think it was the pressure to be honest. Girlfriend has always loved the spotlight.

    I didn't see this match but I think it's more her game than anything else.

  5. natch: yup good thing we have ReRe at number 1, someone who could actually handle the pressure

    jadefoxxy: correct me if i'm wrong but wasn't ana technically no.1 when she beat jj in the semifinals of roland garros? if so then she would count as a lady baller who was no.1 and then won a title, a Grand Slam no less. And i'd say that was a pressure match in the final having become no.1 and then needing to perform in the final.

    it's the consistency that's missing - they can get there and win a title but then it's a quick sinking Serbian ship!

  6. Richie,
    But I can't stand Serena. Iirc, she fell quickly out of the #1 spot, too last year. Now she's injured, or I think she has yet to prove she can handle the pressure. I'm not saying she can't, I'm just saying she hasn't yet. So the women's side is still a mess (for me, at least.)

  7. But historically speaking, ReRe knows how to handle the pressure - I mean, she won four Slams in a row and was No.1 for more than a month or two. I think her career record speaks for itself.

    Besides the only lady ballers who've even sniffed that feat are Justine '07 and Amelie '06 when they won 2 in a year and Justine when she made all 4 Slam finals in 2006.

    There's no doubt in my mind ReRe CAN handle it. I think at this point in her career she's not as focused on staying No.1 - she just wants to win the big ones.

  8. Rich, what I meant was someone who won a title AFTER obtaining the number one ranking from whatever tournament she's playing. As in after obtaining the number one ranking, Ana lost in the third round at Wimbledon, her first tournament as the top baller.

    When JJ obtained the number one ranking the first time, she lost in the Olympic quarterfinals to a red hot Safina. When she obtained the second time however, she won her next tournament which was Moscow as the number one player.

    And yes, last year, Serena after winning the US Open and getting the number one ranking, lost the first match she played as the number one player and played like crap for the rest of the year. Sure she's number one again, but one can ever truly tell with Serena.

    I think Justine must've cursed the number one ranking or something, lol!

  9. What exactly would Justine coming back prove? She was beaten soundly by Maria at the AO when she left. She was humiliated by Serena 6-2, 6-0 the last time they played when they were both healthy. Dinara beat her and so did Francesca. So umm ... she'd come back to more beat downs. Even in her best year she shared two slams, so I don't get it.

    Kim, loved her but she was a headcase. I'm sorry, but the same players that are there now are the same players that were there when Justine retired. They didn't import a fresh crop after she left.

    Just saying ... and hmm, no comment on Jelena's "classless" comments? "I beat myself, I gave it to her. She didn't have to do much."

  10. jadefoxxy: got it! but i give ReRe full credit for her past feats. Sure, she was flight then and even flightier then, but she was dominant.

    pamela: uh, everyone has bad losses for sure. no argument there. and yes those happened right before she retired. but to say that those losses are a future predicter of her game if she were to come back is reaching IMO. anyone who wins 7 Grand Slams clearly has a great game and could win again, barring injury.

    plus, to see her versatility mixed in with all the boring bashing would be a relief.

    as far as the comments, i haven't read them yet. they sound ReRe-style snarky. feel free to include a link!

  11. Of course everyone has bad losses, what I was getting at is that it was very highly unlikely that she'd duplicate her fantastic 2007 and she would have fell from grace trying to defend all of those points.

    Can I post the link here? Sorry if you didn't mean here:

  12. We mustn't forget that 2007 wasn't the only year that Justine won two slams; she did the same in 2003 near the height of Venus and Serena's careers.

    Yes she lost some matches badly in 2008 but after 2007 her retirement was pretty certain in her mind, she had lost pretty much all of her motivation so they don't count as much. Even if they did, if she came back and never won another slam, I would be happy. To see her versatility her talent and most of all her oh-so-rare one handed backhand would be enough for me. That's one of the reasons I was so excited when Amelie won in Paris.

    P.S. How sad is the women's game that simply seeing a one-handed backhand would make me giddy?

  13. >>But historically speaking, ReRe knows how to handle the pressure - I mean, she won four Slams in a row and was No.1 for more than a month or two. I think her career record speaks for itself.<<

    To me, it means all she cares about is slams. She cares when she wants to, then she wins. She essentially only has to care for two weeks at a time. I'll just have to agree to disagree with you on whether or not she can handle pressure.

  14. Pamela: thanks!

    Sara: I'm dying for Carla Suarez Navarro to really develop and hoping Amelie sticks around and plays well. PPPPPlease!!!!!

    natch: HA! True enough about ReRe.

    *high fives natch*


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