Unseeded Pennetta shocks Jankovic

STUTTGART: Defending champion Jelena Jankovic suffered a quarter-final upset at Stuttgart's WTA tournament Friday as unseeded Italian Flavia Pennetta ignored a lack of sleep to snatch a 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory.

Having only nodded off at 3am on Friday morning after her second-round game against Nadia Petrova finished just before midnight, Pennetta rallied from losing the first set to dump out Jankovic and take her semi-final place.

"The level of my game dropped in the second set and I started to allow my opponent to play her own game," said beaten Jankovic.

"It was a different story when I was hitting my shots and being aggressive.

"But I have had a cold in the last week and I get tired a lot quicker than normal, the longer the game went on the more tired I became.

"This defeat won't effect me, I want to win a third tournament in Rome next and that is still my aim."

Third-seed Jankovic took the first set 6-2 with ease, but Pennetta started using her forehand to devastating effect to take the second 6-4.

The third set was a battle royal which see-sawed as Pannetta first stormed into a 2-0 lead only for Jankovic to fight back in style to go 3-2 ahead, before the Italian made her baseline game count to take the third and the match.

"I am really happy to win this match today," said the exhausted Italian after nearly two hours of often breath-taking tennis.

"I was nervous at the start, but from the beginning of the second set I pushed a bit more and used my forehand.

"The atmosphere was important and the crowd pulled me through.

"I finally got to sleep about 3am, but only after I had called most of my family to relax first."

Pennetta will play either world number one Dinara Safina or Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska in Saturday's semi-final while Russia's Elena Dementieva and Svetlana Kuznetsova will face each other in the other last four game.

While Dementieva struggled to see off France's Marion Bartoli in her quarter-final, Kuznetsova took just over an hour to beat Argentina's Gisela Dulko 6-3, 6-2 and will now play her compatriot for a place in Sunday's final.

"I played great today," beamed fifth-seed Kuznetsova.

"I was successful with my shots and I am getting better - it's great to be in the semi-finals."

The Russian pair have met each other nine times on the WTA tour with Kuznetsova leading the series 5-4.

Earlier, Olympic champion Dementieva booked her place in the last four with a hard-fought 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 win over Bartoli.

The second-seeded Russian needed two hours and 17 minutes to see off Bartoli who fought her way back after a slow start to threaten the gold-medal winner from Beijing.

"It was my best match of the tournament so far, I feel like I am really playing much better," said Dementieva, ranked third in the world.

"Marion is a good player and she served well all game, it was an emotional match for both of us.

"I am pleased just to have got through it."

Having needed only 30 minutes to win the first set 6-2 with ease, Dementieva found she had a fight on her hands in the second when Bartoli, ranked 13th in the world, took the set 6-4 in 56 minutes.

But the French player faltered in the third when she was immediately broken as Dementieva powered into a 4-0 lead, only for Bartoli to come back to 4-3, but the Russian won the next two games to take the third 6-3.