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Ana Ivanovic says goodbye in the Australian Open second round

Ana IvanovicTroubles are still there for Ana Ivanovic. We celebrated her first-round victory at the 2010 Australian Open, but that was the last reason Ana gave us to celebrate as she lost in the very next round of the tournament. What makes it acceptable is that she was defeated by 36th-ranked Gisela Dulko, but still, Ana’s record against the Argentinean used to be 2-0.

Ivanovic’s slump started a long time ago, just after she won her maiden Grand Slam title and became No.1 in 2008. Since that time, Ivanovic hasn’t gone further than the fourth round in a Grand Slam and is ranked 21st now.

The Serb struggled with serving in the match against Dulko and the Argentinean won despite almost blowing a 5-1 lead in the third set. Dulko clinched a 6-7(6) 7-5 6-4 victory on her sixth match point.

Despite this disappointing loss, Ivanovic feels her game has improved: "It's hard. It hurts, I must say. For sure it will, but it's a process. I do feel better on the court. I'm playing much better. I feel like my old self."

Also, Ivanovic tried to explain why she has problems with ball toss: "I think what happens when my ball toss gets away from me, it's when I rush a little bit. It just gets away from me because I hold the ball so tight instead of just relaxing." (sources: BBC, ESPN, photo via Australian Open)

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16 thoughts on “Ana Ivanovic says goodbye in the Australian Open second round

  1. mg

    Ana…Ajde! I think she's right when she says she's playing better, but… it's still miles away from the old herself. She's making so, so many mistakes.She can still make a great point, but, after that she makes 2 unenforced errors.I think that's her AO story.And, of course, the serve.What is with that ball toss?!! Just throw the ball and hit it, without thinking.When she does that properly, she actually serves quite well.But, until she does it…Why pressure? I think that she has reached the point when nobody actually expects from her to make it to the semifinals, quarterfinals.So why is she so nervous? Take it easy, Ana…

  2. Marija Post author

    I feel like she has entered some vicious circle that she doesn't know how to get out of. I think that one day she will get out of it just like that, it will simply happen, without effort.

  3. Lilly

    Agreed, but she needs to get out of it fast. I was hoping Ana would make it further, she played really well against Justine at Brisbane, and I had hoped that that fire would continue. I think she's still putting a lot of pressure on herself because she knows how well she can do and wants to get back to that level, but now that Kim and Justine are back on tour and other girls are getting better and better, it's probably a more daunting task for her.

  4. P!nky

    i watched the match, and both players were being streaky. They both played well in parts of the match and were struggling in times, but Dulko was playing well most of the match. It was a great match to watch. Pity Ana couldn't win the match. What Ana needs to do is win one of these tough matches..

  5. Marija Post author

    Lilly, I think Ana's pressure is more inside her, it's not related to other players and the state of the Tour. She probably only needs to mature and in time her stability will come.

  6. Marija Post author

    P!nky, I think she'll win such tough matches, it just takes time, literally, just peaceful passage of time. Am I being poetic? :P

  7. bb

    lol…yes you are Marija, but it's funny!

    I do think ana is getting better even though she lost to Dulko. Dulko is no joke, she beats top players often (Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon 2nd round) but Ana should have one that. In the first set when Ana was losing she started playing brilliantly wining like 15 points in a row, but then she fell again. Her streaks are short and sweet.

    Where and when will we see her play next? I want to see if she'll improve her serve and lower her unforced errors which were the main factor in her loss to Dulko.

  8. marine

    Ana needs to improve her mental game, I think that's the bottom line. She probably meditates too much about the past and tries too hard which kind of blocks her. She needs to live the moment and put 100% into each point because as we've seen so many times previous grand slam victories make no one unbeatable.

  9. Ella

    I watched this match and, well, I'm not surprised she lost. Dulko knows how to move the ball around the court and make the tall players feel uncomfortable-the only way they beat her is by consistently hitting the ball hard, which Ana couldn't do this match. Ana's main problem is that she gained her first slam and #1 ranking without having to beat top players, and now that they are back healthy and playing consistently her confidence is in shambles. Remember how she broke down after she retired at Wimbledon last year against Venus? Sure, she may have had a sore thigh/knee, but she wasn't able to handle facing not only the defending champ, but the best grass player of her generation. When you get to that point in your career that you don't feel like you fit in with the top anymore it's difficult to breakthrough that again.
    Basically, it wasn't in her best interests to inherit the #1 and a slam during the time Henin left because she didn't have the opportunity to test herself against the best (when she was among them), and now they've left her in the dust. Combine that with Henin and Clijsters coming back and her advancement into the glamour girl of tennis nonsense and there you have it. She needs more time on the court with a coach whom actually cares about fixing her serve, and her confidence.

  10. Bróna

    It's sad that this is still going on. Over the past year and a half we all know that she hasn't been at her best. Time and time again she enters another tournament and I think that maybe she will finally return to how she once played but I'm beginning to think that Ana may never get back to where she was. I think she can get back into the top 10, but I really doubt that she will ever be no.1 again. I really hope that this doesn't happen because I as much as anyone else would love to see her back up there but now that Kim and Justine have returned, Venus and Serena are still playing well and the new generation emerging it is going to be incredibly difficult for her to manage. It's all mental, you can see that her shots are still there but obviously that ball toss needs a huge makeover because it is incredibly painful to watch at times. Hopefully Ana of 2007/2008 returns….

    Sorry for blabbing on :P

  11. jacob

    ella, where did you watch it? i'm australian – and the only girls ive watched so far are sam stosur and justine henin. this is stupid! no williams sisters. not even highlights.

  12. Curtis

    am getting really, really worried about Ana never being able to pull out of this slump. She had a decent draw, came off a semi's appearance in Brisbane and she goes out in the 2nd round. Her game is still a complete mess, her confidence is badly shaken and she still sounds delusional in her pressers. I am losing hope.

    What happened to the Ana that won Roland Garros? I still in amazed at how far she has fallen in such a short period of time. She is beginning to become irrelevant, where as 18 months ago, she was seen as the games next mega star. This is just sad. Very sad.

    This loss is very damaging to her. She needed a good tournament to build on and she gets another blow to her already fragile psyche. I dont know how she bounces back from this. If she doesn't get it together quickly she could soon be outside the top 50. Poor Ana, she doesn't deserve this. :(

    But what she needs to do, probably what she should of have done months ago is get a entire new team. New full time coach, new management, new everything. Going without a full time coach is a major mistake. Trading fitness coaches did not help her fitness. Refusing to see a sports psychologist is not helping her mindset. Not playing in more MM tournaments is not helping her win more matches, thus get more match play, improve her game and gain more confidence. She is getting lots of bad advice and team Ivanovic is making to many questionable decisions. Time for a massive change. But at the end of the day, it's all up to her. I am not very optimistic about Ana's long term prospects, but I hope she proves me wrong.

  13. bb

    I agree that she needs a MAJOR change…and I think that part of the problem is her emotional state. She is in a relationship which obviously does not help her (unlike JJ who, by the way, LOST today's third round match against A. Bodarenko!! She played as though she wanted to lose!!!). Ana is still immature and certainly needs a full time trainer and a phsychologist. I want her to return to the top, and if she does not do so in this year, she'll be considered history!

  14. Leo

    well what can i say? ana hasn't get out of her hell…. she has the qualities of a great player. a powerful forehand, very good ground strokes and the height to match her power. bu what is her problem? it is simple: her ability to contain her emotions and her ability to use her mental game to complement with her physical game. she's a very emotional player and most of the time she gets carried away from her emotions that's why she loses her focus. mentally, she doesn't have the nerves of steel. you can really tell if she is nervous or not….. she doesn't even construct the points very well and that is also one reason why other players can read her game very well…. to add insult….. her once powerful serve is gone and now, she has a problem on her ball toss….. she needs to assess herself very well and she has to believe all the time that she has what it takes to be one of the world's best….. she's talking a lot about her problems with her game and emotions but nothing has happened good for us to really say that she's on recovery….. I'm a big of fan of Ana and I really like her but she must prove to all of us that she can be the elite group of tennis players once again….. ana can learn a thing or two from justine henin about digging deep….. no matter what situation she's in, it's very important that she plays her game well and raise the quality of her tennis…. if she continues with her dismal performance, it will put a lot of pressure on her and will make her the next drama queen of tennis…. i hope it won't happen…

  15. Marija Post author

    Bb, Ana will next play the Fed Cup in Belgrade, Serbia vs. Russia.

    I don't know, I still believe that it's not over with Ana, she will be back, it's just a matter of time.

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