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Jankovic beats Sharapova for first time in four attempts

6/17/2007 - Tennis

BIRMINGHAM, England -- Jelena Jankovic won her fourth title
of the year Sunday, beating Maria Sharapova 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 to
capture the final of the grass-court DFS Classic.

Both players had to win semifinal matches earlier in the day at
the rain-affected tournament. Sharapova also had two matches
Saturday.

But despite falling behind after the first set, Jankovic came
back to win her first title on grass.

"I felt a little bit flat some of the time to be honest," said
Jankovic, a French Open semifinalist who has won on three different
surfaces this season. "But I always fight, no matter what the
score and in the final set I became more like the player I am."

Sharapova was two points away from a 4-2 lead in the second set.
She also had a chance to break early in the third.

Before Sunday, Jankovic had lost all three of her meetings
against Sharapova.

Jankovic will leave for the Netherlands on Monday morning to
play in the Ordina Open.

"It's been like that all year," Jankovic said. "I just
keeping pushing whatever the situation, and I feel mentally
strong."


Earlier, Sharapova beat Marion Bartoli of France 7-5, 6-0 in the
semifinals, and Jankovic defeated Mara Santangelo of Italy 6-1,
7-5.

Bartoli, who completed her suspended quarterfinal match early
Sunday, beat third-seeded Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia 5-7, 6-4,
7-5.

Sharapova's match against Bartoli was temporarily delayed when
two spectators needed medical assistance in separate incidents. A
woman and a child fell down a staircase, knocking the woman
unconscious. In another part of the stadium, a man fainted.

A helicopter then landed on a nearby court at the Edgbaston
Priory Club to assist. The woman was flown to a nearby hospital.

The helicopter seemed to distract Sharapova, who dropped her
serve and trailed 5-4 in the first set before winning the next nine
games.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.