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Bijoux0021
Sep 2nd, 2006, 01:16 AM
Updated: Sep. 1, 2006, 8:26 PM ET

Ivanovic major obstacle for Serena

By Bonnie DeSimone
Special to ESPN.com

NEW YORK -- Four years ago, on her way to her first U.S. Open junior tournament, Ana Ivanovic spotted Russia's Marat Safin on an airport concourse and asked the 2000 Open champion to pose for a photo with her.

She still has the snapshot, but the 17th-seeded Ivanovic is no longer a star-struck neophyte. She's playing her former idols, and more than holding her own. Two Mondays ago, she drubbed Martina Hingis in the final in Montreal to win her first big tournament (she also won an Australian Open tuneup in 2005), taking Hingis apart in a match that lasted less than an hour.

"She saw Hingis win a lot of those Grand Slams as a kid, so for her to mentally be able to put herself in such a calm position throughout the whole match and deal with the emotion of winning such a big match was a huge step," said her coach, Australian David Taylor. "Ana's a player who's always had two or three great wins a week, but never five or six to win a tournament. Winning a title, there's a real permanence about it. That's helped her a lot."

The slender 6-foot Serbian is preparing to take on her second multiple Grand Slam winner in as many weeks -- Serena Williams, who appears to be fit and primed for a U.S. Open run, and can likely count on vocal crowd support in her third-round match. The two have never played.

"I had a kind of a tough draw, but when I saw the direction, I was really looking forward to that match," Ivanovic said. "It's going to be tough. She plays so fast."

But Ivanovic doesn't intend to play defensively. "The more I come into the net, the less time I give her to run and make a good shot," she said.

Ivanovic has a habit of narrowing her eyes into an intense squint as she sways on the baseline, awaiting her opponent's serve. It's symbolic of her growing ability to focus point-by-point, reducing her world to the present moment rather than allowing emotion to derail her.

She's progressed spectacularly fast in less than two years on the women's tour, starting unranked in early 2004 and rising to a career-high No. 17. She has twice defeated current No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo -- upending her last year in the third round of the French Open -- and also reached the quarterfinals at Indian Wells and Miami.

Taylor, the Aussie Fed Cup coach who has worked with Ivanovic since earlier this year, said one of his biggest challenges is saving her from her own enthusiasm. She spent a month this winter in Australia, where she has extended family.

"She's obviously familiar with a lot of our colloquialisms and the culture we have is quite a relaxed culture," Taylor said. "That fits in well with her. She sometimes gets too motivated and it's good for her to relax a little bit.

"You have to hold her back a lot. We started out doing fitness for two weeks, three sessions a day. I expected by October she'd be able to go longer in tournaments without having fatigue. She's a bit ahead of where I thought she'd be.

"Things change quickly and I think for her, she really believes she's one of the better girls. Having a sense of belonging is a big thing."

Ivanovic was born precocious. She clearly recalls watching fellow Serbian Monica Seles on television when she was 5 years old and writing down the phone number of a tennis school that was advertised during a commercial break in the match. She pestered her parents, a lawyer and an economist, until they enrolled her.

Her recent success could make her the object of a bidding war between two tennis federations.

Ivanovic plays under the flag of Serbia and Montenegro, the conjoined republics that were part of the former Yugoslavia. In May, the citizens of Montenegro voted to separate from Serbia. Ivanovic and other players, including 20th-ranked Jelena Jankovic and, on the men's side, No. 23 Novak Djokovic, have until the end of the year to decide which country they want to represent.

"Each federation wants all of us to play for them," said Ivanovic. She has split loyalties -- her father was born in Montenegro and she grew up in Belgrade -- and has yet to choose between them.

She'll only up the ante if she's able to handle Williams.


Frequent contributor Bonnie DeSimone is covering the U.S. Open for ESPN.com.

http://*****.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/usopen06/news/story?id=2568986

olivia100
Sep 2nd, 2006, 01:35 AM
Hell, it seems as though everyone is a major obstacle for Serena...Dani was one also.

Pureracket
Sep 2nd, 2006, 01:38 AM
Hell, it seems as though everyone is a major obstacle for Serena...Dani was one also.Trust me on this one, 'Liv. . . .Ivanovic is the real deal.

Joana
Sep 2nd, 2006, 01:41 AM
I'm already bored of this match and it hasn't even begun yet. Seriously, I think it's going to suck.

olivia100
Sep 2nd, 2006, 01:46 AM
Trust me on this one, 'Liv. . . .Ivanovic is the real deal.

Pure, she's the real deal and what is Serena....the fake deal.

olivia100
Sep 2nd, 2006, 01:47 AM
Serena is not Martina Hingus or Amiele.

Pureracket
Sep 2nd, 2006, 01:48 AM
Pure, she's the real deal and what is Serena....the fake deal.Didn't say that. By saying that Ivanovic is good is not saying that Serena is not. Ivanovic is good in her own right.

cellophane
Sep 2nd, 2006, 01:50 AM
Ana will have to show up right away or she is toast.

Volcana
Sep 2nd, 2006, 01:53 AM
The only obstacle form Serena in that matchis her own conditioning. She was breathing hard between points vs Hantuchova. If Ivanovic is smart enough, and skilled enough, to deliberately lengthen the points, she could win. But that's a veteran play. I don't think Ivanovic has the mental game to accept losing points early just to wear Serena out. She's gonna go out there and bang away, and
whoever crumbles, crumbles. But with the amount of rest Serena's going to have before this match, I think her conditioning will hold up. But when Serena has to play three matches in three days, she's in trouble.

So Disrespectful
Sep 2nd, 2006, 02:01 AM
The slender 6-foot Serbian

:lol:

Volcana
Sep 2nd, 2006, 02:04 AM
The slender 6-foot SerbianCompared to Star Jones.

So Disrespectful
Sep 2nd, 2006, 02:06 AM
Compared to Star Jones.

Beat you :p ;)

Australian Tennis Magazine also once said that "she has a power which belies her size" :tape:

harloo
Sep 2nd, 2006, 02:15 AM
I'm starting to get tired about the hype surrounding this match. I was watching Ivanovic on interactive coverage and I think a fit, in form Serena wouldn't have much problem with her. However that's not the case here, so I think it's best to just wait and see before making any wild predictions.

Ben.
Sep 2nd, 2006, 02:41 AM
whoever is the more consistent, agressive & willing 2 take their chances of the 2 will win the match. I can guarantee u that. but i won't be surprised if this match becomes 1 sided 4 either player. anything can 2morrow evening u no.

matthieu_tennis
Sep 2nd, 2006, 03:01 AM
serena is playing so defensively :) hantuchova was putting the pressure on that first set:) if ivanovic is on :) she will win

Pureracket
Sep 2nd, 2006, 03:03 AM
serena is playing so defensively :) hantuchova was putting the pressure on that first set:) if ivanovic is on :) she will winShe did start out defensively, and I think that that's what she often does. I don't really see where DH put pressure on that first serve, though. After Serena was broken, she only faced one break point(I think).

Cp6uja
Sep 2nd, 2006, 03:13 AM
Serena is not Martina Hingus or Amiele.

Are you talking about Serena2002 or Serena2006 :confused:

Pureracket
Sep 2nd, 2006, 03:19 AM
Are you talking about Serena2002 or Serena2006 :confused:I'm not sure if either version hits like Hingis or Amelie.

mboyle
Sep 2nd, 2006, 03:20 AM
She did start out defensively, and I think that that's what she often does. I don't really see where DH put pressure on that first serve, though. After Serena was broken, she only faced one break point(I think).

Ivanovic and Vaidisova are the most aggressive first service returners in the game. They play a whole different ball game from when Serena was dominating. I'm not saying it's better or worse, but Dani to Ana is not really a great comparison. Dani still works points. Ana tries to end points with one shot, and it often works. It is hard to get your rhythm against that type of player, and rhythm is vital to Serena's game.

That said, Serena is Serena, and has the ability to beat anyone. I just don't think one can say either way who will win. I'm leaning towards Serena right now, but no one should dismiss either player.

Pureracket
Sep 2nd, 2006, 03:25 AM
I like Ana's game alot. I'm not sure she has the movement for Serena's shots, though. Just as Ana is not DH, Serena is certainly not Hingis or Amelie. Her shots right now are harder and a little flatter than both or theirs.

hablo
Sep 2nd, 2006, 03:32 AM
I hope this match lives up to the expectations.

mboyle
Sep 2nd, 2006, 03:41 AM
I like Ana's game alot. I'm not sure she has the movement for Serena's shots, though. Just as Ana is not DH, Serena is certainly not Hingis or Amelie. Her shots right now are harder and a little flatter than both or theirs.

The trouble is, Serena is not attacking from the get go. Hantuchova was dictating play and missing or not putting the ball away in time. Serena was also relatively slow out there. If Ana plays like in Montreal, and if Serena plays as she did against Hantuchova, Ana will win. I have to expect that Serena would raise her game if need be, however, and then we will have one interesting match, won't we?;)

delicatecutter
Sep 2nd, 2006, 03:44 AM
That was a great article! However, I am surprised that it said Ana still doesn't know if she's going to play for Serbia or not? :confused:

YouandMe
Sep 2nd, 2006, 04:11 AM
I'm already bored of this match and it hasn't even begun yet. Seriously, I think it's going to suck.

not as much as you

G~Playa
Sep 2nd, 2006, 05:16 AM
iHope Ana Wins!

Call It Magic
Sep 2nd, 2006, 05:18 AM
I hope this match lives up to the expectations.
It won't :yawn: It'll be Serena 6-2 6-3 :yawn:

VeeReeDavJCap81
Sep 2nd, 2006, 05:20 AM
Serena cannot be defensive, that's a must. Maybe Serena of 2002-2003 could've defended her way to a win against Ivanovic. However, Serena no longer has that kind of movement where she could run shots down, and come up with something special of her own. I say if Serena is aggressive, especially off the return...then she'll win. If she tries to defend, I think Ana will pull through.

There are also other intangibles.... Of course Serena has the mental advantage of being an experienced player who can beat anyone even if she's injured or not playing well. Serena also IMO has more variety in her game (albeit she's not JHH) and has a plan B and C. From what I've seen of Ana, she doesn't really have a plan B. Serena's A game of course is to play first strike, but Serena is capable of lengthening points, taking the pace off the ball, waiting for errors from her opponent, using angles, stepping up to the net from the baseline, etc; One last note is that Serena has been playing better percentages than has Ana if you look at match statistic, so that might come into play as well.


IMO, if Serena wins this match she should make the semis. Go Rena :bounce:

burgerboy
Sep 2nd, 2006, 05:41 AM
Ivanovic and Vaidisova are the most aggressive first service returners in the game. They play a whole different ball game from when Serena was dominating. I'm not saying it's better or worse, but Dani to Ana is not really a great comparison. Dani still works points. Ana tries to end points with one shot, and it often works. It is hard to get your rhythm against that type of player, and rhythm is vital to Serena's game.

That said, Serena is Serena, and has the ability to beat anyone. I just don't think one can say either way who will win. I'm leaning towards Serena right now, but no one should dismiss either player.

The thing is, that is not true. Just becuase girls like Maria and Nicole try to hit the ball as hard as they can on every shot does'nt make it a "a whole different ball game." :rolleyes: It is not like Serena wouldn't be able to handle the pace. When she was dominating she played Davenport and Venus; girls like this who are still the hardest hitters on the tour. Don't say that they were slow or inconsitent becusae their games have staid the same (w/ the exception of Venus' 04) and they are still are both capable of making it to Grand slam finals like they did last year. Serena was just better then the rest of the feild. Stop trying to lower Serena's accomplishments. And also, the only reason that the girls play like that today is becuse of the Williams sisters. They forced the tour to get a lot stronger. You are probably going to deny and say that Sharapova did that or something :weirdo: , but they did. Serena's game is to construct points; she'll will be able to do this even against the one-dimensional new genration of Serena-wannabes.

supergrunt
Sep 2nd, 2006, 05:46 AM
The thing is, that is not true. Just becuase girls like Maria and Nicole try to hit the ball as hard as they can on every shot does'nt make it a "a whole different ball game." :rolleyes: It is not like Serena wouldn't be able to handle the pace. When she was dominating she played Davenport and Venus; girls like this who are still the hardest hitters on the tour. Don't say that they were slow or inconsitent becusae their games have staid the same (w/ the exception of Venus' 04) and they are still are both capable of making it to Grand slam finals like they did last year. Serena was just better then the rest of the feild. Stop trying to lower Serena's accomplishments. And also, the only reason that the girls play like that today is becuse of the Williams sisters. They forced the tour to get a lot stronger. You are probably going to deny and say that Sharapova did that or something :weirdo: , but they did. Serena's game is to construct points; she'll will be able to do this even against the one-dimensional new genration of Serena-wannabes.
:worship:

Alicia Rocks
Sep 2nd, 2006, 05:59 AM
Good luck Ana :D

le bon vivant
Sep 2nd, 2006, 06:31 AM
Good Luck Serena. :D

darrinbaker00
Sep 2nd, 2006, 06:38 AM
Good Luck Serena. :D
If Serena plays the way she did the first two rounds, she won't need it. She still has a lot of work to do, of course, but I think she'll get over on Ivanovic.

MrSerenaWilliams
Sep 2nd, 2006, 06:42 AM
Ana Ivanovic = Hurdle

Serena Williams = Gail Devers ;)

darrinbaker00
Sep 2nd, 2006, 06:46 AM
Ana Ivanovic = Hurdle

Serena Williams = Gail Devers ;)
That's not a good analogy. From what I recall, Gail tripped over the hurdles when it really counted.

MrSerenaWilliams
Sep 2nd, 2006, 07:08 AM
Gail Devers in 1996 :P lol

darrinbaker00
Sep 2nd, 2006, 07:16 AM
Gail Devers in 1996 :P lol
Gail won gold in the 100m dash and the 4x100 relay in Atlanta, but she went head-over-heels in the 100m hurdles for the second Olympics in a row. Gail always referred to herself as a hurdler who sprinted, but all her Olympic medals came from the sprints.

VeeReeDavJCap81
Sep 2nd, 2006, 07:20 AM
Ana Ivanovic = Hurdle

Serena Williams = Gail Devers ;)

As long as it's not Perdita Felicien :tape:

supergrunt
Sep 2nd, 2006, 07:21 AM
As long as it's not Perdita Felicien :tape:
or Kelly Mahosaphats :tape:

MrSerenaWilliams
Sep 2nd, 2006, 07:22 AM
lol

supergrunt
Sep 2nd, 2006, 09:04 AM
lol
That wasn't funny. :yawn:

©@®eLess
Sep 2nd, 2006, 10:13 AM
Every Ivanovic,Jankovic,Djokovic article finishes with citzienship questions. Stupid American journalists-GET INFORMED! THINK RATIONALLY! STOP WRITING BULL****!

jacksonGuy
Sep 2nd, 2006, 10:48 AM
I'm sure serena will win

Freakan
Sep 2nd, 2006, 11:14 AM
Ana wants to come to the net even more often :help:

MrSerenaWilliams
Sep 2nd, 2006, 11:54 AM
that might spell trouble....might = WILL

Aaron.
Sep 2nd, 2006, 11:57 AM
I'm already bored of this match and it hasn't even begun yet. Seriously, I think it's going to suck.:weirdo: :weirdo: k dont watch thanks

Neptune
Sep 2nd, 2006, 12:08 PM
Serena will win,I think.But it will be a very interested match to watch.The old generation against the new generation. :)

Leopold Stotch
Sep 2nd, 2006, 12:15 PM
Every Ivanovic,Jankovic,Djokovic article finishes with citzienship questions. Stupid American journalists-GET INFORMED! THINK RATIONALLY! STOP WRITING BULL****!
It is an ongoing issue whether we like it or not. At the annual ITF meeting in Seoul, Montenegro was accepted as a new member from 2007. Serbia is the successor to the state union but it looks like none of this will officially take effect until January 1st 2007.

So the sad news is that we have to wait another 4 months for the SCG to be replaced by SRB.

:(

Furthermore Jelena (Serbia) and Danica Krstajić (Montenegro) are the only ones who have stated their national preference thus far. Ana and Nole are yet to decide and to be honest I believe there's a lot of pressure from some quarters (read former republics) to pry them away from their native Serbia. We've already seen a manifestation of that in the midweek L'Equipe/Kurir articles.

LUXXXAS
Sep 2nd, 2006, 12:20 PM
"The more I come into the net, the less time I give her to run and make a good shot,"
:o :fiery: no! Ana! please... NO! :tape: :help: :rolleyes: :bolt:

Craigy
Sep 2nd, 2006, 12:23 PM
Well duh :weirdo:

Dexter
Sep 2nd, 2006, 12:31 PM
Well duh :weirdo::weirdo:

Craigy
Sep 2nd, 2006, 12:34 PM
:weirdo:
:D

MrSerenaWilliams
Sep 2nd, 2006, 12:37 PM
:bowdown: exactly!

Dexter
Sep 2nd, 2006, 12:39 PM
ok.

MrSerenaWilliams
Sep 2nd, 2006, 12:45 PM
:hug: aww i'm sorry babe! I love you, but I love Serena M:inlove:RE!

besides,....at least Blake won :woohoo:

**Jelica**
Sep 3rd, 2006, 01:47 PM
Sorry for being yet another illustration of us nasty "Yugos" who are "so hard" on our players, but I don't think Ana's going to win.

**Jelica**
Sep 3rd, 2006, 01:49 PM
It is an ongoing issue whether we like it or not. At the annual ITF meeting in Seoul, Montenegro was accepted as a new member from 2007. Serbia is the successor to the state union but it looks like none of this will officially take effect until January 1st 2007.

So the sad news is that we have to wait another 4 months for the SCG to be replaced by SRB.

:(

Furthermore Jelena (Serbia) and Danica Krstajić (Montenegro) are the only ones who have stated their national preference thus far. Ana and Nole are yet to decide and to be honest I believe there's a lot of pressure from some quarters (read former republics) to pry them away from their native Serbia. We've already seen a manifestation of that in the midweek L'Equipe/Kurir articles.
Yeah, but the likes of Ana etc. are blatantly going to play for Serbia, because they're Serbian. Ana was born in Belgrade and lived there all through her life. It's like saying that someone who was of German parentage and born in Germany would go play for Austria because the Austrians wanted them to.

Tennisaddict
Sep 3rd, 2006, 04:02 PM
Well, I consider Ana to be the most dangerous young up and comer even if her results are still where they should not be. Serena will have to play clean and attacking tennis and not feed the Ivanovic's forehand too much. She will be fine if she does that.

Knizzle
Sep 3rd, 2006, 04:16 PM
"The more I come into the net, the less time I give her to run and make a good shot,"
:o :fiery: no! Ana! please... NO! :tape: :help: :rolleyes: :bolt:

Oooh nice game plan Ana. :D:bounce:

SAEKeithSerena
Sep 3rd, 2006, 04:26 PM
Trust me on this one, 'Liv. . . .Ivanovic is the real deal.


we'll see. GO SERENA!

morningglory
Sep 3rd, 2006, 05:03 PM
Serena will win! Ivanovic still has a long way to go

Brashkoala
Sep 3rd, 2006, 08:09 PM
so happy to hear ana will play agressive and come to net vs. serena