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Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Heat forces Jankovic to retire in first round at Bangkok


BANGKOK, Thailand -- Top seed Jelena Jankovic retired from the Bangkok Open after suffering from heat illness in her first-round match with China's Zi Yan on Wednesday.

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Zi advanced 4-6, 7-6 (4).

On a humid evening in the Thai capital, Jankovic let a one-set lead slip away and called it a day after a medical time out, having lost the second set tiebreak.

The world No. 3 had looked in good form during the first set, racing through her service games and unloading a torrent of topspin-loaded drives from her forehand and backhand.

Jankovic was dictating the match from the baseline, forcing frequent errors from Zi, whom she had darting across the court for most of the first set.

But Zi battled back in the second, breaking Jankovic after four games as the heat and a series of marathon rallies took their toll on the Serb, who told medical staff she was experiencing breathing difficulties.

"The doctor asked me to stop the match. If I'd have continued I probably would have fainted and ended up in hospital," Jankovic said.

"I had bad luck, my body was tired and with the heat illness I couldn't continue in this way."

Her retirement was the latest setback for Thai tennis following high-profile withdrawals of Rafael Nadal, Andy Roddick and Novak Djokovic at the ATP Thailand Open two weeks ago.

Rain caused the suspension of the match between American Venus Williams and Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki, with Williams close to victory with a 6-2, 4-1 lead.

In earlier matches, defending champion Vania King beat fellow American Jill Craybas 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 to progress to the second round.

Frenchwoman Camille Pin defeated unseeded Czech Klara Zakopalova 6-3, 7-6 to advance, along with Taiwan's Chan Yung-jan, a 6-3, 6-3 winner over Slovakian Magdelena Rybarikova.