By Simon Evans
MASON, Ohio (Reuters) - Russia's Maria Sharapova beat Serbia's Jelena Jankovic 4-6 7-6 6-3 to win the Cincinnati Open on Sunday and install herself as one of the favorites for the U.S. Open.
Sharapova started the match brightly, serving well and looking swift on her feet as she took a 4-1 lead but then Jankovic fought back and her Russian opponent crumbled in alarming fashion.
Jankovic won the next five games to take the set as Sharapova's serve fell to pieces with five double-faults contributing to her problems.
The second set was riddled with unforced errors from both players, 27 from Sharapova and 21 from Jankovic but the Russian won the tie-break 7-3 to force the match into a third set.
The first six games of the third set were all broken before Sharapova held serve to go 4-3 up and she showed her old killer instinct to finish off the encounter.
Sharapova's other win this season came in Rome. The former world number one did make the final at Wimbledon but lost to Czech Petra Kvitova. Sharapova was projected to rise to fourth in the world rankings on the back of her latest win.
(Editing by Julian Linden)