The WTA Championships could have hardly started better for Vera Zvonareva, who cruised past Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 6-0 in the event's opening round-robin match. Zvonareva, who has a chance to finish as the year-end No. 1, controlled the contest with more than just her deceptive groundstrokes—she served confidently, hitting aces and giving Jankovic few routine returns, even on second serves. This was in great contrast to Jankovic, who regularly donated points with double faults and was broken five times.
From the onset, it didn't look good for the former No. 1. On the changeovers she panted, and at one point during a challenge, she took a seat in the lineman's chair, seemingly to catch her breath. Funny? A little bit, but it's not an image you want your opponent seeing.
Jankovic seemed to exert all her energy in the seventh game, serving down 2-4. She fended off six break points in a 14-minute chess match, eventually holding. It was the last game she would win. Unforced errors gushed like the sweat from her brow. Kim Clijsters and Victoria Azarenka, the other two members in the White Group, should be able take advantage of Jankovic's condition, but it puts pressure on them to not even drop a set—with round-robin tiebreakers, that could be the difference between advancing and going home.
After reciting a laundry list of ailments yesterday—sinus problems, twisted ankle, back troubles—Jankovic said there's "just one more week to go."
Just two more matches, Jelena.