Ana has never won a single match in Madrid before on clay. She withdrew prior to the inaugural Mutua Madrid Open in 2009, due to an knee injury. Ivanovic then lost her opening round matches the past two seasons to Jelena Jankovic and Bethani Mattek-Sands respectively. She did reach the semifinals of the 2007 Year End Championships in Madrid on hard court, but that was a completely different tournament. Ana is still in search for that elusive first victory at this particular Spanish clay court event. Maybe the change of color in the playing surface will also change her luck.
It’s still unclear who Ana will play in her 1st round match. The draw for the 2012 Mutua Madrid Open was done today, which you can view here. It has Ana opening against a qualifier, which will not be determined until tomorrow, when qualifying is complete. Nadia Petrova and Vania King could await in the 2nd round, and world #1 Viktoria Azarenka likely standing in Ana’s way in the 3rd round. Anything after this is icing on the cake as far as I’m concerned.
It’s a tough draw, but I see Ana reaching the 3rd round before falling to Azarenka. I’ll be quite surprised if Ana can pull the upset, but who knows. It would be an enormous upset and victory for the Serbian if she can pull it off. A game changing kind of win.
The storyline coming into this week is the new blue clay, that will make its much anticipated debut in Madrid. You can view a pic of it here. There’s been mixed feelings from players and fans alike regarding the blue clay. I’m personally not a huge fan of it. It reminds me a lot of the Boise St. football blue turf, up in Boise, Idaho. I prefer the traditional red clay, and the blue just doesn’t look right. I love it on hard courts, but not on clay. But I guess I’ll wait until I actually have seen tennis played on it first before fully judging it. Ana has her own thoughts on the new playing surface. On her Facebook page today, Ana described the blue clay as “quite heavy clay (there’s a lot of it)” and says it is quite different from Stuttgart and similar to what she played on in Moscow during Fed Cup. We’ll see if this will translate to better success for Ana, than the red clay here in the past. Hey, if she does well here, I could care less what the color of it is, if she is winning on it.
Ana will play Sunday. Time and court to be determined.