Will Ana ever get to the point that she can overcome unlucky draws? It really sucks that, despite her resurgence, she is still at the mercy of the tennis gods.
If she wants to get back into the top 10 (and I know she does), these are the kind of matches (vs. Safarova, Lisicki in Grand Slam third round) that she needs to win. I thought she could beat Safaraova and/or Lisicki because she's a different Ana this year.
You make your own luck. As Matt Zemek wisely wrote after Ana's loss to Safarova, and that applies here too:
TRANSCENDING: WHAT THE GREAT ONES DO… AND IVANOVIC DIDN’T
There’s a story attached to Ivanovic’s loss which is simultaneously simple (on a conceptual level) and immensely complicated (in the realm of detailed analysis).
The simple part of the equation is that great players, even if they find themselves in tricky X-and-O matchups, will prevail by dint of their skill, will, and overall competitive prowess. Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka do this more often than anyone on the WTA Tour, with Maria Sharapova being the third example. Top-tier careers are built on the foundation of winning lots of matches when an opponent finds a way to make a matchup manageable for an extended period of time, to the extent that the outcome remains uncertain in a second-set tiebreak or a final set after hours of combat.
Let’s put it this way: You might not win most of the time in a bad matchup, but you need to win some of the time, especially when the meaning of the moment is unmistakably large for yourself and your career.
However, great players in both tennis and golf make their names at the majors. These are the four stages each year in which professionals announce their presence as elite competitors, forging legacies that stand above most of their peers. The Xs and Os lined up in favor of Safarova, but this was the time for Ivanovic — who figured out Sharapova, another long-term nemesis, in Rome — to climb higher, to transcend.
She couldn’t, and she really didn’t come close, either.
Yet… there are some occasions when a player must lift everything about oneself — talent, concentration, effort, tactics, the works — over a foe who is particularly suited to cause trouble. For players who have never been able to maintain a home in the top 10 for any appreciable length of time, this expectation really doesn’t apply.
Many will surely disagree, but for a former world No. 1 such as Ivanovic — finally felt to be ready to return to the latter stages of a major in many circles when this tournament began — that kind of expectation seems reasonable and, moreover, appropriate. The application of that standard might indeed be harsh. Scratch that — it is harsh.
It’s also deserved.
Matchups, as much as they matter, should not give a player with world-class capabilities the ability to shrug her shoulders and lament yet another negative twist of fate and fortune.
Greatness overcomes matchups and all other challenges between the painted white lines… not all the time, not even an overwhelming majority of the time, but at least some of the time.
Ana Ivanovic has enjoyed a very good year.
She is still in search of a great one, her first since 2008.
This is how the major tournaments separate the legends from the not-quite legends in tennis.
If Ana ever wants to be top 10 and deserve it, she needs to make her own luck and not wait for it to fall on her lap. If she indeed is making steps further and is a different Ana to the last 6 years, losses like this are no acceptable. Maybe she just isn't different.. its the same Ana.. and instead of looking at her as having bad luck with these draws.. maybe we should look at her having good luck at the draws she did well at, and that's the only difference..