Ivanovic Wins Los Angeles, Rises to No.4
Published August 12, 2007 12:00
LOS ANGELES, CA, USA - Regardless of how she did in the final, Ana Ivanovic was assured of moving up to a new career-high of No.4 in the world on Monday. But she still gave it her all against Nadia Petrova Sunday afternoon, beating the Russian in straight sets, 75 64, for the East West Bank Classic presented by Herbalife singles title.
Ivanovic, seeded No.3, grabbed a critical break of serve in the penultimate game of the opening set before serving it out, then claimed the only break of the second set in the first game, holding her serve the rest of the match for the one-hour, 34-minute win. On match point in the 10th game of the second set she fired her third ace of the match to win her second title of 2007.
"It was tough for me to get going as I had some muscle pain from yesterday, but I tried to stay relaxed and win each point," Ivanovic said. "I felt I started quite slowly but I tried to take my chances, be aggressive and finish it in two sets."
"She played a very solid game today - it was all about the breaks and she did it," Petrova said. "I just couldn't break her back. I was trying but it just didn't work out. I didn't know what she was going to do and had to be very alert."
Ivanovic has had a meteoric rise among the upper echelon of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour ranks this year, starting with winning Berlin, which propelled her into the Top 10. Reaching her first Grand Slam final in Paris and following that up with a semifinal showing at Wimbledon had pushed her up to No.5 in the world, which became No.4 by virtue of her run to this week's final.
Petrova was impressed by the improved play of the Serbian teenager, who fired 23 of her 31 winners off the forehand side: "I would say she just rips it without even thinking; compared with any other players it is the best forehand by far on the Tour. Her fitness coach did a great job with her. She is in good condition and lost some weight."
In spite of her lengthy semifinal victory over No.2-seeded countrywoman Jelena Jankovic Saturday, where she fended off a 4-1 third set deficit and two match points trailing 5-4, Ivanovic looked fresh during the final. Afterwards, she explained what keeps her motivated when it comes to going on court.
"Coming here I tried to take it step by step and that is how I got the best results," a jubilant Ivanovic said to reporters. "At the moment in women's tennis anyone can beat anyone. This is probably the best time in my career to get the most out of the game. I am trying to enjoy myself and I'm having lots of fun on the court."
The East West Bank Classic presented by Herbalife title was the fourth title of Ivanovic's career on the Tour. She had already captured Canberra in 2005, Montréal last year and Berlin earlier this season. She is now 4-2 lifetime in Tour singles finals. On the other side of the net, Petrova fell to 7-8 in finals.
After the pre-quarterfinal departures of seeds No.5 through No.8, including No.6 Marion Bartoli and No.7 Martina Hingis, the tournament returned to form as the Top 4 seeds all made it through to their projected semifinal slots. After Ivanovic caused her minor upset over Jankovic Saturday afternoon, Petrova won by walkover after No.1-seeded Maria withdrew with a lower left leg strain.
"My muscle was getting tighter and tighter when I came here; when I began to warm up it was getting worse and worse," Sharapova stated. "I couldn't lift my foot on the serve nor could I run to more than two or three balls. I was in the treatment room trying to get everything done to it but it did not help.
"I would love to get on the court and I've been playing some of my best tennis this year. But, when you can't play 100% and can't lift your foot..."
The doubles final was, by contrast to the singles final, a total whitewash, as the No.2 seeds, Kveta Peschke and Rennae Stubbs, cruised past top seeds and recent Roland Garros champs Alicia Molik and Mara Santangelo, 60 61. Peschke and Stubbs won all but 11 of the points in each set during the 43 minute rout.
"We have had some really tough matches," said Stubbs, who won her first Tour doubles title of the year and the 56th of her career. "We came out really, really ready. We did not play well last week and so we were practicing really hard."