Jelena Jankovic likes to play in bright colours but you can be sure she will never choose shrinking violet. "One of us will reach No 1 soon," the 23-year-old said yesterday as she looked forward to her French Open semi-final against her fellow Serb, 20-year-old Ana Ivanovic. "I think we're going to be dominating the tennis world soon."
There was a neat symmetry about the way the two rivals claimed their places in the last four. Ivanovic beat Switzerland's Patty Schnyder, the world No 11, 6-3, 6-2 before Jankovic overcame Carla Suarez Navarro, a Spanish qualifier ranked No 132 in the world, by the same score. Jankovic, having suffered with an arm injury in earlier matches, said she felt fine after flying home for 24 hours for treatment after her previous match.
Following Justine Henin's retirement and Maria Sharapova's exit here, both Ivanovic, the world No 2, and Jankovic, the No 3, would take over the No 1 spot with victory in Saturday's final. "We push each other and we motivate each other to be better players," Jankovic said. "I think it's great for Serbian tennis and for the whole world to have new faces, new players and great rivalries."
It will be their first meeting in a Grand Slam event. Ivanovic, runner-up here 12 months ago and in January's Australian Open final, has won five of their six matches. Jankovic has already played in three Grand Slam semi-finals but lost them all.
l Japan's Akiko Morigami has denied saying that she received instructions to throw a doubles match at the French Open last week. Morigami was reported as saying a national team coach asked her to lose to give her partner, Aiko Nakamura, the chance to qualify for the Olympics by playing elsewhere this week. "My comments were misunderstood," Morigami said in a statement.