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Despite coming within a point of making the final of her first tournament in three months, Serena Williams was her own harshest critic after her three-set loss to Jelena Jankovic
She missed a match point at 5-4, had another chance to serve out at 6-5 and lead 5-2 in the deciding tie-break, but each time she left a chink of light for Jelena Jankovic, and that was all that the Serb needed, running out a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(5) winner.
“I really should have won the match. There was no excuse for not having won it,” the world No.1 said with her usual candour after the match, “I was not playing the points right. I felt that I should have won and I felt that I could have won but I cannot beat myself up over it. I just came back and I have not played a match since January. Whether it was mental or not, it was more about just making errors and winning the important points. I don’t know if that is match-toughness or just”. I don’t know. I am looking forward to Madrid and this is what I do know.”
“Maybe I was living the moment too much,” she smiled as she thought back to her match point. “I was looking at that amazing serve and I was thinking “Man, that’s great!”. She played an incredibly lucky shot – it was a framer – but I don’t want to be a person that dwells. It is what it is.”
Having come back from a knee injury and got four valuable matches under her belt however, she can afford to take the positives from a trip to Rome she originally intended not to make, benefitting from a late wild card from the tournament organisers. “I was sliding like a machine. I felt good and I feel I’ve been working on clay for a long time. Man, that was tough. I was doing a lot of injuries but you have to play nowadays on this tour if you are injured or not, so I was out there I was doing my thing.”