Ana Ivanovic is out of the Australian open after a 6-2, 7-6(2) lost at the hands of Petra Kvitova. I wasn’t really in the mood to write last night, so this post is a bit after the fact. But I did want to express my thoughts on the match and the tournament as a whole.
For those who watched the match last night, you obviously already know what happened. Ana’s serve, which had been so efficient and reliable all week, broke down in the 1st set, and she was messy with her shot making. She served better in the 2nd set, dropping her serve just once. Ana got help from Petra Kvitova, while serving down 3-5, when Petra badly missed a overhead on a game point for Ana. By badly missed, I mean missed completely. Ana proceeded to break Kvitova at love while Petra was serving for the match, then held to love to go up 6-5. The match eventually went to a tiebreak, and yeah, lets just say that didn’t go too well. It started with an Ivanovic double fault, and she eventually lost the tiebreak 7-2.
While it was a disappointing performance from Ana, overall it was a pretty good tournament. A year ago, Ana exited Melbourne in the 1st round, after a heartbreaking defeat to Ekaterina Makarova, who is by the way, in this years quarter finals. She followed that up with a first round exit at the French Open and then a 3rd round exit at Wimbledon. Now, Ana has made back to back appearances in the 4th round of a slam. This is progress. Some will point out that she had relatively easy opponents through the first 3 rounds and that those wins don’t mean much. But you have to take in consideration the fact that Ana was losing to these type of players, early and often the past 3 years, and now she’s beating them. Is it something to go crazy over and get all excited about? No. But lets not pretend it doesn’t mean anything either. A win is a win, and she looked good in the process of winning. It wasn’t like she was winning solely because her opponents weren’t that good. Through the first 3 rounds, Ana led the entire womens field in points won on 1st serve. That is an amazing stat given Ana’s struggles with her serve in the past few of years.
That being said, Ana is still looking to reach the quarter finals at a major for the first time since her triumph at Roland Garros in 2008. She is now 0-5 in her five 4th round appearances since then at the slams. She lost to Azarenka at the French in 2009, then to Venus Williams at Wimbledon a few weeks later. At the 2010 US Open, Ana lost to eventual champion Kim Clijsters and then in 2011, to Serena Williams. There’s nothing to be ashamed about losing to those caliber of players. In this same time period however, we have seen players like Melanie Oudin, Angelique Kerber, Sara Errani, Ekaterina Makarova, Sorana Cirstea, Yanina Wickmayer, Kateryna Bondareno and Tsvetana Pironkova all reach a slam quarter finals, while Ana has not. Most of these players had to pull off a big upset against a highly ranked player on their way to making the quarters. Makarova did it just yesterday, defeating Serena Williams in straight sets, having already taken out Kaia Kanepi and Vera Zvonareva. Ana is still looking for that big elusive win. If those players can do it, then Ana certainly can too, and I believe it’s only a matter of time until she does.
Up next for Ana is Doha, followed by Dubai in the month of February. She has no points to defend at either event. Ana will come away from Australia ranked #18 (#19 if Kim wins the title), which is a four spot improvement from the #22 ranking she had coming in. The top15 is within striking distance. Ana could still play Fed Cup in two weeks, but a decision hasn’t been made yet. We should get some news in the next few days.
Well, now that you have heard my thoughts, you can read what Ana thoughts are, from her post match presser, which you can read here.
(Pics via Getty)