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Ivanovic Wins First Grass Court Title

Ana Ivanovic captured her first grass court title - and her biggest WTA title since winning the French Open - at the Premier-level Aegon Classic in Birmingham.

Published June 15, 2014 12:15

BIRMINGHAM, England - Ana Ivanovic won the first grass court title of her career on Sunday, beating Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in the final of the Premier-level Aegon Classic in Birmingham.

Watch match highlights, interviews and much more video from Birmingham on wtatennis.com!

The Plot
Zahlavova Strycova was definitely the Cinderella story of the tournament. Having never even made it to the quarterfinals of a Premier-level event, she made it all the way to her first Premier final on the lawns of the Edgbaston Priory Club, and as an unseeded player as well, taking out a trio of seeds - No.5 seed Lucie Safarova, No.4 seed Kirsten Flipkens and No.15 seed Casey Dellacqua - along the way.

But the No.1-seeded Ivanovic was at another level than them. She didn't drop a set en route to the final - she wasn't even pushed past 6-4 in any set - and there was an extra incentive for her, never having won a grass court title on the WTA. She had never even been to a grass court final before.

And to top it all off, Ivanovic had won both of their previous meetings - comprehensively.

The Turning Point
And this one was no different. Zahlavova Strycova showed some encouraging signs early on, breaking serve in the first game of the match and then going up 30-15 on her first service game, but Ivanovic wouldn't have any of it, winning the next four games in a row to build a 4-1 opening set lead.

The two kept trading holds from there until Ivanovic pocketed the set, 6-3, and after Zahlavova Strycova held serve in the opening game of the second set the Serb went on another streak, reeling off five games in a row to go up 5-1. She would eventually serve the match out at love, 6-3, 6-2.

By The Numbers
Both players played a pretty clean match - an hour and 17 minutes, 19 unforced errors each - but it was Ivanovic whose aggressive game produced most of the winners, almost twice as many as her opponent in fact, 22 to 12. And those 22 winners came from all wings - not just her legendary forehand.

Beyond the match numbers, the biggest stat is that Ivanovic collected her first grass court title. It was her 14th overall WTA title, with 11 coming on hardcourts, two on clay and now one on grass.

It was also her biggest title since winning the French Open in 2008 - she had won six other WTA titles between then and now, but they were all at Internationals or at Premiers with less total prize money.

This was also Ivanovic's WTA-leading 37th match win of 2014. Carla Suárez Navarro is next with 34.

Ivanovic will rise from No.13 to No.11 on the WTA Rankings and from No.8 to No.6 on the Road To Singapore leaderboard, leading to the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.

Quotes
"Ana was playing really well - I want to wish her good luck at Wimbledon," Zahlavova Strycova said at the trophy ceremony. "For me, I enjoyed myself so much this week. The crowd was amazing."

"Barbora had an amazing week too - best of luck at 's-Hertogenbosch and Wimbledon," Ivanovic replied. "The crowd really has been amazing. I enjoyed my time here and I look forward to next year."

Ivanovic was then told she's adding her name to a list of Birmingham champions that includes WTA legends Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King. "It definitely feels very special, not just to win my first title on grass, but to put my name next to champions like that," Ivanovic said. "Hopefully they can help me with my smashes!" she added, referring to a few missed overheads from the final.

She then thanked everyone from the ballkids to the officials and her team.

"I really had a good time on grass."

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