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Women of substance

World No. 2 Jelena Jankovic advances to her first Grand Slam final by defeating Elena Dementieva at the US Open, setting up a showdown with two-time winner Serena Williams. See Spl: US Open 2008

sports Updated: Sep 06, 2008, 23:37 IST

World No. 2 Jelena Jankovic advanced to her first Grand Slam final by defeating Elena Dementieva 6-4, 6-4 at the US Open on Saturday, setting up a showdown with two-time winner Serena Williams.

"I have tears in my eyes," said an emotional Jankovic. "I have played in five semi-finals and to be in the final for first time in a Grand Slam is unbelievable. I'm thrilled."

Jankovic had to rally in both sets of the semi-final on a windy Friday afternoon in front of a crowd of 22,892 at the main Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Eight-time Grand Slam winner Williams reached her first US Open final in six years, storming past Russian Dinara Safina 6-3, 6-2 in just 88 minutes.

"I am finally back in the finals," Williams said. "An American back in the finals. I am really excited."

The final is scheduled for Saturday night but weather forecasters are predicting rain all day as the remnants of tropical storm Hanna move through the New York area. If that happens the final will be moved to Sunday night.

Jankovic finished off her semi-final by breaking Dementieva for the fifth time in the set, winning it on the second match point when the Russian hit the final ball long.

"It was windy but I really tried to fight," said Jankovic.

Jankovic said she had to adjust to hitting into a headwind.

"It was hard for both of us. Especially from one side the wind was very strong. You keep hitting as hard as you can and the ball doesn't go anywhere.

"From the other side you hit the ball and it flies. It was tough but it was the same conditions for both players."

Serbia's Jankovic won 63 percent of her first serve points and made just 22 unforced errors in the one hour, 34 minute match.

It has taken her 20th career Grand Slam tournaments to get to the final.

"I wanted to go out there and from the first point be focussed," Jankovic said. "I wanted to come out with a game plan and know what I have to do to win and just fight.

I knew I could do it and that is what matters."

Once again, Russian fifth seed Dementieva seemed tormented by her weak second serve. She squandered numerous opportunities, finishing with six double faults and 42 unforced errors.

Jankovic, a semi-finalist at the French Open in June, has won just one title in 2008. That came at the Italian Open, where she defeated Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova en route to the final. She said it was rare for her to play a Grand Slam without being hurt.

ht epaper

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