Jankovic enjoys final stage return
Jelena Jankovic was a smiling assassin as she announced her return to the WTA Championships with victory over Victoria Azarenka in Istanbul.
Admittedly it was not the Azarenka who has been clearly the second best player in the world over the past two years, the Belarusian putting in an error-strewn performance to go down 6-4 6-3.
But that was to take nothing away from Jankovic, who moved superbly and took full advantage of the mental fatigue Azarenka admitted she is suffering from.
This is Jankovic's first appearance at the season-ending tournament since 2010.
At that stage she was a fixture in the top 10 having been world number one two years previously, but 2011 and 2012 were very tough and the Serbian has had to climb back from outside the top 20 at the start of the year.
Jankovic looked like a player revelling in the opportunity her hard work has brought her, and she said: "I have nothing to prove to anybody. I just enjoy what I do.
"I have been given an opportunity tonight to be playing against the number two player in the world. Even though I lost to her this year, that does not mean anything.
"I was able to make some changes and I took advantage of some of the things that she didn't do well and won my match. If you stay positive, if you believe in yourself, I think you can achieve a lot of things.
"When I have a smile on my face, I think I get more dangerous, too."
A smile was far from Azarenka's face as she reflected on her fourth defeat from her past five matches.
"It's hard sometimes to just keep it up," she said. "I think I have been pretty much the most consistent player the last two years and sometimes things like this happen.
"It's just the bad road and I have to go through that, because it didn't happen to me in a long, long time.
"Definitely it's tough at the end of the year to play against the best players, because every match you have to go and dig deep, and sometimes your motivation is not there enough to know how deep can you dig.
"I just need to battle right now as much as I can."
There were no such problems for Serena Williams, who made it two victories from two round-robin matches by beating Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2 6-4.
It was closer than the scoreline suggested but the world number one was never in any danger of suffering a first defeat in eight matches against the Pole.
Her progress from the red group is now all but assured, and she can rubber-stamp it with victory over Petra Kvitova on Thursday night.
In the first match, Li Na - a 6-4 7-6 (7/5) winner over Sara Errani on Wednesday - takes on Jankovic before Radwanska meets Angelique Kerber.