Ivanovic ousts Jankovic in battle of thawed Serbs

Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:34am EST
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By Simon Cambers

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Ana Ivanovic beat fellow Serb and once fierce rival Jelena Jankovic 7-5 6-3 in a battle of former world number ones to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open on Friday.

Three years ago or so, a clash between the two would have been in deep into the latter stages of a grand slam, rather than a third-round meeting.

Former French Open champion Ivanovic is seeded 13th this year and Jankovic at 22 but despite their fall from the top of the women's game, their rivalry remains intense.

"It's competitiveness, said Ivanovic, who will next face fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska after the Pole took her winning streak to 12 matches by thrashing Britain's Heather Watson.

"You have that with everyone you play - and especially someone coming from your country. We were (once) both looking for the number one position and to win a grand slam.

"Of course there is going to be rivalry, but I think there is healthy rivalry too because you kind of push each other.

"We played in the 2008 French Open (semi-finals) and then here we were both in the semi-finals in 2008, so it definitely brings a lot of memories.

"We haven't played each other in a grand slam for a while, but it's always tough.   Continued...

Ana Ivanovic of Serbia blows kisses to the crowd after defeating compatriot Jelena Jankovic in their women's singles match at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne January 18, 2013. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj