Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Jelena Jankovic, a tennis player I'd never heard of prior to today, has reached the semi-finals of the U.S. Open women's singles bracket. As with golf, there are so many men's and women's tennis players out there that it's not unusual for someone I've never heard of to do extremely well in a major tournament.

What makes Jankovic's case unusual -- and interesting to me as an observer of streaks -- is that, in the early months of 2006, she lost 10 straight matches. Given tennis's single-elimination format, she thus went from city to city, getting eliminated each time after one match.

However Jankovic did it, she was able to turn things around, making the quarter-finals (final eight) or better in several later tournaments. I'll have to think about what kinds of analyses I could do. For now, though, her winning streak of five straight matches at the U.S. Open is something to behold.

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