Maria Sharapova crushed Jelena Jankovic 6-2, 6-1 in the Sony Open semifinals on Thursday in a match that highlighted the controversial scheduling that put Jankovic back on court a mere 15 hours after her 2½-hour quarterfinal win over Roberta Vinci.
Jankovic finished her quarterfinal match at 9:41 p.m. on Wednesday night and was scheduled to play Sharapova in the first match Thursday at 1 p.m. She was no competition for Sharapova, who blasted her off the court in a little more than an hour. Jankovic gave full credit to Sharapova’s form but admitted the quick turnaround did her in.
“I think Maria was the fresher one,” Jankovic said. “She finished early in the afternoon, so she had a lot more time to prepare and get ready for today. I just didn’t feel good. I wasn’t playing my tennis. She took advantage of that.”
Jankovic said she went to sleep at 1 a.m. after Wednesday’s victory. “Woke up early, had to play. So the schedule was tough,” she said.
Organizers were put in a difficult position given that ESPN requested the semifinal between Serena Williams and Agnieszka Radwanska, who both played their quarterfinals two days earlier, as the prime-time match. Jankovic said it was unfair that Williams and Radwanska received 48 hours to recover while she had 15 hours.
“The girls who play tonight at 7, they had a day off yesterday,” Jankovic said. “So it was kind of crazy. I had a couple of hours of sleep, and then I had to be back on the court. I played four matches, only had one day off. Last night, couple hours of sleep. So it wasn’t easy, but what can I do?
“I wish it was a little different. I wish I had a little more time to recover and be in better shape for today. It would give me a much better chance to play better, but it was the way it was. Like I said, Maria was playing very well. But like I said, the opponent plays as well as you let her. I didn’t do what I wanted to do and complicate things on the court.”