Williams beats Jankovic in battle of former world number ones

Venus Williams though to third round of Family Cup in Charleston

Story highlights

  • Venus Williams beats Jelena Jankovic 7-5 6-0 in Charleston
  • Williams into third round as she continues her comeback after injury
  • Jankovic desperate to find new coach to turn around losing streak
  • Williams to face Australian Anastasia Rodionova in third round

For former world number ones Venus Williams and Jelena Jankovic, their second- round clash at Charleston was a defining moment in the careers of two women desperate to claw their way back to the top.

Once regarded as the best in the world, both have seen their careers stall -- Williams slipping to number 87 and seventh-seeded Jankovic losing in the opening round at her last three tournaments.

But their fortunes took very different turns at Wednesday's Family Cup tournament, with America's Williams defeating Serbia's Jankovic in straight sets, 7-5 6-0.

The victory is a huge boost to Williams' comeback campaign after a long absence due to illness.

Venus, who last won the U.S. tournament in 2004, is continuing her recovery from Sjogren syndrome, an auto-immune disorder.

"Honestly, I don't know how it went that nicely for me. Everything just landed, and she hit a few errors, and that helped me a lot," she said on the WTA website.

Jankovic meanwhile, will be seeking to halt her career spiral after bowing out of the clay season opener.

She had gone into the match the favorite, after beating Williams in their last four meetings on clay, and admitted her lack of a coach was a factor in her defeat.

"I'm in negotiations to find a coach, to get a coach, and I really want to because it's difficult like this, not having anyone, especially when I have to work on some technical things and get the shots right on track," she said.

"It's little things here and there that make a big difference, and it's important to have someone to help you.

"I'm at the stage of my career where I'm getting older and maybe need more help than before, where I could do it alone at times, or with a hitting partner.

"The next few years I'm going to play, I want to try to give my best, and I want to improve. I still want to work hard and try to get better as a player."

Venus will now face Australian Anastasia Rodionova, ranked 96.

Also through to the third round is New Zealand's Marina Erakovic, ranked 17. She beat Georgia's Anna Tatishvili 7-5 6-3, to advance to a meeting with fifth-seeded American Serena Williams Thursday.


    • Rafael Nadal of Spain watches the ball in his match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during during day seven of the China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 3, 2014 in Beijing, China.

      What does 2015 hold for Rafa?

      Rafael Nadal's body might be giving him a few problems, but his mind remains as strong as ever. Will the Spaniard add to his haul of 14 grand slam titles?
    • LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 17: Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and his long time girlfriend Kim Sears arrive at Buckingham Palace on October 17, in London, England. Murray will become an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and receive his medal from the Duke of Cambridge. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

      Love game: Andy Murray to tie knot

      The Scot has served up a few changes to his support team in 2014 but there's one person who isn't going anywhere -- his new fiancée Kim Sears.
    • Despite being forced to retire at the age of 24 due to health problems, Lacoste remained in the game and went on start the "Lacoste" brand in 1933, which specialised in tennis products. The inspiration for the company's logo came from his nickname as a player, "le crocodile."

      'Crocodile' who broke all the rules

      His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
    • Serena Williams of the US holds the US Open trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their US Open 2014 women's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center September 7, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

      Serena savors U.S. Open win

      Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
    • American tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson (right) receives a kiss from compatriot Darlene Hard, whom she beat in two sets to become the first black woman to win the Women's Singles Finals at Wimbledon.

      The amazing life of Althea Gibson

      Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
    • Courting couple at match point

      "I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
    • LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 03: Tennis / Frauen: Wimbledon 2004, London; Finale; Siegerin Maria SHARAPOVA / RUS 03.07.04. (Photo by Bongarts/Bongarts/Getty Images)

      'Baby' Sharapova's big moment

      It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
    • 'Swiss Miss' follows mom's lead

      Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.