Ivanovic Vs Venus In Auckland
Published January 03, 2014 12:13
The two former World No.1s had much different roads through the semifinals, however, with Williams advancing via walkover when No.5 seed Jamie Hampton was forced to withdraw from the tournament due to a hip injury suffered in practice. The Americans were set to play each other for the first time.
"At the end of my warm-up this morning I took a couple of extra swing volleys and I just jammed my hip," Hampton said. "I think I'll be fine for the Australian Open if I take the proper steps to recover.
"It's incredibly disappointing. I wanted the opportunity to play such a great champion and have a chance at making the finals and winning my first title, but that's how the cookie crumbles unfortunately."
The No.2-seeded Ivanovic followed Williams into the final later in the day with a 60 76(3) victory over No.3 seed Kirsten Flipkens. It was a match of two halves, with Ivanovic storming through the first set in just 21 minutes but grinding through a 49-minute second set where neither player budged on serve.
"The first set was really almost without mistakes - I served well, hit the ball well and played very aggressive too," Ivanovic said. "The second set I felt was good for me too, but she started to serve better and put a lot more pressure on me, but I managed to serve well too and played well at the end.
"I expected a tough match today and it turned out to be a really tough second set."
Regardless of how they got there, though, what the tournament now has is a dream final - a pair of players who aren't just former World No.1s but Grand Slam champions too, with Williams capturing seven majors (five Wimbledons and two US Opens) and Ivanovic winning one (a French Open).
Williams leads Ivanovic in their head-to-head series, 8-1, but there is one encouraging thing about that record for Ivanovic - her lone win came under very similar conditions, at the Australian Open in 2008.
"We all know what Venus is capable of, and she's been showing some good form this week too," Ivanovic said. "I've struggled with both Serena and Venus in the past. They both have a big serve, and it can be overwhelming at times. But over the years you get used to it and become more calm. There's no doubt it'll be a very, very tough match, but it's a matter of still doing the things I've worked on.
"We've had some tough matches in the past and I'm really looking forward to that final challenge."