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Ivanovic Passes Martic Test

Former champion Ana Ivanovic survived a mid-match wobble to eventually see off a game Petra Martic in the first round of the French Open on Sunday.

Published May 26, 2013 12:00

Ivanovic Passes Martic Test
Ana Ivanovic

PARIS, France - At stages during her opening round defeat to Ana Ivanovic on Sunday, Petra Martic's mood looked as gray as the skies lurking above Roland Garros.

On a chilly day when both players started out proceedings sporting long-sleeved tops, No.14 seed Ivanovic looked keen to keep her time on court to a minimum, a stream of clubbing forehand winners helping her race through the opening set in under half an hour.

In those opening exchanges, Martic showed precious few glimpses of the player that reached the fourth round 12 months ago, and the writing appeared to be on the wall when she fell a handful of break points down early in the second.

"I started really well and played very aggressive," Ivanovic said. "It was kind of heavy, but it's been that way the whole week and we have been practicing in a similar conditions, so that was not really an issue. But it was cold!"

Martic has won just two matches this year, yet she showed admirable resolve, and no shortage of ability, to dig herself out of this hole with a couple of well-timed ventures to the net. And, to the surprise of most of those huddled inside Chatrier, a few minutes later another foray forward saw her capture a break of her own.

Mixing drops shots with clean hitting from the baseline, Martic continued to set the tone in the second and, despite some dogged defense from Ivanovic, deservedly forced a decider, following another precise serve into the net to convert her fourth set point.

But no sooner had she taken the initiative than the 2008 champion wrestled it back from her. The turning point came at the start of the third set; Ivanovic fending off break point to hold onto a fractious service game before capitalizing on a couple of rare errors from the Croat to move 2-0 ahead.

With her confidence now restored, the winners - and fist pumps - began to flow again. Ivanovic consolidated her advantage with a second break, and, despite a late wobble, eventually closed out a 61 36 63 win when Martic pushed a backhand long on her fifth match point.

"In the second set I kind of let her back in a little bit. She started serving better, going for her shots and mixing up a lot of drop shots and slices," Ivanovic added. "Then in the third set I stepped up again.

"Once I was 5-0 up, she started swinging a little more. But I still had chances, and still played good tennis, I felt.

"At those sort of moments, it's a battle inside, but I try go for my shots even when my back is against the wall. Even when there were some moments when I didn't feel like going for it, I knew I had to step up and be aggressive and put pressure on her. And I'm just very happy that I closed the match out."

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