As recently as two weeks ago, nobody would have picked Jelena Jankovic to advance to the last four at Indian Wells, let alone make it to the final.
Even the Serb, 30, conceded that she would not have picked herself to do so as, just three days before the start of the tournament, she was still limping and not sure if she would be able to take part in the Premier Mandatory tournament.
Jankovic had torn a leg muscle earlier this season at Doha, and during the off-season she had suffered a debilitating back injury which threatened to put her playing career in jeopardy.
So the forecast was a bit gloomy as Jankovic arrived at Indian Wells. But she came out fighting, winning four of her first five matches in three sets.
In the sixth match, the final against Simona Halep, Jankovic was on track to win but froze. Up a set, she was serving for the match at 5-4 in the second when she called coach Chip Brooks onto the court for consultation.
“I am freaking out,” she told him, apparently unhappy with the words of encouragement that were coming from Brooks.
Jankovic’s struggles with her nerves were obvious and Halep took advantage, claiming the next three games to take the second set and then the third to win.
Given her physical condition coming into the event, Jankovic sounded pleased with her effort through the two weeks in California, but ultimately she had no business losing the final, especially since Halep was also some ways short of playing her best tennis.
So once the dust settles, Jankovic will surely regret letting this one slip. She choked when she had a few fingers already wrapped around the trophy.
Follow us on twitter at @NatSportUAE