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Beaten Jelena Jankovic unimpressed by Melanie Oudin

Former world number one Jelena Jankovic suffered a shock defeat to American teenager Melanie Oudin at Wimbledon and then bizarrely claimed the 17-year-old "cannot hurt you with anything".

Jankovic, who feared she would have to be rushed to hospital at the end of the first set after falling ill and briefly losing awareness of her whereabouts, suffered a three-set defeat on Court Three.

She lost the third-round match 6-7 (10-8) 7-5 6-2 on the old Court Two, where many big names have suffered embarrassing defeats, but was far from flattering about Oudin's performance.

"From what I have seen, she can play if you let her play," said Serbian Jankovic.

"But she cannot hurt you with anything. She doesn't have any weapons, from what I've seen.

"She's a consistent and quite solid player. She doesn't make so many mistakes. But she doesn't do anything either, so it's like she's depending kind of on you."

Considering Oudin made 38 winners to Jankovic's 13, and looked to possess a heavy forehand, that analysis from the sixth seed seemed uncharitable.

Jankovic pointed to her health scare as a factor in the result.

"After the first set I felt really dizzy and I thought that I was going to end up in the hospital," she said. "I started to shake. I was losing my consciousness."

She decided to carry on but remarked she was "feeling quite weak" and had "no power".

"I was like a ghost, you know, white in the face," said Jankovic. "Really, I didn't know where I was.

"The physio came out and she asked me, 'Do you know your name?'. I just saw blurry. It was a really strange feeling. I was scared and I started to cry."

Oudin, who lost to Britain's Laura Robson in the second round of the girls' singles last year, was thrilled with the biggest win of her career.

"I'm very excited right now," she said. "But I'm hoping there will be better days, too."

She added: "I was just thinking that she was any other player and this was any other match and I was at any other tournament, not like on the biggest stage at Wimbledon playing my first top-10 player.

"But I think I handled it really well."

Oudin had to come through three matches in qualifying just to make her debut in the women's singles at Wimbledon.

"This is my first year in the pros in Wimbledon and I'm actually in the fourth round so it's unbelievable," she said.

"When I was seven, when I started playing tennis, I saw Venus and Serena Williams playing here and I was like, 'Mom, I really, really want to play there one day'.

"She said, 'Go for it'. My parents have always been very supportive."

Oudin believes her parents may make a "surprise" visit to Wimbledon from their home in Georgia for Monday's fourth-round match against Poland's 11th seed Agnieszka Radwanska.

And the youngster who chose a career in tennis over a possible future in professional women's football believes she can go a long way in the game.

She has already been compared to her idol Justine Henin, the now-retired former world number one.

"My goal has always been, since I was little, to become number one in the world one day," Oudin said.

"But I know that it's going to take a lot more work and I'm going to have to get better and better. But I'm willing to work on it."

Belfast Telegraph


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