UPDATE 2-Tennis-Szavay battles back to win China Open
BEIJING, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Hungarian teenager Agnes Szavay staged an astonishing comeback from a set and 5-1 down to beat world number three Jelena Jankovic 6-7 7-5 6-2 in an enthralling China Open final on Sunday.
It was the second career title for the big-serving 18-year-old after her Palermo triumph in July and, after saving a match point, she showed just why she has risen from 207th to 23rd in the world this year.
"I'm so happy," Szavay told reporters. "This is my greatest success and I feel great, it's always good to win a tournament especially from match point down."
Szavay had looked down and out after losing the first set on a tiebreak and being run around the court as the Serbian second seed worked her way to championship point.
The sixth seed saved that with a second-serve ace and on the back of some blistering backhand winners and more 190 kph (117 mph) serves won six straight games to square the match.
"I had so many chances and I tried to rush it and wasn't focused," said Jankovic. "My opponent wasn't making mistakes and I let the match go in a different way."
Jankovic was by now struggling with a neck problem but Szavay showed no mercy and survived a late wobble to claim the $88,265 winners' cheque when the Serbian hit the ball long after three hours of top quality tennis.
"In the third set I didn't have any energy and my whole right side was very stiff," said Jankovic. "I completely broke down. I was a disaster."
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.
But the Hungarian had been blasting the fastest serves in Beijing all week and one of her eight aces kept her alive and sparked the remarkable recovery.
"She's a youngster and she's got huge potential and for sure we'll see a lot more of her," said Jankovic.
Szavay, who is looking forward to returning to Beijing for next year's Olympics, said there was nothing remarkable in her meteoric rise.
"I was sick last year and I only started playing in September," she added. "There's no secret, I'm just improving."
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