LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Ana Ivanovic fought off two match points to beat Jelena Jankovic 4-6 6-3 7-5 in the semi-finals of the Los Angeles Classic on Saturday.
The world number five, who beat her fellow Serbian for the fourth time in five meetings, won the last three games in majestic fashion to book her place in the final.
“I played some awesome points when it was very important and I’m really happy with that,” Ivanovic told reporters.
Jankovic controlled much of the action early on, adeptly moving her taller foe around the court by mixing drop shots and short angled winners.
But in the second set, Ivanovic began to serve much better and took more risks on her groundstrokes. She broke Jankovic to 4-2 when her opponent missed an easy forehand.
After fighting off three break points with scorching winners, Ivanovic won the set 6-3 on her fourth set point when Jankovic missed a forehand.
Jankovic put on an impressive defensive display to race out to a 4-1 lead in the third set, but Ivanovic eventually broke back to 4-3 with a vicious inside-out forehand winner.
“I had some chances, but I was a little flat and tired,” Jankovic said.
“It was like playing against a guy with the way her serves are coming at me and it’s really scary when she starts to scream. She’s a powerful girl who came up with big shots when she needed to.”
Ivanovic fought off two match points serving at 5-4 with volley and forehand winners and held to 5-5.
Ivanovic’s thoughts went back to Wimbledon, when she was down 5-3 and three match points to Nicole Vaidisova in the quarter-finals and came back to win.
“I never give up so I tried to focus on each point and take more time on my serve,” Ivanovic said. “It was important to run around and hit my forehand because it’s more powerful and she likes to run, so I tried to step forward more.”
Ivanovic broke Jankovic to 6-5 after going down 40-0 when she reeled off five straight forehand winners.
The 19-year-old Ivanovic then won the match when an exhausted Jankovic erred on a forehand and squealed in delight.
“This gives me a lot of confidence because she’s a great player and matches like these count the most,” Ivanovic said.
Ivanovic will play the winner of the all-Russian semi-final between top seed Maria Sharapova and Nadia Petrova, seeded fourth.