Ivanovic and Goerges have had somewhat opposite seasons so far, Ivanovic getting off to a fantastic start with WTA titles at Auckland and Monterrey and moving back up to No.12 in the world, but Goerges coming into Stuttgart an even 9-9 on the year and slipping all the way down to No.94.
And the head-to-head didn't help Goerges any. Ivanovic had won four of their five previous meetings, and though Goerges has had a lot of success on clay - she actually won this tournament in 2011 - Ivanovic has triumphed at the biggest clay court tournament of them all, the French Open, in 2008.
The Turning Point
But all of that went out the window in the first set Thursday. Goerges was completely on her game, blasting 13 winners to just seven unforced errors, while Ivanovic watched it all happen - her numbers weren't bad, five winners to six unforced errors, but Goerges ripped through the set in 27 minutes.
The script flipped right from the start of the second set, though. The No.9-seeded Ivanovic found her range in a big way, winning 11 of the next 14 games to take the second set, 6-2, and build a 5-1 lead in the third. Goerges put up some resistance, holding a marathon six-deuce game to close to 5-2 then breaking to get to 5-3, but Ivanovic broke at love in the next game to finally cross the finish line.
By The Numbers
After that lopsided first set with Goerges' +6 differential (13 to 7) and Ivanovic's -1 differential (5 to 6), Ivanovic's numbers tidied up in a big way. The Serb put together a +9 differential of winners to unforced errors across the second and third sets (20 to 11) while Goerges was a subpar -8 (17 to 25).
"Julia is a very good player and very streaky - she started off so well," Ivanovic said. "I didn't feel I did many things wrong in that first set, she was just playing very well. I don't think she had any unforced errors, to be honest, and she had a lot of winners. But I knew I had to stay positive and calm.
"I waited for my moment and turned it around early in the second set. I played a really good game to break her and then managed to hold my serve, and that set the tone a little bit in the second set. After that a few errors started creeping into her game and I think I used that to my advantage really well. I used that momentum and in the third set I just kept going, staying aggressive and taking risks."