INDIAN WELLS // Jelena Jankovic kick-started her season with a straight-sets victory over Caroline Wozniacki to win the Indian Wells WTA title in California. Jankovic, the former world No 1, barely put a foot wrong on Sunday as she beat her Danish opponent 6-2, 6-4 to claim her 12th career title and her first since Cincinnati last August.
"It's been a great two weeks for me, really amazing," Jankovic said. "I'm so happy and so thrilled that I was able to win this title." The Serbian was the tournament's sixth seed, while Wozniacki, who moved up to No 2 in the world rankings yesterday, was seeded second. It could prove to be a break-out event for both women, neither of whom had reached a quarter-final this year before this event. "I went out there knowing my game plan," Jankovic said.
"I wanted to be really aggressive, but at the same time patient and not really go for too much or go over the limit with some balls. "I waited for my opportunities, and when I had them, I took them." Wozniacki, 19, said: "Jelena was playing a good match. She didn't make a lot of mistakes. I tried to change it when I saw it was not going my way, but I just made a few too many errors on the important points.
"I couldn't really get to play the game that I wanted to play. I wanted to get her moving a little bit more. I wanted to stay on the baseline a little bit more. "It was a strong field, and then coming out as a finalist and then coming out as No 2 in the world, that's still a great feeling." In the men's event, Ivan Ljubicic beat the American, Andy Roddick 7-6, 7-6 on Sunday to win men's title, the first Masters triumph of the Croatian's career.
Ljubicic, who celebrated his 31st birthday on Friday, became the oldest first-time winner of a Masters event, filling a gap on his resume that had nagged since runner-up finishes at Paris and Madrid in 2005 and Miami in 2006. "Looking at my career in general, I did feel like I was missing it," said Ljubicic, who reached a career-high No 3 in the world in 2006. "It's really a fantastic feeling to finally have it. It gives something special to your career."
He certainly showed this week that he has plenty of quality tennis left in him, with victories over Novak Djokovic, the world No 2, and Rafael Nadal, the world No 3, on his way to his clash with the eighth-ranked Roddick. "He served great," said Roddick, who had 11 aces. "The last two days was an exhibition on serving big points. He had complete control over all four spots. He hit them," he added.
Ljubicic claimed his 10th career title and his first since Lyon last October, and in doing so ensured he will climb from 26th in the world into the top 15. The last time he was ranked in the top 20 was in January 2008. Roddick was gracious in defeat, telling the crowd who had backed him that the game was lucky to have Ljubicic around. "I don't think we know each other that well personally, but I can certainly respect someone who has put in the years and has won close to 400 matches in his career," Roddick said. "It seems like he always plays the game the right way." * AFP