MELBOURNE, Australia - It was one of the matches everyone was waiting for when the draw came out and it didn't disappoint, as Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic put on a dazzling display on Hisense Arena on Friday afternoon, with Ivanovic the better closer at the end of each set to prevail, 75 63.
Ivanovic and Jankovic had played 10 times before and there were no secrets to the match-up, with Ivanovic's heavier firepower going up against the more strategic, consistent game of Jankovic. In the end the big-hitting No.13 seed edged the tenacious No.22 seed, putting together a +7 winners to errors differential (28 to 21) against her countrywoman's -2 winners to errors differential (17 to 19).
"It was intense from the first to the last moment, but I stayed in the zone and played each point," Ivanovic said. "That was my goal today. I'm very pleased I managed to do that and do it well.
"We hadn't played each other in a Grand Slam for a while. We played the semifinals of the French Open in '08 and we were both in the semifinals here in '08 too. It brings back a lot of memories. I think she's still a very good player and it's always tough playing against her in any tournament.
"Even though we're different players now than we were then, it's always still a battle."
Ivanovic leads Jankovic in their head-to-head series now, 8-3. There may not be any secrets between the two when they play each other, but are there any secrets to Ivanovic's success in the series?
"I think it's the style of games," Ivanovic said. "A lot of today's game is mental. With some players you feel better. Her game is a style of game that really suits me, when I can be patient and take my time."
"She's always there, every game. You can't have a second because she'll take the next few points," Watson said of Radwanska. "It's great she's got to the top playing such a different game. It's quite refreshing, I think, because lots of the girls just want to hit one or two shots, big serve, smack a return - it makes it more interesting to play and watch somebody who builds a point, works the point."
Ivanovic has lost her last four meetings with the World No.4. "She has definitely matured a lot as a player," Ivanovic commented. "She was always a very tough competitor. She has a style of game that doesn't give you much, and you really have to work for your points. Patience is going to be a key - I have to be prepared to work hard for my points and just keep trying to put pressure on her."
Also setting up a fourth round match-up was a pair of lefties, Angelique Kerber and Ekaterina Makarova - the No.5-seeded Kerber ended the breakthrough run of American wildcard Madison Keys on Rod Laver Arena, 62 75, while the No.19-seeded Makarova held off a late fightback from No.11 seed Marion Bartoli, allowing a 5-0 third set lead to become 5-4 before finally closing it out, 67(4) 63 64.
It was a particularly special day for Kerber, who celebrated her 25th birthday as well.