Inspired Ivanovic Stuns Serena
Published January 19, 2014 12:15
MELBOURNE, Australia - Such was Serena Williams' dominance in 2013 that there was buzz in the tennis world about her potentially winning a calendar year Grand Slam in 2014 - but Ana Ivanovic put an abrupt end to that buzz, stunning the World No.1 in the fourth round of the Australian Open.
The No.1-seeded Williams didn't look her best - off the ground she had five winners to 25 unforced in the match - but Ivanovic was as sharp as ever, even after falling behind a set, and after Williams sent one last shot beyond the baseline the No.14-seeded Serb had the biggest win of her career, 46 63 63.
"I actually believed," Ivanovic said. "I had some confidence coming into today's match. I really did certain things extremely well, and I kept her under pressure throughout the whole match, I felt.
"I just think I stayed in the moment physically. I didn't think much about the occasion and who I was playing, because it can get overwhelming. I just stuck with my things and it really paid off."
Having never won a set against Williams, winning a whole match in one shot is a huge step forward.
"It's hard. I had to remind myself all the time to stay in the moment. Because there were moments where it could have gone either way. But I believed in my game and stepped up when I needed to.
"I had to break a fourth round spell - what better place to do it than here against such a champion?"
Ivanovic actually hasn't lost a match all year. She won her only lead-up event in Auckland a few weeks ago, and during that run she actually beat Venus Williams - that came into play against little sister.
"I kept thinking and going back to that match against Venus," Ivanovic said. "I felt in Auckland Venus was serving a lot faster than Serena today, and that definitely gave me confidence for today's win."
"I definitely didn't feel myself going into the match today," she said. "I made a tremendous amount of errors, shots I missed I normally don't miss, that I haven't missed since the '80s. I'm just not used to missing those shots. She made some great shots, and I just made way, way, a lot of unforced errors.
"But it's okay. It wasn't the best, but it was all Ana today. I thought she played really well."
She still has an incredible 17 Grand Slam titles to her name, and there's a reason for that - no matter how many times she stumbles, she gets up, gets back to work and sets her sights on the next one.
"I'm always disappointed when I lose, but it's always a good thing. I plan on getting better. It's almost good that I lost today because now I know what to work on when I get on the practice court.
"You know, when I fell at Wimbledon, I was able to get myself back up. Sometimes it's good when I lose because it takes my head out of the clouds. Not that they are ever there really, so to speak.
"I just work as if I'm ranked 1000 in the world."