PARIS Jelena Jankovic has always had a nice turn of phrase so it was no surprise that she should find a novel way to describe how it felt being pummelled by Australian Samantha Stosur in the French Open semi-finals on Thursday.
"To be honest, she has almost the game of a man," a shell-shocked Jankovic said after she was hammered 6-1 6-2 by the seventh-seeded Australian. "That's what it feels like.
"When I look at how the men play, she has a very good kick (serve), which not many women have. It's very heavy spin.
"And then she runs around the forehand. She has that kind of (style). She's been very impressive the last I don't know how many months. She has had pretty good results."
It was Martina Hingis who once famously described playing Amelie Mauresmo, in the 1999 Australian Open, as like playing 'half a man'. It was a comment that got the Swiss into a lot of trouble, but Jankovic intended her statement as a compliment to Stosur's power.
The Australian, who had beaten four-times French Open champion Justine Henin and wold number one Serena Williams en route to the last four, showed no sign of nerves in what was her first grand slam semi-final.
Instead, she battered Jankovic and left the Serb chasing shadows on a sun-baked day at Roland Garros.
"She's playing very well in this moment," Jankovic said. "She has improved so much and I think mentally she's much better. Because before I think that's what was maybe one of her weaknesses."
Jankovic was understandably disappointed at missing out on what would have been her second grand slam final and was almost at a loss to explain why she had failed to perform.
"I wasn't even 20 percent of my ability, so that shows," she said. "I felt heavy on my feet and I didn't really move out there. That resulted in a negative way on every shot, because especially on the return I didn't have a good reaction.
"And then when I got into some of the points, when I had chances, I made bad mistakes. It wasn't me. It wasn't my game out there. She was the better player today.
"I'm angry. It's not easy not to lose like this, but it's the way the game goes. I just have to stay positive, and I will have another chance."
(Editing by Martyn Herman)
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