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Ivanovic crashes out, Jankovic battles on at Aussie Open

Saturday, January 24, 2009 , Posted by Linda at 11:18 AM

MELBOURNE – Serb pin-up Ana Ivanovic was dumped from the Australian Open in a three-set thriller Friday while her top seeded compatriot Jelena Jankovic made a stuttering advance into the fourth round.

Ivanovic crashes out, Jankovic battles on at Aussie Open Ana Ivanovic of Serbia reacts after missing a point during her women's singles match against Alisa

It was a stark contrast with the fortunes of third seed Dinara Safina and fellow Russian Vera Zvonareva, seeded seventh, who both cruised into the last 16.

Australia's former world number four Jelena Dokic also fired local hopes when she her dream comeback at the season-opening Grand Slam continued with a come-from-behind win over 11th seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark.

Ivanovic's 7-5, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2 loss to Russian teenager Alisa Kleybanova continues a form slump that has dogged the glamourous 21-year-old since her breakthrough Grand Slam win at last year's French Open.

A losing finalist here in 2008 and seeded fifth at this year's tournament, she follows Venus Williams out of the season-opening major, leaving the women's draw wide open.

Ivanovic threw everything she had at Kleybanova after going down a set, clawing her way back into the match but ultimately losing after two hours 33 minutes.

"I gave 100 percent but today she was better and played some unbelievable shots," she said.

"It's disappointing. I'm very, very sad because I felt physically fit and felt I could do well here ... there's plenty more tournamnets in front of me.

"Sometimes losses make you more motivated to work harder."

World number one Jankovic also faced a tough opponent in Japanese veteran Ai Sugiyama but scrapped her way to a 6-4, 6-4 even if she could not dominate a player who at 33 is 10 years her senior.

However, Jankovic said her form was improving as the tournament progressed, rating her performance against Sugiyama much better than those she produced in the opening two round.

"I'm just happy to get through this kind of match," she said.

Safina had no trouble displaying the intimidating aggression absent from Jankovic's game so far this tournament, muscling aside Estonian 25th seed Kaia Kanepi 6-2, 6-2.

Cutting down on the errors that marred her earlier matches, the super-fit 22-year-old overcame Kanepi with raw power developed during a breakthrough year when she rose to wrld number 3.

"Finally I played my game, compared to my first two matches, I reached my level," she said.

"From now on I have to play like this or even better every day because it will be tougher and tougher coming up."

Zvonareva also went through easily, dispatching Italy's Sara Errani 6-4, 6-1 to equal her previous best performance in Melbourne and firm as a dangerous prospect for her more highly-fancied rivals.

The crowd favourite was undoubtedly Dokic, who rode a wave of emotion to down Wozniacki 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 and further redeem herself in the eyes of an adoring Australian public.

The Serb-born 25-year-old is on the comeback trail in Australian colours after renoucing her citizenship seven years ago at the urging of her now estranged father Damir.

"I'm sorry for being a pain," said the tournament wildcard who battled severe depression for years after leaving Australia.

"I know I've been difficult at times and I want to apologise for that."

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