MIAMI, FL, USA - There's something to be said about form, but there's something even bigger to be said about head-to-head - Ana Ivanovic proved that in the third round of the Sony Open Tennis on Saturday, improving to 5-0 lifetime against Flavia Pennetta, who had just won the BNP Paribas Open.
Pennetta, who won by far her biggest WTA title at Indian Wells, which was also a Premier Mandatory, came out strong - she broke in the first game and eventually led 3-1 - but the No.12-seeded Ivanovic roared back from there, winning 11 of the next 15 games to beat the No.20-seeded Italian, 64 63.
Ivanovic has now won all five of the pair's career meetings - four of the five in straight sets.
"Flavia has been playing some really good tennis lately. She's really on top of her form," Ivanovic said afterwards. "I expected a tough match today, and I'm really happy the way I played, especially at the end of the first set and in the beginning of the second set. I'm really happy to get this victory today."
After winning Auckland and reaching the Australian Open quarterfinals to start the year, Ivanovic had cooled off a little bit over her last few tournaments - but she seems to be hitting peak form again.
"Australia was such a great trip for me, but I didn't really stop after that. I didn't get a break, I was a little bit injured, I didn't have time to go home - just a few things going on, and I think I needed a break.
"It's all about big picture though, and I'm feeling really good about my game right now."
Ivanovic leads Kvitova in their head-to-head, 4-2, though Kvitova has won two of the last three.
Other early winners were No.5 seed Angelique Kerber, who came out blazing - she won the first 11 games of the match to lead 60 50 - and eventually beat Tsvetana Pironkova, 60 62, and No.23 seed Ekaterina Makarova, who defeated No.9 seed Sara Errani in two hours and 26 minutes, 63 26 64.
Makarova's win over the No.10-ranked Errani was her 12th career Top 10 win. She has never beaten two Top 10 players at the same event - not a good omen going into her fourth rounder with Kerber.
However, Makarova does lead Kerber in their head-to-head series, 4-3, including winning their last two meetings in straight sets - both last year, first at the Australian Open and then at Eastbourne.