Ivanovic, Jankovic Within Striking Distance of the Top 10

Battling each other in Grand Slam semis, making finals at the Majors, holding the No. 1 ranking—that all used to be status quo for Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic.

The past couple of years for both of the Serbian superstars make that all seem like a distant memory. Both of them finished 2011 outside of the top 10—the first time neither one has been ranked among the WTA’s elite since 2006. Since 2009, there’s only been one Grand Slam semifinal appearance between the two of them. And at one point in 2010, Ivanovic found herself ranked outside the top 60.

Despite that, 2012 has the potential to mark a return to form for both of them.

Perhaps the most compelling reason to believe they could find themselves back in the top 10 is the unpredictability of the women’s tour right now. Last year, three players won the first Grand Slam titles of their careers: Li Na at the French Open, Petra Kvitova at Wimbledon and Samantha Stosur at the U.S. Open. Those three definitely weren’t considered clear-cut favorites going into those Majors, but there they were at the end of the two weeks lifting the big trophies.

In other words, it’s anyone’s ball game out there, a fact that should serve two veterans that have found themselves in winning positions on the biggest stages quite well.

That segues into the experience factor being crucial to further success. Ivanovic is a former French Open champion and has been runner-up in two other Grand Slam finals. In addition to making the finals of the U.S. Open in ’08, Jankovic has made five other Major semis in her career.

Their playing style also translates well to any surface, each having had success on grass, hard and clay courts. While neither Jankovic or Ivanovic have been considered the biggest hitters in the game, they are each athletic enough to get themselves in position to generate more pace on their groundstrokes than most players and are capable of playing solid defense.

Plus, there are some signs that they’re heading in the right direction. After going exactly two years between winning singles titles, Ivanovic has won three in the past year. Jankovic still managed to make two finals in 2011, despite it being a down season for her.

The two have been making news this offseason with changes on their teams, as well, bringing in new trainers and in the case of Jankovic, a new coach.

Sitting within striking distance of the top 10, Ivanovic and Jankovic have the games and the experience to get them back near the upper reaches of the standings. It boils down to a matter of putting it all together now, still in the prime of their careers.