When Ana Ivanovic recorded a wonderful comeback victory over Samantha Stosur in the previous round I was ecstatic about her performance, but as soon as I realized that her next opponent would be world number one Serena Williams it was a major spoiler and I thought that Ivanovic would hit a brick wall – the American 17-time Grand Slam champion has been so dominant, boasts a record of most career match wins at the Australian Open (61) and was on a 25-match winning streak.
Amazingly, Ivanovic managed to go through the wall, aggressively returning Serena’s serves and dominating rallies, not allowing herself to think about the caliber of her opponent and the fact that she had never won a set against her in their four previous meetings. What has to be mentioned is that Serena’s movement was not at her best, as she was troubled by a back injury numbed with painkillers, but we all know that Serena is always a threat, can play through injuries and especially with a head case such as Ivanovic.
Serena opened the match with an ace, but in that same game Ivanovic earned three break points, and not converting any of them, Ivanovic used her chance in game five and broke for a 3-2 lead. Serena, though, immediately broke back to love and four games later the set was hers. Ivanovic didn’t let the setback of losing the first disappoint her and until the end of the encounter she didn’t allow Williams a single break point! In the second set Ivanovic again broke her opponent’s serve in the fifth game, but this time consolidated it, while in the third set she surged to a 3-0 lead and finished the astonishing upset by serving out the match to love. Overall, Serena served 13 aces in the match and the 14th-seeded Ivanovic just one. Final score: 4-6 6-3 6-3.
Ivanovic’s quarterfinal obstacle will be Eugenie Bouchard, who stopped Australian hope Casey Dellacqua, bageling her in the deciding set 6-7(5) 6-2 6-0. (photo: © Neal Trousdale)