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August 18, 2009

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Home » Sports » Tennis

Jankovic 'happy to be back' after landing Cincinnati title

A SMILING Jelena Jankovic said she was "happy to be back" after she beat world No. 1 Dinara Safina 6-4, 6-2 in the final of the Cincinnati Open on Sunday.

The Serbian, who ended last year ranked no. 1 but who struggled in the first half of 2009, outplayed the error-prone Russian to claim her second title of the year.

"It's a good win for me, I'm happy that I'm back," said Jankovic, who will climb to No. 4 in the rankings after her efforts in Cincinnati.

"I'm really pleased that I was able to play well today and beat the top player in the world. I got quite a few good wins under my belt this week, which is very good for my confidence coming into the US Open.

"I'm back in this group of (top) players and hopefully I can keep my form up."

After ending 2008 as the world's top-ranked player, Jankovic added 7kgs of muscle to her frame after changing her training regime.

The decision, however, backfired as she said she felt too heavy and the extra weight had affected her movement, one of her key attributes.

With her confidence dropping, Jankovic was also burdened with an illness to her mother, which took its affect on her usually sunny disposition. With her mother on the mend, Jankovic appears to be back to normal and her results in Cincinnati reflect her better mood.

"Because I have not been playing very well this first half of the season, I said to myself, 'I'm going to begin'," she said. "This is my time to come back. I love playing on hard courts. I'm moving very well again and my game is coming back.

"I'm positive. I'm out there with a smile on my face, and I bring some, how do you say, interesting things into tennis again. Every match I got better and better and at the end, I won the title. It's a big title and it's been a while since I have done this. Hopefully I can continue with the consistent results."

Safina had been the most consistent player throughout the week but her feet looked heavy and Jankovic took full advantage.

"I was just a little bit off today," Safina said. "I was feeling very confident stepping onto the court and then I was just totally off."

That would have been her fourth title of the year, but Safina said she would take plenty of confidence from the week.

"I definitely played some great matches," she said. "I played some great tennis yesterday and before yesterday some great matches.

"I'm feeling much better on the court and I think with each tournament I'll feel better and better and get stronger and stronger for the US Open."


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