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Tennis: Halep floors Jankovic with third-set rally

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Simona Halep roared back from a mid-match wobble against former world number one Jelena Jankovic to fulfil a dream and reach her first Grand Slam quarter-final at the Australian Open Monday.

The five foot six inches (1.68m) Romanian won the first set before being taken to a decider, but she recovered magnificently in the third set to take the match 6-4, 2-6, 6-0.

"I started nervous but I played a good first set. The second set I was tired, I don't know why but my energy was very down," said the 22-year-old world number 11.

"In the third I said, 'I have nothing to lose, just be aggressive', so I did really well."

Halep celebrated with a raised fist when she took the first set 6-4 as Jankovic, blinking first in a rally, netted a forehand.

But it was the Serb who dominated the second set with three breaks to Halep's one, sealing her second with a forehand winner to take it 6-2 and force the match into a decider.

However, Halep regrouped and she came out firing for the third set, breaking Jankovic's serve in an extended first game which featured four break points and a 25-shot rally.

Another break for 3-0 put Jankovic on the ropes and at 4-0, a penetrating crosscourt forehand secured a third break, virtually assuring victory.

And in the next game the Romanian gobbled up her first match point, swiping a deep forehand past the static Jankovic and pumping her fists in delight.

"Before the season I said my dream is to play a quarter-final in a Grand Slam. So my dream is true and I'm really happy," said Halep, who will play Dominika Cibulkova in the quarter-finals after the Slovak upset Maria Sharapova.

The result extends eighth seed Jankovic's long search for a maiden Grand Slam success. The 28-year-old is yet to improve on her runs to three semi-finals in 2007 and 2008.

th/mp

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140120/tennis-halep-floors-jankovic-third-set-rally