The semi-finals - earlier the same day as a result of a rain-affected schedule - saw Jankovic defeat Italy's recent French Open doubles champion Mara Santangelo 6-1, 7-5, while 2004 Wimbledon champion Sharapova reached the final courtesy of a 7-5, 6-0 victory over France's Marion Bartoli.
Using tennis’s top-selling racquet, the Prince O3 White, Sharapova jumped out to an early lead in the final after taking the first set 6-4. After going down a break in the second, Jankovic clawed her way back to 3-3 and then went on to win the last three games of the set to take the second, 6-3. The third set saw Jankovic go down 0-3 before winning the next three games to even the set at three games apiece. The two players then went back and forth until the eleventh game of the third set, when Jankovic finally broke Sharapova and then went on to serve out the match.
For Jelena, who is currently ranked No1 in the world in the Race to the Sony Ericsson Championships, this was the first event she has entered since making the switch from the O3 Red to the Ozone Seven – a new development in Prince's expanding O3 line of racquets. With the win, Jankovic notches her fourth title of the season and her first-ever grass court championship.
“I am very happy with this win,” said Jankovic after the match. “I was losing for most of the match but I stayed positive and was able to win my first grass court title and the first event with my new racquet. I guess I am undefeated with the Ozone, hopefully it can stay that way!”
Since making the switch to a racquet with O3 technology, Jankovic has climbed 45 spots and with a recent semi-final appearance at Roland Garros , a title run in Rome and another tournament title in her first grass court event, the 22-year-old Serb heads toward Wimbledon with confidence and excitement.
“It is great to see Jelena playing so well and a thrill to see her win an event immediately after picking up the Ozone,” said Bob Johnson, of Prince UK. “We are excited to celebrate many more titles with Jelena. So many players are raising their game by switching to O3 and to have two of the world’s elite players battling it out with O3 racquets is a true testament to the technology.”
Since being introduced, O3 racquets have helped players capture over 200 ATP and WTA tour events including seven Grand Slam titles. There are now close to 100 pros who join Jankovic and Sharapova in using the patented, revolutionary technology that transformed traditional pin-sized string holes into giant O-ports for increased racquet speed, larger sweet spot and greater stability.
About Prince Sports
Prince Sports, Inc., based in New Jersey, is a recognised leader in game-improvement technologies and engineering-based high-performance sports equipment. Since 1970, Prince and Ektelon have revolutionised tennis, squash and racquetball with innovations including “Oversize,” “Longbody” and “Extender” racquet technologies, Natural Foot Shape footwear technology, Synthetic Gut String and Electronic Ball Machines. Prince gives players speed, stability and a larger sweet spot with O3 racquet technology, building the brand with O3 Original Series (2005), O3 Hybrid (2006), O3 Speedport and Ozone (2007). In 2006, Prince introduced M Series footwear with Precision Tube Technology, an innovation that gives players maximum cushioning, stability and ventilation. Prince Sports has operations on three continents and distribution in over 100 countries. For more information, please visit www.princetennis.com
PSE 118 20 June 2007
Howard Harding, Howard Harding Associates
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photo Getty Images
Photo: Rémy Gros