Coverage of the 2006 JPMorgan Chase Open
Real tennis fans go to the Home Depot Center in Carson…and with this Sunday’s final they were not disappointed. The JPMorgan Chase Open final match between Elena Dementieva (RUS) and Jelena Jankovic (SCG) was a treat for all tennis fans. In fact, if you were not a tennis fan, you definitely are one now. Elena Dementieva of Russia remained calm and focused in her 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 win over Jelena Jankovic of Serbia. She needed all her fitness and persistence as Jankovic, with a game very similar to her own, courageously fought for every point. The points were often deep, long baseline rallies which gave the crowd time to invest in each player. Dementieva was clearly the more fit player. She hit with speed and precision to take the first set.
Jankovic gained the favor of the crowd in the second set when Dementieva tried a drop shot and Jankovic was able to reach it for a winner. Jankovic would have spurts of aggression only to lose the next couple points. Throughout the match, Dementieva appeared confident and calm. At the beginning of the third set Jankovic was treated for the heat. At 0-5 in the third. Jankovic appeared revived and was able to win four more games to 4-5 before Dementieva finally claimed the title.
The match took two hours and 23 minutes. The heat was a factor and the players iced themselves on every changeover. In her interview, Jankovic said about Dementieva, “She is really fit. One of the better fit on the tour. I need to improve my fitness so I can play these long matches”.
Photo courtesy of Adam Davis
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
When asked about the US Open, Jankovic stated “I think I can do damage. I believe in myself”. On the road to this final, Jankovic took out Samantha Stosur (who beat Lindsay Davenport in the first round) and then Serena Williams in the Semifinals. Her ranking will rise to #21 after this week.
About Dementieva, Jankovic said “Elena is used to people attacking her serve so she is ready to defend it. I was expecting her to double fault more but she didn’t.”
Dementieva, currently ranked #6 on the Sony/Erickson WTA Tour, has always been coached by her mother but is now being coached by her brother. “I feel like I’m just getting to my best game.” she stated. “This is really an amazing feeling to win a title.” she said, “For sure we will celebrate this win.” When asked about her fitness, Dementieva responded, “I could play best of five sets.” When I am playing, I only feel the fatigue after the match.” About playing in Los Angeles, “I always have great results playing here.” She is going to take a break and skip Montreal, but is scheduled for New Haven and then the US Open where she will definitely need her best game.
The Home Depot Center is an outstanding tennis venue. The intimate seating allows the crowd to feel as though they are almost participating in the match. The fans were roaring after some of the long points. Even though the expected main entrants like Sharapova and Williams did not make it to the end, the stadium was full and the tennis was memorable..