Jelena Jankovic survived a 6-4, 6-7, 6-2 semifinal match against unseeded Stefanie Voegele, and a bout with her own emotions Saturday.
Now it’s on to today’s Family Circle Cup final, a continuation of one of the closest head-to-head matchups on the WTA Tour. No. 1-ranked Serena Williams leads, 5-4, with a 1-1 split on clay.
“She’s a great champion and one of the best, if not the best in the game, in the history of the game,” Jankovic said. “So she’s the toughest opponent to play against, and I’ve had quite a lot of success against her even though she has the best serve in the women’s game.”
The series includes Williams’ win in the 2008 U.S. Open final.
Williams is the top seed and defending champion at the Family Circle Cup, Jankovic No. 9 and the 2007 tournament champion.
“It’s going to be a really tough one,” the popular and personable Jankovic said. “It would be amazing if I can do it. To have two titles here would be a dream come true.”
Jankovic won the first set against Voegele, but the 23-year-old from Switzerland seized momentum with a 2-0 lead in the third set.
“It was really a roller coaster out there,” Jankovic said.
Playing angry didn’t help.
“I really lost a lot of energy at just being mad at myself,” said Jankovic, a 28-year-old from Serbia. “That’s something I just have to learn now to control. I really hate I that I can’t; it really affects my game and I don’t do very well when I get so mad like that.”
Jankovic, who reached No. 1 in 2008 but gradually slipped in the rankings to No. 18, won the next six games to reach the championship match.
Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff.