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Sunday, September 23, 2007
After trailing 5-1 in second set, Szavay rallies for China Open title


BEIJING -- Hungarian teenager Agnes Szavay staged an astonishing comeback from a set and 5-1 down to beat Jelena Jankovic 6-7, 7-5, 6-2 in an enthralling China Open final on Sunday.

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It was the second career win for the big-serving 18-year-old after her Palermo triumph in July and she showed just why she has risen from 207th to 23rd in the world this year.

"I'm so happy," said Szavay, who fell to her knees with her head buried in her hands at the end of the three-hour contest.

She had looked down and out after losing the first set on a tiebreak and being run around the court as the Serbian second seed put herself in position to serve for the match.

On the back of some blistering backhand winners and a string of big serves, however, the sixth-seeded Hungarian won six games in a row to square the match.

Jankovic was by now struggling with a neck problem but Szavay showed no mercy and survived a late wobble to claim the $88,265 winner's check when the Serb hit the ball long.

It was the first meeting between the two players and the first set was a cagey affair with Jankovic drawing first blood with a break for a 3-1 lead.

Szavay gave a sign of things to come, though, by immediately restoring the balance of the match on her fifth break point after eight deuces in the fifth game.

She retained the upper hand through some long rallies and raced to a 5-0 lead in the tiebreak before Jankovic staged a comeback of her own to triumph 9-7.

That temporarily knocked the stuffing out of Szavay and Jankovic looked to be cruising to her fifth title of the year and the sixth of her career.

But the Hungarian had been blasting the fastest serves of the $600,000 tournament all week and one of eight aces in the match fended off a championship point to spark her remarkable comeback.