NEW YORK — No. 2 seed Jelena Jankovic outlasted Sofia Arvidsson 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 7-5 Wednesday on a mild August day at the U.S. Open.
During the 2-hour, 44-minute match, Jankovic often bent over her racket, leaned against a back wall with a towel pressed to her face and sprawled on her stomach in the middle of center court. Then she gutted her way into the third round.
The combination of not being in match condition because of a knee injury sustained at Wimbledon, and an array of hard forehands and well-placed drop shots by Arvidsson left Jankovic fighting to get her wind at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
"That was a really tough one," said Jankovic, who has reached the fourth round in the first three Grand Slam events this year. "As you can see, I am completely out of breath. She really pushed me to the limit."
After the match Jankovic planned to run on a treadmill for 10 minutes but stopped after three when severe leg cramps set in. "My leg was straight and I couldn't bend it,'' she said. "I had a lot of pain."
Jankovic twice served for the win in the middle set. Jankovic held off Arvidsson in a back-and-forth third set when both had trouble holding serve.
Jankovic took a 3-0 lead in the second set tiebreak before losing six straight points. Jankovic extended the set by winning two points on her serve, but she fired wide as she approached the net.
In the third set Jankovic took a 3-0 edge. She doubled over again when a shot by Arvidsson crept over the net after it smacked the cord in the fourth game, but that appeared to be exasperation.
After a drop shot eluded her dive, Jankovic dropped to the court facedown and stayed there for several moments.
"I was just tired and I couldn't get up," Jankovic said. "I was just trying to come back to normal position where I could just stand up and regroup again and play the next point."
The only worry she had at that point had to do with her bright yellow outfit.
"I thought I was going to get my dress really dirty. That was my biggest concern," she said. "I would have loved to take a nap on the court because I was really exhausted. But you know, the rules are the rules. I had to keep going."
No. 8 seed Vera Zvonareva was upended by Tatiana Perebiynis 6-3, 6-3.
In men's first-round play, No. 8 seed Andy Roddick, who has battled a shoulder injury that caused him to skip the Beijing Olympics, beat Fabrice Santoro — the oldest man in the draw at 35 — 6-2, 6-2, 6-2.
No. 3 Novak Djokovic shook off an injury to his left ankle in the third set and beat Arnaud Clement 6-3, 6-3, 6-4. Djokovic rolled the ankle going for a shot on the right sideline in the fourth game. After getting treatment on the court, he went on to wrap up the match with a break.