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Jankovic sent packing; Hewitt wins

SERENA and Venus Williams remained on track to meet in the semifinals but Jelena Jankovic was ousted in the third round of the Dubai Championships on Wednesday.

Top-seeded Serena beat Zheng Jie of China 6-4, 6-2, while sixth-seeded Venus put away Alize Cornet of France 6-3, 6-2.

Third-seeded Jankovic, the runner-up in 2005 and a semifinalist the last two years, lost her first match with Kaia Kanepi of Estonia 2-6, 5-7. It was Kanepi's first win over a top-five player.

Kanepi continued her fine run yesterday, when the 16th seed ended the hopes of Russian giantkiller Elena Vesnina 6-3, 7-5 to reach the semifinals. Vesnina had earlier beaten compatriot and sixth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova.

After Serena Williams broke Zheng in the 10th game, her third straight win over the Chinese was predictable.

"I think the intensity was high today, but my first serve could have been better," she said. "I had to rely a lot on my second serve. I definitely could do better technically."

In the quarterfinals yesterday, Serena Williams was meeting French Open champion Ana Ivanovic, while Venus will playing defending champion Elena Dementieva.

Win those matches, and the sisters will play each other for the first time since the WTA Championships in November, when Venus won en route to the title. Neither sister has won the Dubai title.

Eighth-seeded Ivanovic beat lucky loser Camille Pin of France 6-2, 7-6 (5), while fourth-seeded Dementieva dispatched Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain 6-1, 6-3 on Wednesday.

In the other quarterfinal, fifth seed Vera Zvonareva was playing Virginie Razzano of France yesterday.

Jankovic, down 2-6, 0-4, pulled level in the second set at 5-5 but Kanepi broke in the 12th game for her best win.

"I am really delighted. It was my tactic to mix it up and it worked," Kanepi said.

Jankovic, ranked No. 1 until last month, was embarrassed.

"This was the worst match of my career. It was a horrible day. I kept framing the ball, kept making unforced errors and could not put two balls together on the court. I didn't move properly, and I didn't see the ball properly," she said.

In Memphis, Tennessee, Australian Lleyton Hewitt continued his comeback with a 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 upset of third seed James Blake in the first round of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championship on Wednesday.

Hewitt had hip surgery last year in what was the first season in a decade where he failed to capture a title.

He got a big boost in his recovery on Wednesday with a win over the high-ranked American. Hewitt came up with six aces in the final set that allowed him to fend off four break points in serving out the match.

Hewitt lost to eventual finalist Mardy Fish in the opening round of last week's SAP Open in San Jose, California.

"I served well when I needed to, during the big points and break points, and that was big in those last two services games," Hewitt said.

"It's tough coming back from surgery. The last three tournaments I haven't got the best draws so it was nice to get this one."

In other matches, top-seeded American Andy Roddick used 20 aces to knock off Steve Darcis of Belgium 7-6 (1), 6-2.

Fish beat Lu Yen-hsun of Chinese Taipei 6-1, 7-5, while another American Sam Querrey defeated Germany's Tommy Haas 7-6 (4), 6-4.

In Marseille, France, world No. 3 Novak Djokovic celebrated his return to action with a 7-6 (4), 6-4 victory over France's Jeremy Chardy in the first round of the Open 13 on Wednesday.

Djokovic was playing his first match since retiring against Roddick during their Australian Open quarterfinal last month.

The Serb next faces Czech Jan Hernych.

Third seed Gael Monfils made an early exit with a 6-4, 4-6, 5-7 loss to fellow Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu in the first round.

Local favorite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga remained on course for a semifinal with Djokovic, defeating Kazakh Andrey Golubev 7-6 (5), 6-2.

In Buenos Aires, Argentina, defending champion David Nalbandian put away Daniel Gimeno-Traver of Spain 7-5, 6-2 to set up a quarterfinal with Juan Carlos Ferrero at the Copa Telmex on Wednesday.

Top-seeded Nalbandian wasn't in top form, blowing a 5-2 lead in the first set. But he powered up his backhand and rolled into a seventh career matchup with Ferrero on Friday.

Former French Open champion Ferrero beat seventh-seeded Spanish compatriot Marcel Granollers 6-7 (7), 6-0, 6-3 to reach his second quarterfinals in two weeks.


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