Jankovic puts up a fight

STEVE SIMMONS -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:55 AM ET

In the end, Jelena Jankovic knew she could do no more.

Her legs were shaking. Her concentration was waning. Her body was failing her in what was left of the terrific final at the Rogers Cup.

"I was very tired," she said, trying to match the world's No. 1 player, Justin Henin, point for point, and all but doing so. "I don't know if I could keep going (to a third set) ... I was really at my limit.

"I was starting to kind of shake at the end. I just couldn't hold it. But I was giving it my best."

There was not a bit of quit in Jankovic yesterday, the crowd favourite at the Rexall Centre, who battled Henin on centre court, and was not at all disappointed at her defeat.

"It was not my fault," she said, playing against the somewhat robotic Henin, measuring her game heading into the U.S. Open against the best in the world.

"I didn't give her any points. It's just those long points, great passing shots when I came to the net, or amazing points. So I couldn't do anything about it.

"And I was fighting until the end, and tried my best. I mean, she's a great champion and she pushes the standards of the game. And for me, it's greatest always to pair up against her and see what I can do and what I can improve. It always can make me better."

Yesterday, it made her a much admired finalist.

This is what happens when you get in the ring with Henin: She wears you down with the tennis equivalent of body punches. She gives up little. She toughens up when it matters most.

Jankovic led 4-1 in the first set with Serbian fans at the Rexall Centre cheering her on. She couldn't serve out the set, and was overwhelmed by Henin on the big points in the tiebreaker.

In the second set, she went up 2-0, but again couldn't hold the lead. In the epic 11th game of the second set, with nine deuce points, Jankovic had six opportunities to win the game and go ahead 6-5. But Henin did what Henin does: She wouldn't allow herself to lose.

A FAN IS BORN

While watching the final, Dauna Papakirykos went into labour and was taken to nearby Humber River Regional Hospital, where she gave birth to to an 8 lb, 4 oz. baby girl. Dauna and her husband, Eli, named the baby in honour of the champ, Justine Alexandria Papakirykos.


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