Cibulkova Back On Track, Ivanovic Rolls
Published January 14, 2013 12:00
Ivanovic and Czink shared an historic history - at an Australian Open lead-up in Canberra back in 2005, Ivanovic beat Czink in the final round of qualies and, after Ivanovic made it to the final of the main draw as a qualifier and Czink the same as a lucky loser, Ivanovic beat her again. It is believed to be the only time in WTA history two players have played in the qualies and again in the final of the main draw.
Monday's encounter was far simpler as Ivanovic hit 24 winners to just 13 errors and won in 60 minutes.
"I expected a tough match, because we played a few times in the past and I also lost once against her," Ivanovic said. "I really wanted to make sure I worked hard for each point and try to take time away from her, because she likes to strike the ball and counterpunch and use the pace of opponents
"I was really pleased with my overall performance today."
Ivanovic is hoping to make some inroads in Grand Slam competition in 2013. Her 2012 US Open quarterfinal appearance was her first Grand Slam quarterfinal since winning the 2008 French Open, the 17 Grand Slams in between representing the biggest gap between winning a Grand Slam and reaching another quarterfinal in the Open Era (no one else has even gone more than seven in between).
"Last year, the quarterfinals of the US Open was the first time I played the quarters since winning the French Open, so it's very hard to talk about winning a Grand Slam again just yet," she said. "But I'm definitely feeling my game - it's at a higher level than it was. There are tough opponents out there and lots of girls playing well - I feel I can challenge them. It will be a good test to see how far I can go."
Elsewhere, No.15 seed Dominika Cibulkova was looking for redemption after losing a final three days ago in Sydney by a double bagel to Agnieszka Radwanska - some of that may have trickled over to her first round match in Melbourne, as she dropped the first set to young Australian Ashleigh Barty, 6-3, but the Slovak stormed back, winning nine games in a row from there and eventually rolling, 36 60 61.
In fact 15 of the 16 seeds in action managed to move through, including No.2 seed Maria Sharapova (read more about her win here), No.4 and No.6 seeds Radwanska and Li Na (read more about their wins here), No.9 seed Sam Stosur (read more here) and No.25 seed Venus Williams (read more here).