The start of the spring clay-court season coincides with tax time, fitting for the surface that can exact a demanding toll on players—even those typically exempt from early-round upsets.
Let's dive into the dirt to explore some of the skids, streaks, and story lines emerging from this week's clay-court tournaments in Bogota, Katowice, Casablanca, and Houston.
In Charleston last week, Jelena Jankovic revealed that she wears her game-face to bring a fear factor into play: The former No. 1 no longer wears make-up on court.
"I want to look like a beast. I just want to look as scary as possible," Jankovic said. "I don't want to look all pretty and nice and dolled up. For what? I'm going to get dirty and sweaty."
A year ago, the then-No. 24 captured her first WTA title in over three years in Bogotá. She's adjusted to the high altitude shrewdly this year in her opening win, and could face seventh-seeded Argentine Paula Ormaechea in a quarterfinal clash that would be a rematch of the 2013 final (6-1, 6-2). Should JJ, one of three former Bogotá champions still standing (two-time champion Lourdes Dominquez Lino and 2010 champion Mariana Duque Marino are the others) prevail, it will be the second time she's successfully defended a title following successive victories in Rome in 2007 and 2008.