SOFIA, Bulgaria - In a battle between the two Grand Slam champions in the Garanti Koza WTA Tournament Of Champions field, 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic made it past 2011 US Open champion Samantha Stosur in three sets as round robin action continued on Thursday.
The two just clashed 13 days ago on a similar indoor hardcourt in Moscow, with Stosur winning that one - in fact Stosur had won their last three meetings. But this time Ivanovic came through, dropping a tight second set but rebounding very nicely in the third set, eventually closing it out, 62 57 62.
The No.2-seeded Ivanovic blasted a huge forehand winner to set up match point, then sealed the one-hour, 54-minute contest when the No.4-seeded Stosur sent a backhand beyond the baseline.
"At the start of the third set she definitely got the momentum back," Stosur said after the match. "You always want to get off to a better start and today, especially in the third, I wasn't able to do that."
"I played a little bit of a loose game at the end of the second set and was rushing a little bit too much, but I managed to calm down and start fresh in the third set," Ivanovic said afterwards. "I started the third set in the same manner as I started the match, so I was very happy about that today.
"I talked a lot with my coach about the last match we played, and I was trying to adjust my position on returns - I felt she was serving really well in Moscow, and this time around I made more returns."
Stosur may have lost this one, but two players move on from each round robin group - even Ivanovic didn't qualify by winning this match. Everything will be determined with Friday's wave of matches.
"Anyone who hasn't lost is probably in the driver's seat," Stosur said. "That's the beauty of the round robin - you can lose and still win the event. You don't want to lose, but you have that next chance."