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Ivanovic Ousts Defending Champion Jankovic

Indian Wells, U.S.A.

Bartoli© Getty ImagesMarion Bartoli is through to the Indian Wells quarter-finals for the first time.

Ana Ivanovic defeated Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 6-2 in an all-Serbian showdown between former BNP Paribas Open champions and WTA World No. 1s on Tuesday at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, and afterwards called it her best match of the season.

“Definitely. I'm really happy,” she said. “I played some good tennis in the past few weeks, as well.  But to have it all the way through and play consistent on that level, I'm really pleased.”

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Ivanovic earned the only break of the first set in the opening game and broke again to start the second set. Though Jankovic got back on serve at 2-all, Ivanovic won the final four games to oust the defending champion.

“It was a tough match,” said Jankovic, who fell to a 3-7 record against Ivanovic. “Ana played really well. She was really on her game today. I had a lot of opportunities, a lot of break points. Especially that first set, every game on her serve I almost had a lot of break points, and I managed to convert only one, which was in the second.

“I felt like my game was not really there. I wasn't really doing the right things out there, and she was really on her game. She was the better player.”

Ivanovic is through to the BNP Paribas Open quarter-finals for a fourth time in six appearances. She won the title in 2008 (d. Kuznetsova) and came just short of the title defense the following year (l. to Zvonareva).

“I enjoy this place a lot. The conditions for tennis are perfect, besides that one year we played the final,” she said with a laugh. “But, no, it's very nice and it's very relaxing. You get lots of practice courts and the hotel is close by, so there is not that much outside stress as well. That’s what I enjoy as well.”

Watch Interviews:  Ivanovic | Bartoli  | Clijsters

She will next meet France’s Marion Bartoli, who was up a break in the second set when two-time champion and No. 2 seed Kim Clijsters retired with a shoulder injury at 3-6, 3-1 after 65 minutes of play. Bartoli, the first opponent Clijsters faced when she made her comeback from a two-year absence in 2009 at Cincinnati, had lost to the Belgian in their previous three career meetings.

“I wasn't serving with the same speed. I wasn't able to accelerate with my right arm, with my forehand,” said Clijsters. “At some point you're like, 'Okay, what do I do?' knowing if I get through this match maybe it's gonna get worse and I'm not gonna play that next match, and there is no match in that next round?  Or do I go for it?

“It's confusing, but I said, 'Look, just do what you think is best for yourself and don't worry about anybody else'. That's obviously what I did, and tried to think, 'Okay, in the long run, what is the most important thing for me right now?'”

The 27-year-old Clijsters had reached the final in her other three main draw appearances this season, winning the Australian Open title in between runner-up showings in Sydney and Paris.

Tenth-seeded Israeli Shahar Peer went the distance to book her place in the quarter-finals, prevailing against fifth seed Francesca Schiavone of Italy 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(3) after two hours and 46 minutes.

Peer is making her 10th visit to the desert and is through to the quarter-finals for the first time. She will play Belgian Yanina Wickmayer next after the No. 23 seed defeated Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova 7-5, 7-5. Cibulkova had upset No. 3 seed and 2009 champion Vera Zvonareva in the third round.

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