Ivanovic Races into Last 16

IvanovicTwo days after she first took to the court, women’s sixth seed Ana Ivanovic advanced to the fourth round with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Aravane Rezai of France. The 19-year-old Serb will be relieved by her rain-interrupted win, for the straight sets scoreline belies a close fought match, at least in the first set.
Twenty-year-old Rezai upset the experienced 29th seed Francesca Schiavone in the second round, and when the match started on Saturday she was quick to demonstrate her ability to trade power with the Serb. But in the second game, having run Ivanovic ragged, Rezai wasted two game points with double faults, and delivered another on break point to hand an early advantage to the Serb.

Rezai, ranked 60 in the world, let slip other chances with Ivanovic serving at 3-1. The Serb pulled back from a 0-30 deficit and at 30-30 Rezai netted a straightforward smash that would have given her break point. Instead, Ivanovic took the game with a smash of her own and moved ahead 4-1.

The young Frenchwoman fought back, however, saving two break points in the next game to hold for 4-2. But three break points were discarded on Ivanovic’s next service game, a mini-epic that that the Serb eventually seized with a trademark clinched fist. Ivanovic reached her first set point in the next game, but Rezai rallied with a chalk-churning serve to the backhand.

Rezai has a remarkably good Grand Slam record for a player who has won just 18 career matches on the WTA Tour. In 2006 she reached the third round at Roland Garros and the fourth round of US Open. But she has won just five matches this year, which surely played a part in this match, her first senior outing at the All England Club.

Ivanovic, by contrast, has had a busy season, following up a tournament win at the German Open with an appearance in the final at Roland Garros. She reached the last 16 at The Championships last year, signaling a capacity to adapt her game from clay to grass, and last week enjoyed straight-set wins over Melinda Czink of Hungary and Meilen Tu of the US.

Serving for the first set, Ivanovic was once again forced on to the back foot. But a lucky net cord heralded a shift in her fortunes and she closed out the opener with two big serves. By now the rain was spitting, the players were getting skittish and play was suspended with Rezai holding game point in the first game of the second set.

Returning to Court 13 on Monday, Ivanovic’s right knee was newly taped while Rezai was a shadow of her former self. Ivanovic broke immediately and, serving well, maintained the advantage for 3-1. Rezai’s seventh double fault and a forehand winner saw the Serb extend that lead to 4-1.

Rezai was able to stem the tide, albeit briefly, when the sixth seed played a loose game for 4-2. Reminded that it was not yet time to relax, Ivanovic replied with force to break again. Presented with a chance to serve for the match, she didn’t miss a beat, winning the final game to love.

Written by Adam Lincoln
Last modified on%PM, %06 %112 %2007 %18:%Jul

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