Jelena Jankovic made it two titles for Serbians in Asia on Sunday as she fought back from a set down to beat Germany’s Angelique Kerber to win the Hong Kong Open.
Fourth-seeded Jankovic, who beat Venus Williams in the semifinals, was a set and 6-5 down before she rallied to beat second-seeded Kerber 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-1 at Hong Kong’s Victoria Park for her 15th WTA title and second of the year, her success coming shortly after compatriot Novak Djokovic beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to win the Shanghai Masters title in China.
Ninth-ranked Kerber needed to win to confirm a berth at the WTA Finals.
Former top-ranked Jankovic, who added to her Guangzhou title at the beginning of the Asian swing, relied on her powerful baseline game.
“This victory will do my confidence a world of good. Beating Angelique and my win over Venus in the semifinals proves I can still play at the top level and, if I work hard, maybe I can win a Grand Slam next year,” said Jankovic, a wild card entry.
Kerber’s serve deserted her midway through the match with four double faults at crucial stages in the second set. Both players traded service breaks twice to go to a tiebreaker where Jankovic held her nerve.
Jankovic continued to rely on her powerful, double-handed backhand and took a 3-0 lead in the third set. After a medical timeout, Kerber tamely folded — dropping her serve again in the sixth game. The 30-year-old Jankovic served out the match.
The 27-year-old Kerber will now have to rely on a strong showing at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, starting Monday, to see if she will remain among the top eight on the Road to Singapore race.
“I have entered to play in Moscow but I will have to see how I shape up,” said Kerber, who said she has been struggling with a back injury.