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Jankovic blames heat and "woman problems" for loss

LONDON (Reuters) - Former world number one Jelena Jankovic, battling in searing heat with what she called “woman problems” was sent tumbling out of the tournament by American qualifier Melanie Oudin in the third round on Saturday.

Jelena Jankovic of Serbia returns the ball to Melanie Oudin of the U.S. during their match at the Wimbledon tennis championships, in London June 27, 2009. REUTERS/Kieran Doherty

In the biggest shock of the women’s draw so far, the statuesque Serb could not cope in the baking conditions at the All England Club, succumbing 6-7 7-5 6-2 to the ebullient teenager who refused to be overawed by the sixth seed.

Asked if he she had been suffering from heat stroke or dehydration, Jankovic told reporters “I don’t know. It’s some woman problems as well. It’s not easy being a woman, you know sometimes. All these things happen. What can I do?”

Questioned about whether her monthly cycle had ever affected her so dramatically before in a match, she said: “No, I never had a problem like that in the past. It was my first time experience.”

The win was a huge achievement for Oudin, playing only her third grand slam event.

Dogged determination won the day for a player ranked 124 in the world. She had to fight through three rounds of the qualifying tournament just to get to Wimbledon.


The 17-year-old kept pumping herself up with cries of “Come On” and made light of her relative inexperience.

Jankovic, bidding to reach the last 16 at Wimbledon for the fourth year in a row, never once looked at ease on a number three court that felt more like Florida than London on a scorchingly hot afternoon with temperatures near 30 Celsius.

The Serb, her first serve constantly deserting her, was fortunate to land the first set. Loudin fought back gallantly from 5-3 down, only to lose a thrilling tiebreak 10-8.

Then Jankovic called for a medical timeout at the end of the first set. She was wrapped in icepacks on her neck and legs while a doctor and a physiotherapist checked her condition.

“Conditions were quite tough. It was very warm out there,” she said.

“After the first set, I felt really dizzy and I thought that I was just going to end up in the hospital. I started to shake. I was losing my -- how you say -- consciousness.”

Once Jankovic recovered enough to contest the second set, Oudin leveled the match with a feisty performance. Outplaying Jankovic in many interminable baseline rallies, she then took the deciding set comfortably for a shock victory.

The American, whose idol is former world number one Justine Henin, whooped with delight and punched the air after landing the spoils on an afternoon of sun-baked drama that she -- and Jankovic --will never forget.

Editing by Ken Ferris