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andrewbroad
May 28th, 2008, 12:19 AM
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ROLAND GARROS (Paris, France; red clay; Grand Slam)
============= http://www.rolandgarros.com/
Contents
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1. Photos
2. First-round TV-report: Ivanović v Arvidsson
3. First-round draw: Top half
4. Second-round draw: Bottom half
5. Second-round preview: Ivanović v Šafářová
6. Order of play for Wednesday

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1. Photos
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Ana Ivanović:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=ivanovic
Search Getty Images for "ivanovic"

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2. First-round TV-report: Ivanović v Arvidsson (Sunday 25th May 2008)
----------------------------------------------

+ ANA IVANOVIĆ [2,DF] d. Sofia Arvidsson, 6-2 7-5

I watched this match on BBCi, but only casually as it clashed with live scores for two members of my Eternal Fanship: Nicole Vaidišová and Lucie Šafářová.

It was a pretty tentative performance by Ana, who seemed to be hitting a forehand every time I managed to raise my eyes from Nicole and Lucie's scoreboards.


First set
---------

On the very first point, Barry Davies said of a linesman: "If he shouts like that, he's going to have a very sore throat by the end of the fortnight!"

Ana jumped out to a *3-1 lead, then came through a long service-game to hold for 4-1*.

Ana won the first set 6-2. One comment that stuck with me is that Arvidsson didn't want to see Ana dancing around the ball to hit a forehand.


Second set
----------

When Lucie won 6-1 6-1, Ana was 6-2 2-3* up. She broke back, and saved break-points at *3-3 (15/40). Games then went with serve, and by the time Nicole had lost to Iveta Benešová, it was 5-5.

Ana serving 5-5: Service-winner out wide. 15/0. Ana opened up the court with a crosscourt forehand, and hit a forehand winner down the line. 30/0. Arvidsson pounced on a short crosscourt backhand to hit a backhand winner down the line. 30/15. Ana moved Arvidsson around, and a defensive forehand from the Swede floated just wide. 40/15. A sharp crosscourt forehand return forced Ana to hit a low forehand into the tramlines. 40/30. Arvidsson on the fourth stroke dumped a backhand into the net.

Arvidsson serving 5-6: Arvidsson hit a hard, deep forehand winner down the line. 15/0. After hitting a moonball earlier in the rally, Ana got caught on the back foot and dumped a backhand into the net with a little yelp. 30/0. A stinging crosscourt forehand return forced Arvidsson into error. 30/15. Ana opened up the court beautifully with an acute crosscourt forehand... and dumped a down-the-line forehand into the net. "That's pressure," said Sam Smith. 40/15. Double fault. 40/30. Arvidsson netted a forehand. 40/40. Ana forehand long. Ad Arvidsson. Ana ran around her backhand and hit an amazing forehand onto Arvidsson's forehand-sideline. Deuce #2. Arvidsson error. Ad Ana (MP #1). Ana hit a forehand winner down the line to win 6-2 7-5 at 12:46 (1h36m).


On-court interviews
-------------------

Arvidsson: "Yeah, it was a good match. We were both a little bit nervous. In the end, it was close, but I didn't win the important points."

Ana: "Yeah, it was a great feeling - lots of memories from last year. It was my first match of the tournament, so I was a little bit nervous. She gave me a tough match, the crowd was great, and I'm just looking forward to the next match."

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3. First-round draw: Top half
-----------------------------
3.1 Top quarter: Maria Sharapova and Vera Zvonarëva
---------------------------------------------------

* MARIA SHARAPOVA [1,EF] v Evgeniya Rodina (DAVAI MARIA!!)
* Bethanie Mattek [Q] v Madison Brengle [WC]
* Olivia Sánchez [WC] won
* KARIN KNAPP [32] won

* MARIA KIRILENKO [21,DF] v Maria Elena Camerin (my loyalty is to Maria... er, Kirilenko!)
* Zheng,Jie [Q] v Mara Santangelo
* Magdaléna Rybáriková [Q,DF] v Karolina Šprem [DF] (mouthwatering match; my loyalty is to Magda)
* DINARA SAFINA [13] won

* VERA ZVONARËVA [11,EF] v Stéphanie Foretz [WC] (DAVAI VERA!!)
* Ioana Raluca Olaru v Stéphanie Cohen-Aloro
* Yanina Wickmayer [Q] v Akgul Amanmuradova, 2-6 *4-3
* Aleksandra Wozniak v SYBILLE BAMMER [20]

* AI SUGIYAMA [31] won
* Yuliana Fedak v Olga Govortsova (davai Yuliana!)
* Marta Domachowska v Rossana de los Ríos (dawaj Marta!)
* ELENA DEMENTIEVA [7] v Vera Dushevina (davai Elena!)


3.2 Second quarter: Anna Chakvetadze
------------------------------------

* SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [4] won
* Vania King v Violette Huck [WC]
* Alisa Kleybanova v Tamarine Tanasugarn
* Aravane Rezaď v NADIA PETROVA [25] (allez Aravane!)

* FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE [18] v Jill Craybas
* Michaëlla Krajíček [DF] v Sanda Mamić (kom op Michaëlla!)
* Sorana-Mihaela Cîrstea v Anne Kremer
* Edina Gallovits v VICTORIA AZARENKA [16]

* ÁGNES SZÁVAY [12] won
* Sabine Lisicki won
* Akiko Morigami [s] v Petra Kvitová (ganbatte Akiko!)
* SHAHAR PE'ER [17] v Samantha Stosur [WC] (kadima Shahar!)

* ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES [29] v María José Martínez Sánchez [Q]
* Tsvetana Pironkova v Chan,Yung-Jan (aide Tsvetana!)
* Kaia Kanepi v Yuan,Meng
* ANNA CHAKVETADZE [6,EF] v Nuria Llagostera Vives (DAVAI ANNA!!)

---------------------------------
4. Second-round draw: Bottom half
---------------------------------

* VENUS WILLIAMS [8] v Selima Sfar [Q]
* Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova [Q] v (1r: FLAVIA PENNETTA [26,DF] v Tatiana Perebiynis, 4-3* (Ad Pennetta))
* AMÉLIE MAURESMO [22] v Carla Suárez Navarro [Q]
* Nathalie Dechy v (1r: MARION BARTOLI [9,DF,S] v Casey Dell'Acqua, *6-5)

* AGNIESZKA RADWAŃSKA [14] v Jelena Pandžić [Q]
* Gisela Dulko [DF] v ALIZÉ CORNET [19] (ˇvamos Gisela!)
* DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [28] v Milagros Sequera (poďme Dominika!)
* (1r: Marina Erakovic v Tathiana Garbin, 6-7 (9/11) 6-3 5-3*) v JELENA JANKOVIĆ [3]

* Mathilde Johansson [WC] v SERENA WILLIAMS [5] (allez Mathilde!)
* Ekaterina Makarova v (1r: Virginia Ruano Pascual v KATARINA SREBOTNIK [27], *4-3)
* Klára Zakopalová v Emilie Loit (pojďme Klára!)
* Timea Bacsinszky v PATTY SCHNYDER [10] (hopp Timea!)

* Iveta Benešová [Q] v (1r: Peng,Shuai [s] v Anastasia Rodionova, 6-0 2-6 4-3*)
* Galina Voskoboeva v Petra Cetkovská
* CAROLINE WOZNIACKI [30] v Anastasiya Yakimova [Q] (kom sĺ Caroline!)
* Lucie Šafářová [EF] v ANA IVANOVIĆ [2,DF]

--------------------------------------------
5. Second-round preview: Ivanović v Šafářová
--------------------------------------------

I'm very excited about this draw, as it raises the mouthwatering prospect of a BBC-televised match with Lucie Šafářová in the second round!

Of course, as a Lucie-fan, I'm only feeling excited rather than hard-done-by because Lucie's having a bad year with a win-loss record of 6:10. Apart from an encouraging third-round run at Miami, it's been all first- and second-round losses. Last year, Lucie was beating Amélie Mauresmo in the third round here.

But inducting Lucie into my Eternal Fanship was a long-term investment, as she is supremely talented and I love watching her play. I just hope that that can happen in the second round here.

Ana v Lucie could be the pick of the second round, as they are both brilliant shotmakers. I can't say I have much faith in Lucie causing an upset, as Ana beat Lucie 6-2 6-2 in their only meeting (Los Angeles 2007).

Ana was runner-up at the French Open last year, and has gone from strength to strength in 2008, reaching the Australian Open final and winning Indian Wells.

However, Ana lost her opening match at Rome to Tsvetana Pironkova, and will be under pressure to defend her final, so Lucie needs to forget about her slump, and tell herself she can do it.

I've seen Ana struggle to close out matches even when she's been playing brilliantly and winning easily, so perhaps that would be the time for Lucie to strike.


Nick Bollettieri's Predictions
http://nickstennispicks.com/
>>>
Ana Ivanović (SRB) vs. Lucie Šafářová (CZE)

Ivanović got by Sofia Arvidsson 6-2 7-5 in the first round, and she didn't serve that well. She only got in 58% of her first serves, and had six double faults. She cannot do that again and expect to get back to the final for a second straight year.

After breaking through last year, Šafářová has been very inconsistent in 2008. She has seen her ranking slide to #41, and hasn't got past the second round of a tournament since Miami. Although, she looked very good in the first round, beating Sandra Klösel 6-1 6-1, and is a dangerous floater.

Match-Up:

Ivanović is 1:0 against Šafářová, with that win coming back in 2007 at Los Angeles. Despite Šafářová's inconsistencies in 2008, she has the talent to make this a competitive match. Šafářová plays hard and flat, has long legs, and moves well. Both girls are big hitters and like to stay back at the baseline. Ivanović needs to serve better, and I think she will. Šafářová can do everything Ivanović does, but Ivanović just does it better!

Nick's Pick: Ivanović in 2, could go 3.
<<<

------------------------------
7. Order of play for Wednesday
------------------------------

Court 1 (start 11:00 CEST = 09:00 GMT = 10:00 BST)
MS 1r: LLEYTON HEWITT [25] v Nicolas Mahut
MS 1r: Jean-René Lisnard v Marat Safin (7-6 1-6 2-1* to finish)
MS 2r: Miguel Ángel López Jaén [Q] v NOVAK ĐOKOVIĆ [3]
WS 2r: Lucie Šafářová [EF] v ANA IVANOVIĆ [2,DF]

Full order of play:
http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/scores/schedule/

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jeldani/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sharapova_vaidisova_hantuchova/

andrewbroad
Jun 3rd, 2008, 11:54 AM
=============
ROLAND GARROS (Paris, France; red clay; Grand Slam)
============= http://www.rolandgarros.com/
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. Second-round scoreboard-report: Ivanović v Šafářová
3. Third-round TV-report: Ivanović v Wozniacki
4. Fourth-round TV-report: Ivanović v Cetkovská
5. Quarter-final draw
6. Andrew's wishes

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1. Photos
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http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=ivanovic
http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/players/wta311710.html
Search Getty Images for "ivanovic"

For completists:
http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/gallery?pg=1&cap=1

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2. Second-round scoreboard-report: Ivanović v Šafářová (Wednesday 28th May 2008)
------------------------------------------------------

Nice winner, nice loser:
+ ANA IVANOVIĆ [2,DF] d. Lucie Šafářová [EF], 6-1 6-2

When the draw came out, I had hoped to see this match on BBCi, but sadly, due to the compressed post-rain schedule, it was down on Court 1 while BBCi televised Monfils v Clément on Court Chatrier. They probably think they did their duty to Ana in the first round, but they have not done their duty to Lucie! :-||

Here's a belated preview of the match:

http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=2292
>>>
ANA IVANOVIĆ (SRB)[2] v Lucie Šafářová (CZE) - Ivanović leads 1:0

Last year at Roland Garros, Ivanović was seeded No.7 and Šafářová No.25. Both exceeded expectations, with the Czech left-hander losing to Anna Chakvetadze in the last 16 and the Serb, of course, reaching the final.

But while Ivanović, 20, has maintained her upward trajectory, 21-year-old Šafářová's progress began to plateau in the second half of 2007, and although she ended the year ranked No.23, indifferent results have seen her slip to No.41 in recent months. Still, as a former champion at Estoril, she has solid claycourt-credentials, and she certainly made short work of Germany's Sandra Klösel in the first round on Sunday.

Ivanović easily took the pair's only previous encounter - on a hardcourt in Los Angeles last year - but with career-wins over Justine Henin, Amélie Mauresmo and Svetlana Kuznetsova to her credit, Šafářová has the game to challenge the statuesque Serb. However, with only six wins under her belt this year, whether she has the confidence to do so is another matter.
<<<

That's right - Lucie is 1:0 against Henin, while Ana is 0:4 against Henin!


"Hampered by a gluteal-muscle injury at the very start of the season, she took a long time to get back to the level of fitness which saw her reach No.22 in the world last August."
<http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/news/match_analysis/>


The match started at 16:57 CEST - rather earlier than I might have expected, due the short durations of the prior matches. I followed live scores at www.rolandgarros.com (http://www.rolandgarros.com), although sadly the scoreboard wasn't running smoothly at the time.


First set
---------
ŠAFÁŘOVÁ _____*_ 1
IVANOVIĆ *@*@* * 6

Ana serving 0-0: 30/0 to 30/40. 40/40. Ad Ana. Held.

Good resistance from 30/0. But now it's important for Lucie to hold her opening service-game, because an early break for Ana could set the tone for the match.

Lucie serving 0-1: 0/30... broken.
Ana serving 2-0: 30/0... held.
Lucie serving 0-3: 0/30. 15/40. Broken.

Hmm... maybe it's better that BBCi /aren't/ televising this! :-o

Ana serving 4-0: Held to love.
Lucie serving 0-5: 0/15. 15/15. 40/15. Held.

Phew! I have to say: I'm just relieved that Lucie has avoided the dreaded double bagel.

Ana serving 5-1: 15/0... Ana won the first set 6-1 at 17:18 (21m).

Maria Sharapova came perilously close to losing today after winning the first set 6-1, so you never know what can happen. A new set is a new story.


Second set
----------
ŠAFÁŘOVÁ ____* *_ 2
IVANOVIĆ @*@* * * 6

Lucie serving 0-0: 15/0. 30/15. 30/40. Broken.
Ana serving 1-0: 30/0. 40/15. 40/30. Held.
Lucie serving 0-2: 0/40 to 40/40. Ad Lucie! Deuce #2. Ad Ana (BP #4). Held.

Nice recovery from 0/40, but Ana seems ruthless today, judging by the scores. But Ana can have a walkabout when she's winning easily, so Lucie still has to be looking for a way back into this match.

Ana serving 3-0: 0/30. 15/30. 15/40 to 40/40. Ad Ana. Held.

Another close game goes unrewarded.

Lucie serving 0-4: 0/15. 40/15. Held.

And another bagel avoided. Lucie's certainly making the games closer than in the first set.

Ana serving 4-1: 30/0 to 30/30. Scoreboard froze... held.
Lucie serving 1-5: 15/0. 15/15. 30/15. Scoreboard froze... held.
Ana serving 5-2: 40/0 (MP #1). The scoreboard froze at 17:51 - as it is wont to do at match-point - and I had to go to Completed Matches to confirm the result: Ana won 6-1 6-2 at 17:52 (second set 34m, match 55m).


Articles
--------

Merciless Ivanović rolls over Šafářová (Reuters)
By Pritha Sarkar (Editing by Miles Evans)
>>>
Ana Ivanović showed no mercy as she thundered into the third round of the French Open with a 6-1 6-2 win over a hapless Lucie Šafářová on Wednesday.

The Serbian second seed basked in the sunshine on the bullring Court One as she smothered her Czech opponent in a quickfire 55 minutes.

Šafářová made it through to the fourth round last year, claiming the scalp of local darling Amélie Mauresmo en route, but there was to be no repeat.

The left-handed Šafářová has a reputation for bludgeoning groundstrokes off both wings, but on Wednesday, she had barely settled in when she saw the first five games flash by her.

Šafářová briefly managed to break the rut by getting her name on the scoreboard, but Ivanović responded by reeling off another five games to move 6-1 4-0 ahead.

The Serb ended Šafářová's brief stay at this year's championships by punching a forehand winner down the line on her first match-point.

"I expected a very tough match, so to win with a score like this, it's definitely a great, great proof that I played good today," said Ivanović.

"I prepared myself that I have to work hard for every point, and that's what I did out there.

"I put a lot of pressure on her, but she made mistakes when I didn't expect it."
<<<

Sharapova Escapes Upset; Ana, Serena Also Advance
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=2293
>>>
Six second-round matches were also squeaked into the schedule, with No.2-seeded Ana Ivanović being the highest seed in action, beating Lucie Šafářová 6-1 6-2. A strong serve and pinpoint groundstrokes helped Ivanović cruise to victory in 55 minutes over a player who has had six top-ten wins, including five last year.

"I expected a very tough match; I prepared myself to work hard for every point," Ivanović said. "I'm really happy the way I played, and to win with a score like this is definitely great. Sometimes she made mistakes when I didn't expect them, but to win with a score like this is great proof that I played well today."
<<<

----------------------------------------------
3. Third-round TV-report: Ivanović v Wozniacki (Friday 30th May 2008)
----------------------------------------------

Nice winner, nice loser:
+ ANA IVANOVIĆ [2,DF] d. CAROLINE WOZNIACKI [30], 6-4 6-1

Ana faced some stiff resistance late in the first set from Wozniacki, who frustrated her by getting lots of balls back, but Ana's willingness and ability to hit offensive shots from anywhere in the court proved too much in the end for the 17-year-old.

Ana: "Today in the second set, I was feeling better and better. Obviously that's a good feeling to have. As the tournament progresses, you have tougher and tougher opponents, so you have to raise your level of play."

So true. You do tend to play better players in later rounds than you do in earlier rounds! But the more matches you win, the better it will be for you.

This was first on Court Chatrier, and I watched the whole match on BBCi.


First set
---------
IVANOVIĆ @*___*@ @* 6
WOZNIACK __*@*__@__ 4

The match started at 11:07 CEST.

Wozniacki serving 0-0: Wozniacki forehand just wide. 0/15. Ana came to the net, and Wozniacki hit a backhand lob would-be winner just wide. 0/30. Wozniacki opened up the court with a crosscourt forehand, and hit a pinpoint forehand winner down the line, right in the corner. 15/30. Ana sprayed a wild backhand very long & wide. 30/30. Double fault (second serve into the net). 30/40. Ana played an aggressive baseline-rally but hit a huge forehand just long. 40/40. Ana forced Wozniacki to hit a backhand wide. Ad Ana (BP). Wozniacki on the third stroke hit a backhand long.

Ana serving 1-0: Ana came to the net but hit a backhand punch-volley just long. 0/15. Ana hit a sweet short-angled crosscourt backhand winner onto the sideline. 15/15. Ana on the third stroke hit a forehand wide, off a deep return down the middle from Wozniacki. 15/30. Wozniacki netted a forehand return. 30/30. Ana netted a backhand. 30/40. "Safe" serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner. 40/40. Serve + off-forehand winner. Ad Ana. She netted a forehand. Deuce #2. Serve + huge, early crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline. Ad Ana. Ana hit a couple of crosscourt backhands, inducing Wozniacki to net a backhand.

Wozniacki serving 0-2: Double fault (second serve just long). 0/15. Ana went for a backhand down the line, but it was just wide. 15/15. Ana forehand long. 30/15. Ana off-forehand wide. 40/15. Wozniacki off-backhand winner.

Ana is still in the ludicrous situation where her coach Sven Groeneveld isn't allowed to coach her against fellow adidas-players - the prime example being last year's French Open final against Justine Henin.

Ana serving 2-1: Wozniacki netted a forehand return. 15/0. Wozniacki forehand just long. 30/0. Wozniacki ran down a dropshot and hit a "neat" crosscourt backhand dropshot-winner. 30/15. Ana forehand wide. 30/30. Wozniacki forehand return long. 40/30. Ana netted a backhand - good depth from Wozniacki. 40/40. Double fault (second serve into the net). Ad Wozniacki (BP). Wozniacki forced a short lob from Ana and dispatched it with a crosscourt forehand winner to break back!

Wozniacki has some pretty serious strapping on her right elbow, and ankle-supports on both ankles.

Wozniacki serving 2-2: Service-winner out wide. 15/0. Ana forced a defensive lob, which she dispatched with a crosscourt forehand drive-volley winner. 15/15. Wozniacki hit a deep, error-forcing winner. 30/15. Service-winner. 40/15. Double fault (second serve into the net). 40/30. Ana backhand wide. Three games in a row to Wozniacki.

Sam Smith accused fellow commentator Alastair Eykyn of spending too much time visiting female players' websites!

Ana serving 2-3: Serve out wide + forehand winner down the line. 15/0. Wozniacki spread Ana a bit, but netted a down-the-line forehand. 30/0. Service-winner out wide. 40/0. Service-winner.

Wozniacki serving 3-3: Ana hit a big forehand into the tramlines. 15/0. Wozniacki netted a forehand. 15/15. Ana's forehand forced Wozniacki to spray one long. 15/30. Ana ran around her backhand to hit a forehand winner down Wozniacki's forehand-sideline. 15/40. Wozniacki forced a short ball but hit a wild forehand very long.

Wozniacki only goes for her shots off short balls, otherwise she's just looking to keep a good length. Ana goes for her shots from anywhere in the court.

Ana serving 4-3: Ana forehand long. 0/15. Ana came to the net and hit an easy-looking forehand drive-volley winner. 15/15. Ana worked Wozniacki around the court with hard groundstrokes, and hit a crosscourt forehand winner back behind her. 30/15. "Wild" double fault. 30/30. Wozniacki played a great spreading rally, finishing with a crosscourt backhand drive-volley winner. 30/40. Ana hit an easy forehand winner off a short ball from Wozniacki. 40/40. Ana hit a wild forehand long, and squealed. Ad Wozniacki (BP #2). Serve + crosscourt forehand drive-volley winner. Deuce #2. Ace out wide. Ad Ana. She netted a backhand after a long baseline-rally. Deuce #3. Ana off-forehand + crosscourt forehand winner. Ad Ana. A good serve forced a defensive lob-return, but Ana let it bounce and hit a curious forehand smash wide. Deuce #4. Ana on the third stroke hit a forehand wide. Ad Wozniacki (BP #3). Ana came to the net and hit a delicate off-backhand drop-volley winner, and said a loud "c'mon". Deuce #5. Wozniacki worked her way to the net behind a great backhand down the line, and Ana hit a defensive lob long. Ad Wozniacki (BP #4). Backhand return wide. Deuce #6. Ana netted a backhand after another long, frustrating rally for her. Ad Wozniacki (BP #5). Wozniacki forehand return wide. Deuce #7. Wozniacki's backhand down the line forced a short ball from Ana, which Wozniacki dispatched with a crosscourt backhand winner. Ad Wozniacki (BP #6). Double fault (second serve into the net).

Ana's getting frustrated at the number of balls Wozniacki's getting back.
Alastair Eykyn: "She's swatting away like she's trying to get rid of a particularly persistent fly. She's having to hit lines to put Wozniacki away."

Sam Smith would like to see Wozniacki be more aggressive, particularly when returning Ana's first serve. She would also like to see Wozniacki develop her net-game.

Wozniacki serving 4-4: Ana off-forehand drive-volley winner. 0/15. Ana ran around her backhand and hit a spectacular off-forehand winner into the corner. 0/30. Ana came to the net and hit an off-forehand drive-volley winner. 0/40. Wozniacki hit a deep, error-forcing backhand, and smiled. 15/40. Wozniacki forehand long.

Excellent response from Ana in that game. She almost took it as a personal affront that this young upstart had broken back. Sam Smith: "She has a level that the Wozniackis can't get to yet."

Ana serving 5-4: Wozniacki forehand long. 15/0. Ana came to the net, but a dipping pass forced her to hit an awkward low forehand volley long. 15/15. Ana came to the net, but her approach was not strong enough and she hit a backhand volley wide. 15/30. Service-winner. 30/30. Wozniacki forehand wide. 40/30. Wozniacki forehand long. Ana won the first set 6-4 at 11:59.


Second set
----------
IVANOVIĆ _*@*@*@ 6
WOZNIACK *______ 1

Wozniacki serving 0-0: Ana forehand just long. 15/0. Wozniacki forehand long. 15/15. Ana forehand long. 30/15. Ana forehand just long. 40/15. Ana's forehand clipped the netcord and fell back on her side.

Alastair Eykyn: "If Wozniacki plays anything like she did in Set 1, Ivanovic will have her problems putting her away, so she's got to keep the faith here."

Ana serving 0-1: Ana netted a forehand. 0/15. Double fault #4. 0/30. Ana came to the net and hit an off-backhand volley-winner. 15/30. Wozniacki missed a forehand. 30/30. Serve out wide + off-forehand winner onto the sideline. 40/30. Ana netted a backhand. 40/40. Wozniacki came to the net and hit a crosscourt forehand smash-winner. She smiled and pumped her fist. Ad Wozniacki (BP). Ana forced a short ball and hit a crosscourt forehand winner, and said "ajde!" Deuce #2. Wozniacki forced a short ball and hit a forehand just long, but the umpire checked the mark and ordered them to replay the point. Service-winner. Ad Ana. Wozniacki forehand long & wide.

Wozniacki serving 1-1: Wozniacki came to the net but hit a backhand drive-volley winner. Sam Smith: "She's ever so slow to spot the short ball and the open court, and a little careful when she gets there." 0/15. Ana error. 15/15. Service-winner. 30/15. Ana forehand long. 40/15. Ana hit an acute-angled crosscourt forehand winner onto the sideline off a wide serve. 40/30. Wozniacki came to the net but netted a backhand volley - "too careful again" [Sam Smith]. 40/40. Ana hit a crosscourt forehand winner, and Wozniacki threw her racket against the court. Ad Ana. She hit a forehand just long. Deuce #2. Wozniacki came to the net, forcing Ana to net a sliced backhand. Ad Wozniacki. Ana dominated the rally and hit a forehand drive-volley winner onto the sideline - but again, having to go for the lines against Wozniacki. Deuce #3. Wozniacki came to the net and hit a forehand volley-winner. Ad Wozniacki. Ana hit a huge crosscourt forehand winner. Deuce #4. Ana hit an off-forehand winner, and shouted "ajde". Ad Ana (BP). Ana hit a backhand winner down the line, and shouted "ajde" again.

Sam Smith: "It's all safe and sound for the Dane, but can she hit a big first serve? I think she's terrific, but has a conservative mindset, unlike most 17/18-year-olds, whereas Sabine Lisicki, whom I watched yesterday, goes for a winner on every ball."

Ana serving 2-1: Ana came to the net, but an awkward pass forced her to earth an overhead. 0/15. An interesting rally ended with Ana running down a dropshot and hitting an error-forcing crosscourt backhand dropshot. 15/15. Ana netted a forehand. 15/30. Ana forced a defensive forehand lob and hit a pinpoint forehand winner down Wozniacki's forehand-sideline. 30/30. Ana came to the net behind a deep, powerful forehand, hit a forehand smash-winner and shouted "ajde". 40/30. Ace out wide.

Wozniacki serving 1-3: Wozniacki netted a forehand. 0/15. Ana came to the net and hit an off-forehand punch-volley winner. 0/30. Wozniacki forced a short ball and hit an off-forehand virtual winner (she hasn't hit any /actual/ forehand winners in this match). 15/30. Wozniacki forehand long. 15/40. Wozniacki backhand lob long.

Ana serving 4-1: Ana netted a backhand. 0/15. Ace out wide: outside edge of the sideline (the umpire checked the mark, and Wozniacki had a long argument with her). 15/15. Big serve: Wozniacki forehand return long. 30/15. Wozniacki hit a defensive backhand wide. 40/15. Ana came to the net and hit a forehand smash-winner.

Alastair Eykyn: "More clinical, less [sic] errors in this second set."

Wozniacki serving 1-5: Wozniacki hit her first forehand winner: crosscourt. 15/0. Wozniacki netted a forehand, and put her hand to her face. 15/15. Wozniacki hit some deep topspin forehands, then came to the net and forced Ana into the error. 30/15. Wozniacki hit a topspin backhand that set up nicely for Ana to come to the net and force an error - all set up by a thunderous return. 30/30. Ana error. 40/30. Ana off-forehand + crosscourt forehand virtual winner. 40/40. Wozniacki forced a short ball but hit a wild forehand very long. Ad Ana (MP #1). Ana came to the net, hit a forehand smash-winner, and celebrated with a little, hoarse scream as she won 6-4 6-1 at 12:36 (1h29m).

Sam Smith: "Ivanović is not on the sort of form that she was on here last year, but mentally she's in the right place, and coming through matches when she's not at her best."

-----------------------------------------------
4. Fourth-round TV-report: Ivanović v Cetkovská (Sunday 1st June 2008)
-----------------------------------------------

+ ANA IVANOVIĆ [2,DF] d. Petra Cetkovská, 6-0 6-0

I caught BBCi's replay of this match on Sunday night.

Cetkovská has had some unbelievable bad luck in her life. When she was 14, a friend pushed her against a wall, and two years later, she had to have an emergency brain-operation - which was very dangerous because she could have got fluid in it. Then the got glandular fever, and broke her foot in the Australian Open Girls' Doubles final.


First set
---------
IVANOVIĆ *@*@*@ 6
CETKOVSK ______ 0

Ana serving 0-0: 15/30. BBCi joined the match at 30/30. Serve + huge, flat crosscourt forehand winner. 40/30. Serve + off-forehand winner into the corner.

Sam Smith suggested Ana might have her hands full with Cetkovská.

Ana has some pretty serious strapping on her ankles - hopefully just preventative.

Cetkovská serving 0-1: Ana netted a forehand. 15/0. Double fault (second serve long). 15/15. Ana's forehand down the line forced Cetkovská to hit a backhand lob long. 15/30. Ana hit a crosscourt backhand return onto the sideline, forcing Cetkovská to net a backhand. 15/40. Cetkovská's crosscourt forehand forced a short ball from Ana, which Cetkovská dispatched with a crosscourt forehand winner back behind Ana. 30/40. Cetkovská netted a backhand off a mildly testing crosscourt backhand from Ana.

Ana serving 2-0: Ana hit a big crosscourt forehand onto the sideline, forcing Cetkovská's forehand to float wide. 15/0. Double fault (second serve long). 15/15. Serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner back behind Cetkovská. 30/15. Cetkovská forehand long. 40/15. Cetkovská's deep crosscourt backhand induced Ana to spray a backhand wide. 40/30. Serve out wide, onto the sideline, forced Cetkovská to net a backhand.

Sam Smith criticised Ana's ball-toss: "It's such a giveaway where she's serving, and it doesn't seem to be /consistent/."

Cetkovská serving 0-3: Cetkovská sprayed a forehand very long. 0/15. Cetkovská went for a big forehand winner down Ana's forehand-sideline, but it was just wide. 0/30. Ana cracked a forehand winner down the line. 0/40. Cetkovská backhand wide.

Sam Smith: "Two problems [for Cetkovská]: she's rushing, and Ana Ivanović is playing superbly well."

Ana serving 4-0: Double fault #2 (second serve just long). 0/15. Cetkovská on the fourth stroke netted a forehand. 15/15. Service-winner out wide, just inside the sideline. 30/15. Ana hit an off-forehand winner back behind Cetkovská. 40/15. Ana sprayed a forehand wide. 40/30. Cetkovská chopped a defensive forehand long.

Cetkovská can't handle Ana's weight of shot, because she's simply not used to playing such a hard hitter.

David Mercer: "Just becoming a little bit of a nightmare, I'm afraid, for Petra. Her worst /fears/ coming true. Would have gone out there /hoping/ that she had a real chance to win, but /fearing/ that she might get hammered."

Cetkovská serving 0-5: Cetkovská on the third stroke netted a cheap forehand. 0/15. Ana off-forehand return + crosscourt forehand forced Cetkovská into error. 0/30. Ana mishit a forehand return very long. 15/30. Ana netted a forehand. 30/30. Cetkovská played a good, deep baseline-rally until Ana pounced on a short ball to hit a backhand winner down the line. 30/40 (SP #1). Cetkovská drew Ana to the net with a backhand dropshot that bounced pretty high, but Ana made the mistake of hitting a forehand down the line, giving Cetkovská a crosscourt backhand pass-winner. A nice smile from Cetkovská. 40/40. Ana came to the net and hit a crosscourt forehand dropshot-winner, forcing Cetkovská to scoop up a forehand lob, but Ana hit an awkward forehand smash wide. Ad Cetkovská. Ana snuffed the game-point out quickly with a forehand winner down Cetkovská's forehand-sideline. Deuce #2. Cetkovská sprayed a forehand wide. Ad Ana (SP #2). Cetkovská saved it with a serve out wide + crosscourt forehand, forcing Ana to net a forehand. Deuce #3. Ana forehand return long. Ad Cetkovská. She netted a forehand on the third stroke. Deuce #4. Ana hit an off-forehand winner back behind Cetkovská. Ad Ana (SP #3). Ana hit a big crosscourt forehand virtual winner into the corner. Ana won the first set 6-0 in 24 minutes.

Sam Smith spoke of her own experience of playing in a Grand Slam fourth round (Wimbledon 1998): "When you don't start well, everything seems to go quicker. It's almost like someone's hit the fast-forward button, and it's very hard to clear your head and play the sort of tennis that you're capable of. I certainly wouldn't want to be up against Ivanović, because she does hit the ball so hard and so early.

"Cetkovská's just finding out that her game is a little lightweight. It wouldn't have really shown up against her previous opponents: certainly Benešová isn't a particularly hard hitter, nor really is Alyona Bondarenko."

[Re. Ana]
"She has a lovely /sound/ today, and she seems to have lost that anxiety that she had in the first round."


Second set
----------
IVANOVIĆ *@*@*@ 6
CETKOVSK ______ 0

Ana serving 0-0: Cetkovská on the fourth stroke hit a forehand long. 15/0. Cetkovská netted a backhand. 30/0. Ana came to the net but mishit a backhand drive-volley into it. 30/15. Ana hit a crosscourt forehand onto the sideline, forcing Cetkovská to stretch wide & low and net a forehand. 40/15. Cetkovská forehand just wide.

Cetkovská serving 0-1: Cetkovská forehand long. 0/15. Ana forehand long. 15/15. Ana ran down a dropshot and hit a forehand winner down the line. 15/30. In one of the longer rallies of the match, Ana took the initiative with a big crosscourt forehand to force a short ball, but hit a forehand long. 30/30. Ana hit a backhand return onto the baseline, and Cetkovská just left it for a winner. 30/40. Ana's backhand down the line forced Cetkovská to hit a forehand long - Cetkovská really being punished for a lack of depth.

Ana serving 2-0: Service-winner. 15/0. Cetkovská hit a big crosscourt forehand that, although short, surprised Ana into hitting a forehand long. 15/15. Cetkovská forehand wide. 30/15. Service-winner down the middle. 40/15. Serve out wide + forehand down the line forced Cetkovská to hit a short sliced backhand, which Ana dispatched with a crosscourt forehand winner.

Cetkovská serving 0-3: Ana forced a floater and dispatched it with a high crosscourt forehand drive-volley winner. 0/15. Cetkovská's backhand dropshot forced Ana to hit a low, one-handed backhand wide. 15/15. Cetkovská hit an audacious backhand dropshot-winner from the baseline. 30/15. Ana blasted a crosscourt forehand return-winner into the corner. 30/30. A netcord from Ana invited Cetkovská to come to the net behind a crosscourt sliced backhand that forced a weak defensive lob from Ana, which Cetkovská dispatched with a forehand smash-winner. 40/30. A deep serve onto the service-line was ruthlessly dispatched with a forehand return-winner down Cetkovská's forehand-sideline, clipping the outside edge of the baseline to deny Cetkovská her first game. 40/40. Double fault #2 (second serve into the net). Ad Ana (BP). Ana hit an off-forehand wide. Deuce #2. A good, deep serve forced Ana to hit a forehand return wide. Ad Cetkovská. Ana's forehand return hit the baseline, forcing Cetkovská to hit a forehand long. Deuce #3. A long baseline-rally ended with Cetkovská netting a forehand. Ad Ana (BP #2). Service-winner out wide. Deuce #4. Cetkovská on the third stroke hit an off-backhand wide, and groaned loudly. Ad Ana (BP #3). Cetkovská forced a short ball but hit a crosscourt forehand just wide.

Ana serving 4-0: Ana came to the net, forcing Cetkovská to net a forehand. 15/0. Cetkovská netted a backhand return. 30/0. Ana slapped a forehand into the net. 30/15. Cetkovská went for a forehand down the line, but it was just wide. 40/15. Ana on the third stroke netted a forehand. 40/30. Ana came to the net and hit a forehand smash, but Cetkovská retrieved it from near the back fence with a forehand skyscraper-lob that landed on the baseline... a few strokes later, Ana regained the initiative with a penetrating off-forehand to force another lob from Cetkovská; Ana went for a forehand winner down Cetkovská's forehand-sideline, but it was just wide. 40/40. After a longish baseline-rally, Cetkovská hit a backhand dropshot-winner from behind the baseline. Ad Cetkovská (BP). Serve down the middle + off-forehand into the corner + crosscourt forehand drive-volley winner. Deuce #2. Cetkovská's penetrating crosscourt forehand forced a short defensive lob from Ana that sat up nicely for Cetkovská to blast a crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline - it had to be that good as Ana was moving that way. Ad Cetkovská (BP #2). She came close again to winning a game as a deep forehand just inside the baseline forced a defensive lob from Ana without much control, but Cetkovská's forehand down the line was rather short and weak, and Ana pounced on it with a short-angled crosscourt backhand low over the net and just inside the sideline, forcing Cetkovská to poke a backhand halfway up the net. "C'mon," said Ana. Deuce #3. Service-winner out wide: right in the corner. Ad Ana. Forehand return just long.

Sam Smith: "A different experience for Ana at this year's French Open. Last year she came here full of confidence, and was completely clued up as to how to construct a match. This year: a few more ups and downs, but she's so much more well-equipped to ride them now.

"Shot-selection has always been an issue for her. When she's under pressure, she just resorts to hitting the ball harder and harder - her coach needs to try to get her out of that without taking those weapons away."

Cetkovská serving 0-5: Ana hit a stunning short-angled crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. 0/15. Ana mishit a backhand return into the net. 15/15. Double fault #3 (second serve into the net). 15/30. Cetkovská tried another dropshot, but Ana ran it down and hit a forehand winner down the line: plumb on the baseline. 15/40 (MP #1). First serve down the middle; Ana hit a backhand return down Cetkovská's backhand-sideline, forcing her to hit a defensive lob into the bottom of the net. Ana won 6-0 6-0 in 54 minutes (second set 30m).

---------------------
5. Quarter-final draw
---------------------

* ELENA DEMENTIEVA [7] v DINARA SAFINA [13] (davai Elena!)
* SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [4] v Kaia Kanepi
* JELENA JANKOVIĆ [3] v Carla Suárez Navarro [Q] (ajde Jelena!)
* ANA IVANOVIĆ [2,DF] v PATTY SCHNYDER [10] (ajde Ana!)

------------------
6. Andrew's wishes
------------------

ANA IVANOVIĆ [2,DF]:
qf + PATTY SCHNYDER [10]
sf + JELENA JANKOVIĆ [3]
_f + ELENA DEMENTIEVA [7]

Now that all members of my Eternal Fanship are out, I'm actually quite excited by the prospect of Ana winning her first Grand Slam on Saturday. I don't want her to be one of those undeserving players who become #1 without winning a Slam first.

Ana reaching the final would mean Maria Sharapova losing the #1 ranking on 9th June, but who wins the Grand Slams is far more important to me than who's #1. I'd rather see a member of my demi-fanship win a Grand Slam than a member of my Eternal Fanship at #1.

Reaching the final would be enough to make Ana #1 on 9th June - unless Svetlana Kuznetsova wins the title, which would make /her/ #1.

----------------------------
7. Order of play for Tuesday
----------------------------

Court Chatrier (start 14:00 CEST = 12:00 GMT = 13:00 BST)
WS qf: ANA IVANOVIĆ [2,DF] v PATTY SCHNYDER [10]
MS qf: NICOLAS ALMAGRO [19] v RAFAEL NADAL [2]
WD qf: (CHAN,YUNG-JAN/CHUANG,CHIA-JUNG)[4] v (ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES/VIRGINIA RUANO PASCUAL)[10]

Full order of play:
http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/scores/schedule/

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sharapova_vaidisova_hantuchova/

andrewbroad
Jun 5th, 2008, 02:36 AM
=============
ROLAND GARROS (Paris, France; red clay; Grand Slam)
============= http://www.rolandgarros.com/
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. Quarter-final TV-report: Ivanović v Schnyder
3. Semi-final draw/preview
4. Andrew's wishes
5. Order of play for Thursday

---------
1. Photos
---------

Ana Ivanović:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=ivanovic
http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/players/wta311710.html
Search Getty Images for "ivanovic"

For completists:
http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/gallery?pg=1&cap=1

-----------------------------------------------
2. Quarter-final TV-report: Ivanović v Schnyder (Tuesday 3rd June 2008)
-----------------------------------------------

+ ANA IVANOVIĆ [2,DF] d. PATTY SCHNYDER [10], 6-3 6-2

A pretty straightforward win for Ana, despite cold, heavy, windy conditions that are better for Schnyder than for Ana.

Ana had her moments of brilliance (e.g. *4-1 (40/15)), and a couple of very cute reactions (at 6-3 *1-0 (40/40), and on winning the match), but it was a day for patience rather than spectacular tennis.


First set
---------
IVANOVIĆ *@__*@* * 6
SCHNYDER __@*___*_ 3

The match was first on Court Chatrier, and started at 14:07 CEST.

N.B. Schnyder is left-handed, and I refer to her sidelines relative to her forehand and backhand.

Ana serving 0-0: Service-winner. 15/0. A longish baseline-rally ended with Ana hitting an error-forcing crosscourt backhand. 30/0. Ana came to the net and hit a forehand volley-winner. 40/0. Serve + off-forehand winner.

Well, Ana's started in a similar vein to that in which she destroyed Petra Cetkovská!

Schnyder serving 0-1: Ana hit a forehand very long. 15/0. Ana forehand long & wide. 30/0. Schnyder forehand wide. 30/15. Double fault (second serve into the net). 30/30. Backhand return long. 40/30. Schnyder netted a backhand. 40/40. Schnyder forehand long. Ad Ana (BP). Schnyder opened up the court with a short-angled crosscourt forehand, and dispatched a defensive lob with a forehand smash-winner. Deuce #2. Schnyder forehand wide. Ad Ana (BP #2). Ana came to the net, but Schnyder hit a wrong-footing forehand pass-winner down the line. Deuce #3. Schnyder forehand wide. Ad Ana (BP #3). Backhand return just long. Deuce #4. Ana finished a beautifully-constructed baseline-rally with an off-forehand winner behind Schnyder. Ad Ana (BP #4). Ana went for a backhand return-winner down the line, but it was just wide. Deuce #5. Schnyder netted a backhand dropshot. Ad Ana (BP #5). Schnyder mishit a forehand lob out of sight, and swore in Swiss German.

Sam Smith: "90% of players don't like playing against Schnyder, because she's very difficult, hard to read, just mucks up your game. She sucks you in to the way she wants the match to go."

Ana serving 2-0: Ana backhand wide. 0/15. Ana netted a forehand. 0/30. Backhand return just wide. 15/30. Ana punished a short return with an off-forehand winner into the corner. 30/30. Ana went for a crosscourt forehand onto the sideline, but it was just wide. 30/40. Ana wasn't happy that her first serve was called wide, and then they played a most intriguing rally: Schnyder drew Ana to the net with a dropshot; Ana's cap fell off as she ran it down, but the umpire didn't call a let; Ana hit a short crosscourt backhand dropshot, and Schnyder broke back with a forehand lob-winner over Ana's head.

Sam Smith (re. no let for Ana's cap falling off): "I think that's [umpire] Lynn Welch interpreting the rules with a bit of common sense. Schnyder would have gone /crazy/. It wasn't interfering with play. Maybe she felt Schnyder was right on top of the point. Maybe if Schnyder had missed, she /would/ have called a let."

Schnyder serving 1-2: Schnyder took the initiative with a lob onto the baseline and came to the net, but hit a forehand wide. 0/15. Ana netted a backhand. 15/15. Schnyder crosscourt backhand winner. 30/15. Ana mishit a backhand into the net - perhaps we can blame the wind. 40/15. Ana netted a forehand.

Ana serving 2-2: Schnyder backhand long & wide. 15/0. Schnyder backhand long. 30/0. Ana came to the net and hit a delectable forehand dropshot-winner. 40/0. Schnyder backhand long.

Schnyder serving 2-3: Ana crosscourt backhand winner. 0/15. Backhand return wide. 15/15. Ana's forehand return clipped the netcord and fell back on her side. 30/15. Ana came to the net, forcing Schnyder to hit a backhand pass wide. 30/30. A great rally culminated with Ana coming back to the net with a forehand onto the baseline and hitting a high forehand drive-volley winner crosscourt. 30/40. Schnyder netted a forehand, and Ana said "ajde" for the second point in a row.

Ana serving 4-2: Serve out wide + forehand winner down the line. 15/0. Ana forehand long. 15/15. Schnyder went for a forehand onto the sideline, but it was just wide. 30/15. Ana forced Schnyder to net a forehand lob. 40/15. Ana came to the net behind a crosscourt forehand, but Schnyder hit an "outrageous" crosscourt forehand pass-winner. 40/30. Schnyder sliced a backhand down the line wide.

Schnyder serving 2-5 (new balls): Schnyder backhand wide. 0/15. Ana netted a forehand. 15/15. Schnyder came to the net, but her approach wasn't strong enough, and Ana hit a forehand pass-winner down the line. 15/30. Schnyder forced a short ball and hit a short-angled off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. 30/30. Ana hit an error-forcing forehand return down the line. 30/40 (SP #1). Schnyder came to the net, forcing Ana to hit a forehand pass wide. 40/40. Ana forehand wide. Ad Schnyder. She came to the net, forcing Ana to mishit a backhand into the net.

Ana serving 5-3: Ana hit a "devastating" off-forehand winner. 15/0. Service-winner out wide. 30/0. Schnyder went for a forehand down the line, but it was just long. 40/0 (SP #2). Schnyder went for a forehand return down the line, but put it in the tramlines. Ana won the first set 6-3 at 14:44 (37 minutes).

Sam Smith: "This is even more impressive than last year for Ivanović. She's not hitting winners every shot, but slowed down and thinking - a better match-player."


Second set
----------
IVANOVIĆ @* *@* * 6
SCHNYDER __*___*_ 2

Schnyder serving 0-0: She blasted a forehand wide. 0/15. Schnyder at the net netted a forehand. 0/30. Schnyder netted a backhand dropshot. 0/40. Ana backhand dropshot-winner.

The crowd are supporting Schnyder now because they want a better contest. Schnyder's made Ana's life awkward at times, but it's all been rather straightforward so far.

Ana serving 1-0: Schnyder hit an off-forehand return-winner. 0/15. Schnyder came to the net and forced a forehand lob long. 0/30. Schnyder worked the point and forced Ana to miss a backhand. 0/40. Ana's dropshot forced Schnyder to net a forehand. 15/40. Service-winner out wide. 30/40. Service-winner out wide. 40/40. Ana hit an off-forehand winner onto the sideline, pumped her fist, stood on one leg, twirled around and shouted "ajde!" Ad Ana. She came to the net, but Schnyder hit an "almost miraculous" crosscourt backhand pass-winner behind her. Deuce #2. Ana came to the net and hit a forehand drive-volley winner. Ad Ana. Serve out wide + forehand winner down Schnyder's backhand-sideline.

Schnyder was too passive on those break-points.

Schnyder serving 0-2: Schnyder's crosscourt backhand hit the netcord and landed just wide. Schnyder came to the net for a long argument with the umpire. 0/15. Schnyder's forehand winner down the line caught the outside edge of the sideline. 15/15. Double fault (second serve long). 15/30. Schnyder came to the net behind a nice, deep approach, but netted a really poor backhand volley - "mentally, she's almost checking out of this quarter-final" [Sam Smith]. 15/40. Ana netted a forehand return. 30/40. Ana came to the net behind an inadequate, telegraphed dropshot, which Schnyder hit down and hit a backhand pass-winner down the line. 40/40. Ana hit a deep crosscourt forehand into the corner, forcing Schnyder to net a backhand. Ana pumped her fist and said "c'mon". Ad Ana (BP #3). Ana forehand wide. Deuce #2. After a rather passive rally, Ana cracked a forehand winner down the line, right in the corner. Sam Smith: "She's able to change the pace in the blink of an eye." Ad Ana (BP #4). Ana netted a backhand. Deuce #3. Schnyder hit a backhand dropshot-winner as Ana slipped. Ad Schnyder. She mishit an early backhand out of court. Deuce #3. Service-winner out wide. Ad Schnyder. Another good serve out wide: Ana backhand return just long.

Mark Petchey: "Could be a big game in the context of this match: unable to take the break-point opportunities."

Ana serving 2-1: Serve out wide + crosscourt backhand forced Schnyder lob wide. 15/0. Service-winner down the line. 30/0. Another pinpoint first serve down the middle forced a short return, which Ana dispatched with an off-forehand winner. 40/0. Service-winner out wide.

Schnyder serving 1-3: Schnyder netted a backhand dropshot. 0/15. Ana netted a backhand. 15/15. Schnyder hit a searing crosscourt forehand winner, low over the net, just wide. 15/30. Ana forced Schnyder to net a forehand. 15/40. Schnyder netted a cheap backhand, and Ana said "ajde".

Ana serving 4-1: Ana hit the first ace of the match: down the middle. 15/0. Schnyder came to the net behind an awkward, low-bouncing approach that forced Ana to net an awkward low forehand. 15/15. Schnyder backhand down the line just wide. 30/15. Schnyder's forehand return clipped the netcord, bounced up high, and fell back on her side. 40/15. Ana ran around her backhand to hit a spectacular crosscourt forehand winner onto the sideline.

Schnyder serving 1-5: Ana backhand wide. 15/0. Schnyder off-backhand wide. 15/15. Ana netted a backhand. 30/15. Ana came to the net, forcing Schnyder to hit a backhand pass wide. 40/15. Serve out wide: forehand return wide.

Ana serving 5-2: Schnyder forehand just long. 15/0. Double fault #1 (second serve just wide). Ana changed her racket. 15/15. Schnyder came to the net but hit her backhand approach long. Schnyder changed her racket. 30/15. It's starting to rain. Schnyder's deep backhand forced Ana to miss a forehand. 30/30. It's raining quite hard now. Service-winner out wide. 40/30 (MP #1). Second serve: Schnyder pushed Ana into the tramlines with a short-angled crosscourt forehand return, and hit an off-forehand virtual winner. 40/40. Double fault (second serve just long). Ad Schnyder (BP). Schnyder forehand very long. Deuce #2. Schnyder netted a backhand return. Ad Ana (MP #2). Ana went for an ace out wide, but it was just wide. Second serve hit the netcord and fell wide for a double fault. Deuce #3. Serve out wide + crosscourt backhand winner. Ad Ana (MP #3). A first serve out wide induced Schnyder to hit a down-the-line forehand return into the tramlines. Ana won 6-3 6-2 at 15:23 (second set 39m, match 1h16m).

Ana emitted a cute, lingering squeal and shook her fist - she's particularly delighted with this victory.

Ana had an on-court interview with Nelson Montfort, but the cretins at the BBC first talked over it and then faded the sound on it. :-||

"...many tough opponents still in the draw, you know. I beat them all before, but they've also beaten /me/ before, so, you know, I expect tough matches - there's no easy matches any more. You know, I'm gonna keep working hard, and enjoy out there like I'm doing.

"Yeah, definitely I feel like a different player this year, but I ??don't?? want to forget that [last year's final] now..."


Ana's quarter-final press-conference
------------------------------------

Source: www.rolandgarros.com


Q. Again, it was quick today. Did you expect to have a tough game?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: No, I think it was a pretty tough game. We had lot, lot of tough matches in the past. Going out on the court, I knew I had to work hard for every point, because she doesn't give you many free points.

I did that very well today. Obviously, you know, the score indicates a little bit easier match than it actually was.

I was just so happy to close match in that last game, because it started to rain a bit, you know, and I started to rush, as well.

So I was happy to calm down and still win the game.


Q. Do you have a problem with your left ankle? Because it was taped today.

ANA IVANOVIĆ: I was taping both my ankles these days, and today I tape it just in case because I twisted earlier this year. So I just want to have precautions.


Q. You're officially living in Basel. Can you tell us something about that?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Well, unfortunately, I don't spend as much time there as I hope for, because obviously we travel so much.

You know, I have coach from... Sven's from Amsterdam, Holland and, you know, Scott's from Australia, so I don't spend as much time there. But I enjoy going there. My manager is there, and it's a very nice and quiet city.


Q. Coming to Paris ten days ago, did you expect to go to the semi-final so easily?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Well, easily I wouldn't agree. I had to work really hard for my matches. I was really happy the way, you know, I started playing better. Because tournaments leading up to French: I didn't find my form and I didn't play as well as I hoped for.

So, you know, coming into the tournament and each match playing better and better, it's something that for sure gives me confidence. Yeah, I'm just enjoying so much each match.


Q. You have the opportunity now to reach number one. Does it make it more difficult to focus on tennis?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: No. That's something, you know, that comes naturally with the way you play, the results you're making. So I just want to play each match the way I play it, and not think much about that.

You know, at the end of the day, rankings take care of themselves. If you play well - if you're winning - the rankings come.


Q. If it is to be Jelena whom you play next - Janković - can you ask you how you feel about that match?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: We played many times before, and we always have tough matches. I think we played only once on green clay, and never at a Grand Slam.

It's going to be interesting match, if it happens. At least we have one Serbian for sure in the final.


Q. Do you think you'll still have to raise your level of play for the next match, or are you pretty satisfied with your current level?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Obviously today's match was a lot different than any other match. Patty is an opponent that doesn't give you many free points, so I had to adjust to that a little bit and be more patient.

I am really happy the way I'm playing at the moment, so that's, you know, something I want to keep focused on. Yeah, and then keep working hard. In my days off, I have time to prepare for the following matches, and that's something that's been great these few weeks.

So, yeah, I just want to keep this level.


Q. When you have played Jelena, you've had the better of the results. Why do you think that is?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Well, it's hard to say, you know. Against some players, you just do better than against the others. She's a tough opponent and she defends really well. You know, I try to, you know, step in and be aggressive and play my game.

You know, every match is a new match, a new experience, and I just have to keep playing like I played so far.


Q. How would you describe your relationship with her?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Well, obviously, you know, we come from the same country, so we know each other for a long time. When she was younger, she went to America and I went to Switzerland, so we didn't really have chance to practise together or to hang out much. So that's how we develop, as well.

Now, you know, travelling, she has her own team and I have my own team. You know we don't - yeah, we don't just hang out.


Q. A Grand Slam is a physical and it's a mental grind. You had a pretty easy ride so far here - probably the easiest you've had to get to this stage of a Major. How important is that heading into the last part of the tournament?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: It is very important. And also, this is one of the first times that I actually started one of the first days. I usually start always on Tuesday or sometimes even Wednesday.

I see the benefits. You know, you just keep having that day off, which is really important. You have time to recover, you know, physically a little bit and also mentally, and to, you know, just relax one day, have a light practice, and then mentally regain your focus for next day. That's something that's been working really well for me.

So, yeah, I'm just happy to see that.


Q. Is there any time in the spring when you started to feel your game - I mean, you had some difficult losses. Did you feel your game start to come together in practice with Sven? What started to come together before you came into this tournament?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yeah, after Rome I started working really hard on court with Sven, and Scott also in the gym. I just started to hit a lot of balls, and that's how I got, you know, my confidence back.

Also came few days earlier to Paris, and we had unbelievable practices. So that's something I was very excited about, and I was looking forward for competition again and to play matches, and, yeah, go out there and have tough matches.

That's something that has changed since that first few tournaments I played on the clay, and I'm very happy to see that.


Q. We're not sure what's going to happy happen with Jelena today. We'll see how her shoulder holds up. If it is her, you know how well she groundstrokes, and particularly her backhand down the line, and she covers the court well. That one possible hole in her game - her service - how important is it for you to aggressively attack her second serve?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yeah, obviously it's important. It's important part. I just want to, like, keep playing my game. She's a tough opponent, and I have, you know, time also with Sven to prepare and to have some points I have to work on for that match if it happens.

You know, I just - I just, like I said, I've been playing really well last few games, and I felt very comfortable on the court, so that's something I want to keep up, and keep up the hard work, and just see how it goes.


Q. With Maria gone, is there a change in mentality from knowing you are the one to beat now, seeing as you're the second seed?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yeah, but, you know, I don't see that way coming into this week. I obviously wanted to do the best I could and hopefully win the tournament, so that hasn't changed a bit.

I still work hard for my matches, and there are very tough opponents, you know. I beat them before, but they also beat me before. So, you know, you just have to go out there and play each match like it's the last match of the tournament - like it's a final. And that's something I went on the court each match I played, and it really helps me.


Q. Is it different this year because Justine [Henin] and Maria, you think like everything is possible because they're all gone?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Obviously, you know, like I just mentioned before, you know. All these players that are in the quarters or in semi-final, I, you know, I've beaten them before, but then they also won against me.

Justine, you know, I'm sorry not to see her this week here. But, you know, still, there are good players out there you have to still beat.


Q. You played two Grand Slam finals; lost them both. Do you feel as though a new final is near, and do you think you're going to feel any pressure?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Well, yeah, obviously pressure comes with every match you play. But still, I found some points that I worked on, and that helped me handle those kind of pressures.

So I'm having fun out there, and I really hope I can hopefully reach, you know, another final and then have - you know, to work on it and maybe even make that one more step and win it. That's for sure my goal, and I've been working hard towards it. So, yeah, I'm just going to see.


Articles
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Ivanović strolls into semis
By Orla Coady (www.rolandgarros.com)
>>>
Ana Ivanović dismissed the challenge of Patty Schnyder in straight sets - 6-3 6-2 - and moved into the semi-finals for the second straight year. The Swiss No.10 seed was no match for Ivanović, and was overwhelmed in an hour and fifteen minutes.

A seasoned campaigner, playing in her thirteenth consecutive Roland Garros, Schnyder threw everything she had at Ivanović, but could not live with the No.2 seed's power. Ivanović played a clever match, moving her opponent around the court, and engaging in long rallies while waiting for the error.

Ivanović started strongly, holding her serve to love, and breaking the Swiss No.1 in her opening game. Schnyder broke straight back, but from then on was outplayed as Ivanović - who held over 75% of first serves - held comfortably as Schnyder had to struggle with her own inconsistency as well as her opponent. In the seventh game, Schnyder followed up a beautifully-angled running crosscourt backhand with a sloppy forehand that landed out to give Ivanović a 5-2 lead. With the Swiss player unable to get enough weight behind her shots to bother Ivanović, the Serb took the first set comfortably 6-3.

Schnyder, who reached the quarter-finals here in 1998 as a 19-year-old, tried to mix things up at the start of the second set by coming to the net behind her serve, but was easily passed by Ivanović, who went on to break to love. She did manage to carve out break-points on Ivanović's serve, but was unable to convert, and the 2007 finalist eventually wrapped it up to win the second set 6-2, despite double-faulting twice as nerves crept in when she was in sight of the winning-post - something that she later put down to rushing in an attempt to finish the match before the rains came.

Now installed as the new favourite to win the tournament after the departure of No.1 seed Maria Sharapova yesterday, Ivanović is determined not to let last year's hammering by Justine Henin in the final affect her. "I feel like different player this year," said Ivanović after the match, "I don't want to forget last year. I want to remember it and use it to play better."
<<<

Ivanović, Janković to meet in semis (PA SportsTicker)
>>>
Serbia is guaranteed to have a representative in the French Open final.

Second seed Ana Ivanović and No.3 Jelena Janković advanced at the claycourt Major on Tuesday to set up an all-Serbian semi-final in the bottom of the draw.

Both players are attempting to win their first Grand Slam title, and also would become the new world No.1 with a victory here in Roland Garros.

"[The rankings are] something that come naturally with the way you play," said Ivanović, when asked if the added pressure of a No.1 ranking being at stake would affect her game. "I just want to play and not think much about it, because at end of day, the rankings take care of themselves."

Ivanović continued the push toward her second straight French Open final with a 6-3 6-2 win over 10th-seeded Patty Schnyder of Switzerland.

Janković also had few problems, claiming a 6-3 6-2 win over Spanish qualifier Carla Suárez Navarro, who was appearing in her first Grand Slam quarter-final.

"There are a few matches left, and I am going to fight very hard to achieve one of my dreams - my dream is to become No.1 in the world, and now I'm very close," Janković said.

Ivanović - a runner-up to former No.1 Justine Henin here last season - showed good form once again as she needed just 77 minutes to oust Schnyder at the claycourt Major.

The 20-year-old also reached the championship-match at the Australian Open in January, but current No.1 Maria Sharapova denied her what would have been her first Grand Slam title.

Ivanović has yet to drop a set in five matches here, and has won 61 of 81 games played.

The 23-year-old Janković, trying to reach her first Grand Slam final, is just 1:5 career against Ivanović, and has lost four straight in the series.

"I don't know; she plays a different game for me, and it's hard to read what she is going to hit," said Janković, when asked why she has struggled against Ivanović. "She likes to play short points and go for broke most of the time. But its a different game and different circumstances, so I think it will be a completely different match."

This will be the first red-clay meeting between the players in addition to being their first encounter at a Major.

"We've always had tough matches... but at least we'll have one Serbian for sure in the final," Ivanović said.
<<<

Ivanović strolls into semi-finals in Paris
By Julien Pretot (Editing by Miles Evans)
>>>
World number-two Ana Ivanović stormed into the semi-finals of the French Open with a 6-3 6-2 crushing of Swiss 10th seed Patty Schnyder on Tuesday.

The 20-year-old Serb will have to get past either third-seeded compatriot Jelena Janković or Spanish qualifier Carla Suárez Navarro if she is to play her second consecutive final at Roland Garros.

"Patty is an opponent that doesn't give you many free points, so I had to adjust to that a little bit and be more patient," said Ivanović, who prevailed on her third match-point after 76 minutes.

"I am really happy the way I'm playing at the moment, so that's something I want to keep focused on.

"I expect tough matches, so I will keep working hard and enjoy myself."

Schnyder admitted there was not much she could have done against Ivanović, who will take over from Maria Sharapova at the top of the world-rankings if she wins her first Grand Slam.

"She's so tall and has more power than me. In those conditions, it's really tough for me to win," said the Swiss.

"She played smart. She didn't go for too much, and so it was the way she won today."

Wearing a candy-pink dress contrasting with Schnyder's turquoise, Ivanović opened with a series of forehand winners.

After winning the first game to love, she broke in the second, but Schnyder - a claycourt-specialist - broke back and levelled to 2-2.

The Swiss could not match her opponent's power, however, and Ivanović stole her serve for a 4-2 lead, going on to claim the opening set after 37 minutes.

Schnyder mixed it up in the second set, trying out some dropshots to trouble Ivanović's well-oiled baseline-game.

But she was too clumsy, and Ivanović broke twice again, holding serve throughout.

She threw away two match-points - one with a double fault - but sealed the win when Schnyder returned a forehand wide.

Ivanović, who lost her first four matches against Schnyder, has now won their last four meetings.
<<<

Ivanović blazes back into semis
Jeremy Stahl (Eurosport)
>>>
Second seed Ana Ivanović crushed Swiss tenth seed Patty Schnyder 6-3 6-2 to ease into the semi-finals of the French Open for a second straight year.

The Serbian, who finished runner-up at last year's tournament to the now-retired Justine Henin, will next meet third seeded compatriot Jelena Janković for a place in Saturday's final.

"Definitely I feel like a different player, but I don't want to forget that [final] because it was a good experience for me," Ivanović said about how last year's 6-1 6-2 drubbing at the hands of Henin has impacted her tournament in 2008.

The Australian Open runner-up is now the strong favourite to win her first Grand Slam trophy after world number-one Maria Sharapova lost in the fourth round to Dinara Safina on Monday.

Ivanović opened the match well by breaking the Swiss number one in the second game, before allowing the break straight back in her ensuing service-game.

Still, the momentum remained with the 20-year-old Serbian, who broke again in the sixth game before serving out for the set to take the opener in 37 minutes.

Ivanović, who finished the match with 39 winners, took advantage of a string of unforced errors by the claycourt-specialist Schnyder to take another early break of serve and a 2-0 lead in the second set.

Schnyder saved four break-points in the third game of the set, but was finally decisively broken again in the fifth.

As rain started to fall at the Philippe Chatrier stadium, Ivanović, who has reached at least the semi-finals in four of her last five Grand Slam appearances, then closed out the victory in one hour and 15 minutes as Schnyder sent a backhand return of serve well wide on match-point number three.

"She's so tall and has more power than me. In those conditions, it's really tough for me to win," said Schnyder.

"She played smart. She didn't go for too much, and so it was the way she won today."
<<<

All-Serbian Paris showdown for tennis-aces Ivanović and Janković (AFP)
>>>
Ana Ivanović and Jelena Janković set up an all-Serbian semi-final showdown at the French Open as both scored comfortable straight-sets wins on Tuesday.

Second seeded Ivanović, 20, moved within one match of her third Grand Slam final in the past year by defeating Swiss veteran Patty Schnyder 6-3 6-2 in her quarter-final.

Third seed Janković, 23, then powered past Spanish qualifier Carla Suárez Navarro 6-3 6-2 to reach her fourth Grand Slam semi-final.

The pair have met six times with Ivanović winning five of them, but it will be their first meeting in a Grand Slam tournament.

"We have played many times before, and we always have tough matches," Ivanović said of her compatriot.

"I think we have played only once on green clay and never at a Grand Slam.

"It's going to be an interesting match, and at least we have one Serbian for sure in the final."

The 20-year-old second seed lost to Justine Henin in straight sets in the final here last year, and to Maria Sharapova in the Australian Open final in January.

Playing in damp, overcast conditions, Ivanović broke early to lead 2-0, but the 29-year-old 10th seed, playing in her 48th Grand Slam tournament and 13th straight at Roland Garros, hit back to level at 2-2.

Ivanović was clearly the more powerful of the two with Schnyder looking to counter by moving the bigger woman around with her looping crosscourt groundstrokes.

The Belgrade beauty took the first set 6-3, and she immediately broke to love in the opening game of the second, a deft dropshot-winner doing the damage on break-point.

Schnyder had three break-points on the Ivanović serve in the following game, but she could not convert any of them, and when the Serb went 3-0, there was no way back for her opponent.

Following Monday's defeat of top seed Sharapova, Ivanović is assured of taking the world No.1 spot for the first time if she lifts the title here on Saturday.
<<<

Ana Powers Into Final Four
By Tennis Week
>>>
Continuing her commanding march through the field, Ana Ivanović took another step toward reaching her second straight French Open final today.

The second-seeded Serbian punished Patty Schnyder 6-3 6-2 to cruise into the French Open final four. She has not surrendered a set in five victories at the tournament. Ivanović will face compatriot Jelena Janković for a spot in the final.

The third-seeded Serbian stopped 132nd-ranked Spaniard Carla Suárez Navarro in today's second quarter-final: 6-3 6-2.

Ivanović, who was runner-up to Justine Henin in the 2007 final, has reached the semi-finals in three of her last four Grand Slam appearances.

The opening set was deadlocked at 2-2 when Ivanović began stepping into the court and turning her shoulders into her shots. She held to love, then broke for 4-2 when a Schnyder shot sailed long.

Pummelling the 10th-seeded Swiss with deep drives, Ivanović held to 30 for 5-2. Schnyder, who was contesting her first French Open quarter-final since 1998, saved a set-point when Ivanović slipped sliding into a shot near the baseline to hold for 3-5.

But it proved to be a temporary reprieve. The left-handed Schnyder has a flair for creating acute angles and unsettling opponents by altering the spins and speeds of her shots, but she lacked the consistent depth to offer any real resistance to the 6'1" Serbian, who simply hit through the slighter, 5'6" Schnyder as the match progressed.

Ivanović issued an emphatic love-hold to seize the first set in 37 minutes.

Though the 20-year-old from Belgrade is not a speed-merchant, she compensates with fine footwork: taking the swift, short preparation-steps to prepare for her shots.

Ivanović showed her sense of touch breaking at love with a brilliant backhand dropshot to open the second set. Schnyder staved off three break-points to hold for 1-2. But Ivanović eased through a routine service-hold, then drilled a series of deep drives to coax a backhand error from Schnyder to break for 4-1. Ivanović persistently pounded Schnyder's second serve, winning 13 of 22 points played on the Swiss' second serve.

The only minor mis-step came when Ivanović served for the match. Schnyder saved the first match-point with a stylish, running forehand winner, and Ivanović double-faulted on the second match-point before wrapping up the win with a service-winner. It was her fourth straight win over Schnyder to even their head-to-head series at 4:4. Ivanović raised her Roland Garros record to 17:3 in moving to within one win of her third career Major-final.
<<<

All-Serbian Semi-final Set
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=2313
>>>
There is guaranteed to be a new world No.1 after Roland Garros. By virtue of Ana Ivanović and Jelena Janković both winning their quarter-finals on Tuesday - and setting up an all-Serbian semi-final - it is guaranteed one of them will reach the final, destroying the one criterion Russia's Maria Sharapova needed to keep the No.1 ranking after this tournament - that none of her three rivals for No.1 - Ivanović, Janković and Kuznetsova - would reach the final.

Ivanović was the first of the Serbian stars to advance to the final, beating Patty Schnyder handily: 6-3 6-2. Ivanović, the No.2 seed, blasted an impressive 39 winners to just 19 errors during her victory against the No.10-seeded Schnyder, who had an even winners-to-errors differential (31:31). After losing her first four meetings with the Swiss, she has now won four in a row to even the series.

"We had lots of tough matches in the past, and going out on the court, I knew I had to work hard for every point because she doesn't give you any free points," Ivanović said. "The score indicates a little bit easier match than it actually was. I was just very happy to close the match out in that last game, because it started to rain a bit and I started to rush, as well."

"It was tough conditions, and she's such a good player," Schnyder said. "She's so tall and has much more power than me. In those conditions, and against that type of player, it's really tough for me to win. She also played smart and did not go for too much. She was really patient. And my spin wasn't disturbing her at all. She played a good match, and that's just how she won today."

On the inevitable handing over of the No.1 ranking - albeit not known to whom - Ivanović maintained she is focused on results first and foremost.

"That's something that comes naturally with the way you play, with the results you're making," the 20-year-old said. "I just want to play each match. I don't really want to think about rankings. At the end of the day, rankings take care of themselves. If you play well, if you're winning, the rankings come."

"It's more motivation; my dream is to become No.1 in the world, and now I'm very close, so I will try my best and hopefully I can do it," Janković said. "We're at the end of this tournament. We're coming to the finish-line. Just a few more matches left. Hopefully I can fight very hard to achieve one of my dreams."

Kuznetsova can only become No.1 by claiming the title, no matter whom she plays in the final. If she doesn't win the title, then whichever Serb makes it to the final will assume the No.1 ranking.

Ivanović is 5:1 lifetime against Janković, but in spite of that lopsided record, and the fact she has won their last four meetings, they always have tough matches.

"We played many times before, and we always have touch matches," Ivanović said. "It's going to be an interesting match. At least we'll have one Serbian in the final. Every match is a new match, and I just hope to keep playing like I have."

"It's hard to read her shots, because she likes to play short points and just goes for broke most of the time," Janković said. "I've had troubles in the past against her, but I don't think we played on clay many times, so it's a different game and different circumstances. I think it will be a completely different match."
<<<

French Open: Serbia assured place in final as Ana Ivanović and Jelena Janković triumph
By Mark Hodgkinson (The Daily Telegraph)
>>>
A Serbian player is guaranteed in Saturday's women's final at Roland Garros, after Ana Ivanović and Jelena Janković both advanced today and will meet in the last four.

It is also certain that Maria Sharapova will lose her world No.1 ranking on Monday morning, although it's not clear yet whether it will be Ivanović, Janković or Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova who will replace her at the top of the tennis-tree.

The temperatures at Roland Garros seemed more akin to a wintry afternoon in Sharapova's homeland of Siberia than springtime in Paris, and Ivanović's opponent, Switzerland's Patty Schnyder, was so cold that she asked for a second towel to wrap herself up in while sitting on her chair during the changeovers.

One towel was laid out over her knees and the other draped around her shoulders, but still the 29-year-old appeared to shiver a little, resembling an old lady on a park bench worried about catching a chill.

But Schnyder wasn't out on the Philippe Chatrier Court for too long - beaten 6-3 6-2 by Ivanović, the current world No.2, in just over an hour.
<<<

Ivanović v Schnyder as it happened:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/7433231.stm

--------------------------
3. Semi-final draw/preview
--------------------------

* DINARA SAFINA [13] v SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [4] (Bestie gegen Bestie)
* ANA IVANOVIĆ [2,DF] v JELENA JANKOVIĆ [3] (ajde Ana!)

I wouldn't have been optimistic about Ana's chances against Janković at the start of the tournament, as Janković had won the recent Italian Open (albeit without having to face a top-eight player), while Ana had lost to #64-ranked Tsvetana Pironkova in her opening match at Rome.

But Ana goes into this match a big favourite, as her form in the tournament has been very impressive, while Janković is struggling with a right-arm injury, and has regressed to her old counterpunching ways.

ANA IVANOVIĆ [2,DF]:
1r + Sofia Arvidsson, 6-2 7-5
2r + Lucie Šafářová [EF], 6-1 6-2
3r + CAROLINE WOZNIACKI [30], 6-4 6-1
4r + Petra Cetkovská, 6-0 6-0
qf + PATTY SCHNYDER [10], 6-3 6-2

JELENA JANKOVIĆ [3]:
1r + Monica Niculescu [LL,S], 7-6 (7/3) 6-2
2r + Marina Eraković, 6-2 7-6 (7/5)
3r + DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [28], 7-5 6-3
4r + AGNIESZKA RADWAŃSKA [14], 6-3 7-6 (7/3)
qf + Carla Suárez Navarro [Q], 6-3 6-2

Ana leads Janković 5:1 head to head, including their only meeting on clay:
+ 2005 Zürich 2r: Ivanović 6-2 6-1
- 2006 Los Angeles qf: Janković 6-4 7-6 (8/6)
+ 2007 Tokyo qf: Ivanović 3-6 6-4 6-2
+ 2007 Amelia Island qf: Ivanović 7-5 6-3
+ 2007 Los Angeles sf: Ivanović 4-6 6-3 7-5
+ 2008 Indian Wells sf: Ivanović 7-6 (7/3) 6-3

I would be very surprised and disappointed if Ana didn't win this semi-final. My prediction: 6-3 6-1.


Injury-prone Janković set for Ivanović test (Reuters)
By Miles Evans (editing by Pritha Sarkar)
>>>
Jelena Janković goes into Thursday's French Open semi-final against fellow Serb Ana Ivanović with both form and fitness weighing heavily against her.

Second seed Ivanović will walk on to Court Philippe Chatrier as fresh as a daisy after conceding just 20 games in her five matches so far as she seemingly walks towards a first Grand Slam title with total assurance.

Janković, meanwhile, has also not lost a set at Roland Garros, but her progress has been, by comparison, tortuous.

Treated for a wrist-injury in her second-round match against Marina Eraković, she also needed medical attention on a stiff neck and shoulder in the fourth round, and made a dash home to Serbia before her quarter-final triumph to receive treatment.

The pair have met six times and Janković has prevailed only once in Los Angeles two years ago, and Ivanović won in straight sets in their only previous meeting on clay.

But what Janković lacks in fitness and previous form, she more than makes up for it in self-belief.

"My dream is to become number one in the world, and now I'm very close. So I will try my best, and hopefully I can do it," said the third seed, who will replace Maria Sharapova at the top of the pile if she takes the title.

"I had troubles in the past against her, but I don't think we played on clay many times. So it's a different game and it's different circumstances, so I think it will be a completely different match. So we will see how it will goes this time.

"I really have to attack. She has some weaknesses in her game, and I really need to play good tactically to play the right shots, play the right game, and then we will see.

Justine Henin's crown as queen of Roland Garros is looking like an increasingly perfect fit for Ivanović.

She has destroyed the opposition this fortnight, clubbing winners off both wings, and appears the clear heir apparent to the now retired four-times champion from Belgium.

Both born in Belgrade 2˝ years apart, the two Serbs have never developed a close friendship because of their different coaching-decisions, but Ivanović is aware of her rival's strengths.

"She's a tough opponent and she defends really well. [I need to] step in and be aggressive and play my game," said Ivanović, who also has Sharapova's top spot in her sights.

"Every match is a new match, a new experience, and I just have to keep playing like I played so far."
<<<

Ivanović versus Janković in Serb showdown at French Open (AFP)
>>>
It's Serb against Serb in the women's semi-finals at the French Open on Thursday: the first time that has happened, for either of the sexes, in Grand Slam history.

Second seed Ana Ivanović will start as favourite against third seed Jelena Janković.

The winner will be one match away from delivering a first female Grand Slam title to the Balkan country hard on the heels of compatriot Novak Đoković's landmark-win for the men at the Australian Open in January.

[Serbia already had a female Grand Slam champion in Monica Seles, who won the first eight of her nine Grand Slams under the Yugoslav flag. So Ivanović or Janković would be the second Serbian woman to win a Grand Slam.]

The more powerful Ivanović is the younger at 20, and will be bidding for a third Grand Slam final in the past year, having lost to Justine Henin here last year and to Maria Sharapova in the Australian Open in January.

Janković, at 23, has yet to make a Major-final, but she will be playing in her fourth Grand Slam semi-final, and she has experience and probably mental fortitude on on her side.

The two surprisingly are not that close, having gone down different paths to get to the top.

"Obviously, we come from the same country, so we know each other for a long time," said Ivanović, who will take over from Maria Sharapova as world No.1 should she win the title.

"When she was younger, she went to America and I went to Switzerland, so we didn't really have the chance to practise together or to hang out much.

"Now, you know, travelling, she has her own team and I have my own team. We don't just hang out."

The two Belgrade-born players have met six times with Ivanović winning five of them, but it will be their first meeting in a Grand Slam tournament.

Janković, who has been struggling with tendonitis in her right arm and shoulder - brought on, she says, by the heavy balls in use at Roland Garros this year - has no doubt that her rivalry with Ivanović is set to last.

"I think we're going to be dominating this tennis-world soon," she said.

"We're going to be at the top, so it will be one of us will reach No.1 soon, and then it will be depend on who is in the form for the rest of the year.

"It's great for Serbian tennis and for the whole world to have new faces, to have new players and great rivalries.

"We will try to compete against each other the best as possible. We push each other and we motivate each other to be better players for sure."

Ivanović has the bigger game and power to dominate her older compatriot, but Janković is one of the toughest players on the circuit, and she will be fully aware that there remains a question-mark over her opponent's ability to control her nerves.

In last year's final, Ivanović broke Henin's serve in the opening game of the match, and was 40/0 in the following game when one dodgy ball-toss turned her into a bundle of nerves. She eventually lost 6-1 6-2.
<<<

Nick Bollettieri's preview
http://nickstennispicks.com/
>>>
Ana Ivanović (SRB) v Jelena Janković (SRB)

In this match-up of two Serbians, Ivanović leads their head-to-head series 5:1. The one and only time they played on clay (Amelia Island 2007), Ivanović beat her in straight sets. Both girls are playing excellent tennis right now, and despite her record, I don't think Ivanović will have a big edge in this match. Janković knows that this is the best chance she has had at winning a Grand Slam title, and she isn't going to go down without a fight.

Match-Up:

Both of these girls have a chance to become #1 in the world for the first time in their careers if they win this tournament. I am sure they know that, but are trying not to think about it.

When breaking down these girl's games, let's first look at their forehands. Janković has a compact swing, and is able to move her opponents all over the court. Ivanović's forehand is bigger and is capable of doing more damage to her opponents. She definitely has the edge there.

On the backhand side, both girls hit great two-handed shots. Ivanović goes for broke, and has a big backswing. Janković has a great down-the-line shot, but hasn't been using it enough. I think she has been hitting too many crosscourt backhands, instead of hitting more down the centre of the court, or down the line if she is inside the baseline.

I think where Ivanović has a major advantage is on the serve. Janković's serve isn't the best, and if Ivanović can take advantage of this, she will have a big edge. Janković's edge is in the movement. She covers the court as well as anyone, and is one of the best athletes on the WTA Tour.

If Ivanović isn't making many errors with her forehand, and she can break a couple of Janković's service-games, I think she will win this match.

Nick's Pick: Ivanović in 3 sets.
<<<

------------------
4. Andrew's wishes
------------------

ANA IVANOVIĆ [2,DF]:
sf + JELENA JANKOVIĆ [3]
_f + DINARA SAFINA [13]

-----------------------------
5. Order of play for Thursday
-----------------------------

Court Chatrier (start 14:00 CEST = 12:00 GMT = 13:00 BST)
WS sf: DINARA SAFINA [13] v SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [4]
WS sf: ANA IVANOVIĆ [2,DF] v JELENA JANKOVIĆ [3]
XD sf: (KATARINA SREBOTNIK/NENAD ZIMONJIĆ)[1] v Zheng,Jie/Mahesh Bhupathi

Full order of play:
http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/scores/schedule/

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sharapova_vaidisova_hantuchova/

andrewbroad
Jun 7th, 2008, 02:30 AM
=============
ROLAND GARROS (Paris, France; red clay; Grand Slam)
============= http://www.rolandgarros.com/
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. Semi-final TV-report: Ivanović v Janković
3. Final-preview
4. Order of play for Saturday

---------
1. Photos
---------

Ana Ivanović:
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=ivanovic
http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/players/wta311710.html
Search Getty Images for "ivanovic"

For completists:
http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/gallery?pg=1&cap=1

--------------------------------------------
2. Semi-final TV-report: Ivanović v Janković (Thursday 5th June 2008)
--------------------------------------------

+ ANA IVANOVIĆ [2,DF] d. JELENA JANKOVIĆ [3], 6-4 3-6 6-4

An up-and-down match for Ana, who is certainly playing well enough to deserve the title, but is still prone to bouts of choking, which is very worrying when she has to play the ultimate fightback-queen Dinara Safina in the final.

Janković played much better than I expected, having watched three of her previous matches here. She started the match playing aggressively, and took a *4-2 lead as Ana took time to settle into the match.

Then Ana found her form, looking every bit a Grand Slam champion in the making as she won six games in a row to lead 6-4 2-0* against a passive Janković. Ana seemed extremely confident and excited as she took a 3-1* lead - perhaps overconfident.

But the game at 3-1* was a major turning-point, as errors began to creep back into Ana's game, and Janković - with the help of some tiger-balm and taking the bandage off her arm - became aggressive again. Ana wasted a break-point at 3-1*, and three game-points (including 40/15) at *3-2 as Janković launched a fightback that saw her win seven games in a row to lead *2-0 in the third.

When Ana wasted a break-point as she allowed Janković to hold for 2-0*, I thought she had blown it. But she played a brilliant service-game to stop Janković's run of seven, and although she allowed Janković to hold for 3-1*, she broke back for *3-3.

Ana put herself right back into trouble as she double-faulted to go 3-4* down in the third, but she showed tremendous guts and determination to win the last three games of the match by going for her shots, despite Janković's luck and gamesmanship.


2.1 Prematch-interviews
-----------------------

The match was second on Court Chatrier. Svetlana Kuznetsova lost the first semi-final, so whoever wins this semi-final will be #1 on Monday, and Maria Sharapova will be #2.

INTERVIEWER: Good afternoon, Jelena. It's always nice talking to you. Are you are in better physical shape now that you've been back home to cure yourself a little? Today, everything's ??forgotten and no harm done???

JELENA JANKOVIĆ: Yeah... ready for this match, and very excited... <inaudible>

INTERVIEWER: I wish you all the best. Merci beaucoup, Jelena. Alors, que je pense que Ana Ivanović va bien tout... Good afternoon, Ana. So this is gonna be a big thrill. You knew that thrill already last year, but I know that this year, you hope even more for this tournament.

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yeah, definitely. I have fun every match I play here, and the crowd has been amazing, and, you know, I hope today, we'll have a great time, and they will support us.

INTERVIEWER: With a big smile, as always. Both of you have the nicest smile of the circuit.

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Thanks a lot, thank you. <embarrassed laugh>


2.2 My match-report
-------------------

The match started at 15:57 CEST.


First set
---------
IVANOVIĆ ___*@ @*@* 6
JANKOVIĆ *@*__@____ 4

Janković serving 0-0: Ana on the fourth stroke hit a backhand long. 15/0. A longish rally ended with Ana hitting a backhand lob long. 30/0. Janković hit a backhand winner down the line: on the baseline. 40/0. Janković tried to spread Ana, but Ana hit a huge crosscourt forehand, forcing her into error. 40/15. Ana crosscourt forehand return-winner. 40/30. Ana netted a backhand.

Janković has come out playing aggressively against Ana, in contrast to her previous matches here.

Sam Smith: "If she stands back and counterpunches against Ivanović, she might have a short afternoon."

Ana serving 0-1: Ana backhand just wide. 0/15. A meaty rally ended with Ana hitting a hard backhand into the net. 0/30. Janković stopped playing because she thought Ana's shot on the baseline was long; Ana hit a backhand winner, but the umpire checked the mark that Janković stopped on and called it out. 0/40. Janković slugged a wild off-backhand wide of the tramlines. 15/40. Ana backhand just long.

They're both going for broke, but Ana hasn't found her range yet. She's the one with the pressure of expectation.

Janković serving 2-0: Janković netted a forehand. 0/15. Janković forehand long. 0/30. Ana hit a huge crosscourt forehand return into the corner, but hit a crosscourt backhand wide. 15/30. Janković forehand long. Ana pumped her fist and said "c'mon". 15/40. Serve; short return; Janković hit an error-forcing forehand. 30/40. Service-winner. 40/40. Ana saw the gap and hit a crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. Ad Ana (BP #3). Ana netted a forehand. Deuce #2. And another. Ad Janković. She came to the net and hit an error-forcing forehand volley.

A close attempt to break back, but Ana's great form coming into this match and Janković's arm-injury seem to be counting for nothing so far.

Ana serving 0-3: Janković forehand long. 15/0. Janković netted a forehand. 30/0. Ana hit a deep, error-forcing forehand. 40/0. Double fault (second serve into the net). 40/15. A terrific rally saw the initiative shift from Ana to Janković back to Ana, who finished it with a crosscourt backhand pass-winner.

Janković serving 3-1: Ana pinned Janković back with a deep crosscourt backhand, and hit a backhand dropshot-winner to the opposite corner of Janković's half of the court. 0/15. Ana hit a pinpoint forehand winner down the line, right in the corner, and said "ajde". 0/30. Ana hit a deep, error-forcing crosscourt backhand just inside the baseline. 0/40. Ana forced a short ball and hit a crosscourt backhand winner onto the sideline - but the umpire checked the mark and called it wide, much to Ana's dismay. 15/40. Ana forehand wide. 30/40. Ana forced a short ball and hit a forehand winner down the line.

That's more like it from Ana: she looks like Grand Slam champion-material at the moment! And she did well to regroup after that late call - she had to win the game twice, in her mind.

Sam Smith said there was an underlying tension between the two Serbs, and Janković would have loved picking out that mark and pulling Ana back from the chair.

Ana serving 2-3: Janković's forehand clipped the netcord and fell back on her side. 15/0. Janković forced a floater but snatched at a forehand drive-volley, hitting it long. 30/0. Janković's deep return forced Ana to hit a crosscourt backhand just wide. 30/15. A long baseline-rally ended with Janković hitting an error-forcing forehand down the line: just inside the sideline. 30/30. Ana netted a backhand. 30/40. A long rally ended with Ana at the net and Janković hitting a crosscourt backhand pass-winner.

Janković serving 4-2: Serve + crosscourt backhand drive-volley winner. 15/0. Ana drew Janković to the net with a short sliced backhand, and hit a lightning crosscourt forehand pass-winner. 15/15. Ana forehand return-winner down the line. 15/30. Janković forehand just wide. 15/40. Janković backhand just long.

Sam Smith said Ana and Janković "get on, but they wouldn't go to dinner together. They don't really know each other - they grew up in different parts of Belgrade, and Ana went to Switzerland at 13/14, while Janković went to the Bollettieri academy at 12."

Ana serving 3-4: Ana took the initiative with a deep forehand just inside the baseline to force a floater from Janković, and hit a forehand smash-winner. 15/0. Service-winner. Janković broke a string and had to change her racket. 30/0. Janković netted a forehand. 40/0. Service-winner.

Sam Smith: "Devastating when she puts it together, Ivanović."

Janković serving 4-4: Second serve: Ana forehand return-winner down the line. 15/15. Ana backhand return long. Double fault (second serve long). 15/30. Janković sprayed a forehand wide - induced by depth. 15/40. Ana came to the net behind a deep forehand down the line, just inside the baseline, forcing Janković to net a backhand.

Janković's second serve doesn't have enough speed or spin, so attacking it is a key part of Ana's game-plan.

Janković isn't as aggressive as she was at the start of the match. But Sam Smith says it isn't easy for Ana to be the one generating the pace all the time.

Ana serving 5-4: Ace down the middle. 15/0. Janković forehand long. Barry Davies: "What an opportunity missed." 30/0. Ana, driven wide, netted a forehand. 30/15. Serve + off-forehand winner. 40/15 (SP #1). Janković backhand long. Ana won the first set 6-4 at 16:39 (42m).

Excellent recovery by Ana in that set. I think we're going to be seeing her in Grand Slam finals on a regular basis for quite a few years to come, continuing with the one on Saturday.

I don't think Maria Sharapova will allow her to be #1 for long, though - assuming she wins this match - I think Maria will take back #1 by winning Wimbledon, stay there for four years, and then, sadly, I think she'll do a Henin and retire at 25.

Barry Davies: "[Janković] has never made it to a Grand Slam final. She's going to have to be more aggressive if she's going to end that run here."


Second set
----------
IVANOVIĆ @* *_____ 3
JANKOVIĆ __* *@*@* 6

Janković serving 0-0: Ana on the fourth stroke netted a backhand. 15/0. Janković forehand long. 15/15. Ana off-forehand winner onto the sideline. 15/30. A long rally ended with Janković's backhand clipping the netcord and falling back on her side - good combination of offence & defence from Ana. 15/40. Ana sprayed a backhand very long. 30/40. Ana played a fantastic rally, coming forward behind a deep, penetrating forehand down the line, forcing Janković into error. Ana doubled over, pumping her fist.

Ana serving 1-0: Ana backhand just long. 0/15. Ana netted a forehand. 0/30. Janković netted a backhand, and groaned in frustration. 15/30. Ana, pinned to her backhand-corner, netted a backhand. 15/40. Janković backhand long - forced by a deep forehand onto the baseline from Ana. 30/40. Janković resorted to moonballing, but it was short and weak, and Ana crunched a crosscourt forehand winner. She smiled and pumped her fist. 40/40. Serve out wide + crosscourt backhand winner + "ajde!" Ad Ana. Janković backhand wide.

Six games in a row to Ana from 2-4 down!

Janković serving 0-2: Janković netted a backhand, and doubled over, muttering in Serbian. 0/15. Ana forehand long. 15/15. Janković came to the net, hit a dropshot, but Ana ran it down and hit an error-forcing forehand. 15/30. Ana netted a backhand return. 30/30. Ana netted a forehand return. 40/30. Janković spread Ana with a crosscourt forehand, and hit an off-forehand winner into the corner.

Barry Davies: "There's no doubt they have taken Ana Ivanović to their hearts - especially those of the male generation."

Janković asked for tiger-balm during the changeover.

Ana serving 2-1: Ace #2: down the middle. 15/0. Ana hit a down-the-line forehand winner onto the sideline, but Janković didn't even try to run for it. 30/0. Ana forehand long. 30/15. Ana went for a forehand winner down Janković's forehand-sideline, but it was just wide. 30/30. Ace #3: down the middle. 40/30. Virtual ace down the middle. Ana pumped her fist and shouted "ajde", and seems to be really enjoying this, just as I am.

Janković serving 1-3: Virtual ace down the middle. 15/0. Ana lofted a forehand just long. 30/0. Double fault (second serve into the net). 30/15. Ana forehand down the line + off-forehand winner. 30/30. Ana opened up the court, but hit an off-backhand just wide. 40/30. Janković poked a defensive forehand long. 40/40. Janković hit a crosscourt backhand winner onto the baseline... but the umpire checked the mark and called it long. Ad Ana (BP). She lofted a forehand long. Deuce #2. Ana's backhand clipped the netcord and fell wide. Ad Janković. She advanced up the court, a deep forehand down the line forcing Ana into error.

If Ana goes on to lose this match, it will be because of that last game. She had a break-point for a virtually unassailable *4-1 lead, but errors crept in and Janković became more aggressive - like they were playing at the start of the match. Perhaps Ana was guilty of overconfidence in that game, because she's been absolutely thrashing Janković, and making /me/ very excited if not herself!

Ana serving 3-2: Ace. 15/0. Serve + off-forehand winner. 30/0. Serve out wide + off-forehand winner. 40/0. Janković took the initiative and hit a crosscourt forehand winner - only her second forehand winner of the match. 40/15. A great rally ended with Janković at the net, running Ana around at the baseline and forcing her to earth a backhand lob - great retrieval for one so tall, though! 40/30. Ana dumped a backhand halfway up the net. 40/40. Ana forced a short, weak lob from Janković, and hit an off-forehand winner. Sam Smith: "Her finishing has been excellent." Ad Ana. Janković came to the net and knocked off an easy forehand volley-winner. Deuce #2. Double fault (second serve just long). Ad Janković (BP). Janković forced Ana to hit a defensive sliced backhand (with a cute little grunt), and hit a crosscourt backhand winner back behind her.

Another key game in turning this match around - Ana had 40/15. Her bubble hasn't totally burst, but the roles are quickly being reversed as Janković becomes more aggressive.

Janković serving 3-3: Ana came to the net, but Janković came up with a backhand pass-winner down the line. 15/0. Double fault (the umpire called the second serve just long, and checked the mark). 15/15. Janković came to the net, her overhead forcing Ana into error. 30/15. Forehand return just long. 40/15. Service-winner down the middle.

And now this match has an entirely different complexion than it did three games ago. Janković is swinging away, and so is the momentum (from Ana).

Ana serving 3-4: Janković backhand return long. But she got the umpire to check the mark on the service-line from Ana's second serve, and got a double fault called. 0/15. Ana opened up the court with a crosscourt forehand, and hit an off-forehand would-be winner just wide. 0/30. A fantastic rally ended with Ana calmly hitting a forehand winner down the line - a really big point, too. 15/30. Ana backhand just long. 15/40. Ana came to the net and hit a forehand smash-winner on the fifth stroke. 30/40. Serve forced a short return, but Ana netted a backhand.

Poor Ana! It can be very traumatic when you've been winning so easily, and then suddenly it turns nasty.
Sam Smith: "The unforced errors just killing Ivanović now."

Janković serving 5-3: Ana hit an error-forcing off-forehand into the corner. 0/15. Ana blasted a backhand wide. 15/15. Janković forehand very long. Ana pumped her fist. 15/30. Ana backhand long. 30/30. Ana mishit a backhand into the net. 40/30 (SP #1). Janković on the third stroke blasted a down-the-line backhand wide, and Ana shouted "ajde". 40/40. Serve + off-forehand forced Ana into error. Ad Ana (BP). Double fault #4 (second serve long). Deuce #2. Janković down-the-line backhand just wide. Sam Smith: "She doesn't normally miss those." Ad Ana (BP #2). Janković off-backhand winner down the line. Deuce #5. Ana slapped a forehand return into the net. Ad Janković (SP #2). Ana came to the net, forcing Janković to hit a forehand pass wide. Sam Smith: "There's nothing for free out here." Deuce #6. Ana, driven wide, slapped another forehand into the net. Ad Janković (SP #3). Ana backhand return long. Janković won the second set 6-3 at 17:29 (second set 50m, match so far 1h32m).

Janković looked like choking herself in that game, but now she has the momentum going into the third set with five games in a row.
Sam Smith: "It was a small but visible shift, wasn't it? Just a couple of unforced errors at the wrong time. She just kind of lost her rhythm and her timing."

Barry Davies: "It's anyone's match now: either Ivanović or Janković's."
Sam Smith: "That's the fence we sit on after being Safina'd!"


Third set
---------
IVANOVIĆ __* *@ @*@ 6
JANKOVIĆ @* *__@___ 4

Ana serving 0-0: Double fault (second serve into the net). 0/15. Ana opened up the court, but sprayed a forehand just wide. 0/30. Ana mishit a backhand long. 0/40. Ana ran down a dropshot and hit a backhand winner down the line. 15/40. Janković's forehand clipped the netcord and dropped dead for a winner.

The crowd have gone quiet.

Janković serving 1-0: A nailbiting rally ended with Ana hitting a backhand wide. 15/0. Ana hit a huge, early forehand virtual winner down Janković's forehand-sideline. 15/15. Ana opened up the court and hit a sweet off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. 15/30. Service-winner. 30/30. Janković's forehand clipped the netcord and fell back on her side. Sam Smith: "Ivanović has a lot of confidence to draw on." 30/40. Ana netted an agonising backhand, and squealed. 40/40. Ana netted a backhand. Ad Janković. Ana opened up the court but hit a forehand just long.

Just when it looked like Ana would break back, she choked again, and my weekend is looking much less busy now. :-(

Janković has won seven games in a row.

Ana serving 0-2: Janković forehand long. 15/0. Ana hit a thunderbolt of a short-angled crosscourt backhand winner onto the sideline. Sam Smith: "To hit her way out of trouble is her instinctive reaction." 30/0. Janković forced a floater and dispatched it with a crosscourt forehand drive-volley winner. 30/15. Ana hit a vicious off-forehand winner onto the sideline, and pumped her fist. 40/15. Serve out wide + crosscourt backhand winner.

A brilliant game by Ana - clean winners all over the court - but she's still a break down.

Janković serving 2-1: Ana netted a cheap backhand and closed her eyes. 15/0. Ana blasted a backhand long. 30/0. Janković slapped a forehand into the net. 30/15. Ana backhand long. 40/15. Ana came to the net behind a backhand down the line, her backhand punch-volley looked aesthetically pretty, but Janković hit a crosscourt forehand pass-winner.

Sam Smith: "There's always been a feeling about Ivanović that she wants to win too much. There aren't too many decisions for her in this match - she just has to find the form she had before. For me, she's looking for shortcuts out here."

Ana serving 1-3: She opened up the court and hit an off-forehand winner into the corner. 15/0. Janković completely wrong-footed Ana with a forehand virtual winner back down the line. 15/15. Serve out wide + off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. 30/15. Janković took the initiative, came to the net and forced Ana to hit a defensive one-handed backhand long. 30/30. Big serve + off-forehand winner. 40/30. A crowd-gasping rally ended with Ana at the net, hitting a backhand drive-volley winner down the line.

Janković serving 3-2: Janković forehand long. 0/15. Ana came to the net and hit an error-forcing forehand volley - "really cut across the ball there" [Sam Smith]. 0/30. Janković came to the net, but Ana hit a beautiful forehand pass-winner down the line - back behind Janković. 0/40. Janković forehand long - the umpire checked the mark and confirmed the call, much to Janković's dismay.

Yay: Ana breaks back! Perhaps I won't now be stuck with a boring Safina v Janković final. Ana deserves to reach the final and become #1 so much more. She's so much more talented, and prettier, than Janković.

Ana serving 3-3: Ana came to the net, but her approach was too weak, and Janković hit a forehand pass-winner down the line. 0/15. Serve + backhand winner down the line: just inside the baseline. 15/15. Ana took the initiative, forced a short ball, but netted an agonising forehand. 15/30. Ana came to the net behind a big first serve down the middle, but hit a forehand just long 15/40. Ana forehand down the line + brilliant crosscourt forehand winner. Sam Smith: "At times like these, you have to trust your best shot." 30/40. Double fault #5 (second serve into the net).

Janković serving 4-3: Ana forced Janković to net a forehand. 0/15. Ana opened up the court and hit a pinpoint forehand winner down the line: on the sideline. "Ajde". 0/30. Janković came to the net, but looked stranded as Ivanović hit a piercing backhand pass-winner down the line. 0/40. Janković played aggressively, came forward, and forced Ana to hit a backhand lob long. 15/40. Forehand return long. 30/40. Ana hit an off-forehand just wide, it seemed to me, but apparently it was a winner!

Ana serving 4-4: Ace. 15/0. Janković forehand lob long. 30/0. Service-winner out wide. Janković complained to the umpire about the lack of a call. Then she stalled Ana as she was about to serve by laying her racket on the court and standing on it. 40/0. Ana forehand wide. 40/15. Janković's forehand clipped the netcord and dropped dead on Ana's side for a winner. 40/30. Serve out wide + crosscourt forehand drive-volley winner.

Not even that combination of gamesmanship and luck could save Janković there, and now Ana is just four points from victory.

Sam Smith: "Goodness knows what she'll be like in a couple of years. There's just an ocean of talent."

Janković serving 4-5: Ana cracked an amazing crosscourt forehand return-winner just inside the sideline, and shouted "ajde". 0/15. Janković took the initiative and came to the net, and let Ana's backhand lob float long. 15/15. Service-winner out wide. 30/15. Janković paid the price for a short, weak crosscourt forehand: Ana hit a forehand down the line + backhand dropshot-winner. 30/30. With Ana's grunt rising in pitch with every stroke, she hit an off-forehand winner. 40/30 (MP #1). Ana sealed victory with a crosscourt forehand winner!! Ana won 6-4 3-6 6-4 at 18:13 (third set 44m, match 2h16m), and celebrated with her by-now-familiar squeal.

Barry Davies: "She took her courage in her hands, went for it, and won it."

I am delighted with this victory. I thought Ana had blown it by twice going a break down in that third set, but it's so right that she did it.

But will I induct Ana into my Eternal Fanship? The answer is a definite no, because it would entail a /vast/ amount of work to catch up on her career so far, and to keep up with her at that level of commitment if she keeps reaching Grand Slam finals, and I don't have the passion for that work, even though I did feel a great passion for her to win this match. But she's now my favourite player outside my Eternal Fanship - ahead of Tatiana Golovin and Maria Kirilenko, who had pretty much occupied that 'gatekeper' position since 2004. Ana is now my 12th-favourite tennis-player of all time, because I prefer her to everyone else I haven't inducted into my Eternal Fanship.


2.3 Ana's on-court interview
----------------------------

NELSON MONTFORT: This is the kind of battle that makes everybody enjoy tennis, so?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yeah, it was tough match. Er, it was lots of up and downs, I think, from both of us, so, score-wise, but, you know, I was just so happy to manage to stay strong at the end and win the match - it was very tough one.

NELSON MONTFORT: You were up, if we remember, one set and 3-1 - and then what happened?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: She just start playing really good tennis, and er, maybe I started to be too passive and not step in as much as I did before, but, you know, she's a very good player, so if you give her a chance, of course she's gonna use them.

NELSON MONTFORT: That means that you're not gonna give any chances in the final to Dinara, because you're in this tournament to win it, of course.

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Of course. I'm sure she is too. And she has a great run, so it's gonna be a tough match, but I'm very excited about it, and, you know, I just want now to have time to recover and relax. I have a day off, which is great, and er, hopefully perform well again.

NELSON MONTFORT: Merci.


2.4 Ana's press-conference
--------------------------

Q. First of all, how does it feel to be the new world No.1? And secondly, are we now in for a period of dominance with you as No.1? Are you ready to dominate the sport?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: First of all, I'm very, very thrilled. I didn't know going on to court today. Afterwards, in the locker-room, the woman told me. I was obviously very excited.

But still, on the other hand, the tournament hasn't ended, and the rankings are coming after the tournament. So, yeah, that's the first thing.

I just want - I have another tough match against Dinara, so that's all I want to focus on for today, or I mean for Saturday.


Q. How did you feel at a break down midway through the third? And what did you do to come up with all those winners and win it?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yeah, I think all the match was lots of ups and downs, lots of breaks. I mean, third set, I just had to put everything on the line being down 4-3 with the break. You know, I had to go for my shots, because it was very long, the match, and a lot of long rallies.

So, you know, I had feeling I had to step up a little bit more and, yeah, take a risk. I came up with some good shots, and obviously I felt, yeah, very, very good about it, and happy.

That last game was huge, and I stepped up and played some good tennis.


Q. It seems like you were fighting against yourself the end of the second set, beginning of the third set. Really couldn't find what you wanted to do.

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yeah, exactly. It was a little bit anxious built up, because, you know, I had my chances in the second set and didn't use them. She started playing really well, and I was too passive at times.

I tried to step up a little bit more and then make some unforced errors, so I really had to work hard on, you know, to go back to basics and what I have to do. Yeah, just don't think about opportunities I had. I found it hard at the time, but, you know, towards the end of the set I managed to calm down and step up, and important points, you know, take my chance and play good.


Q. I was wondering, do you know if Sven is allowed to cheer for you in the final? Because he works for adidas, obviously, and Dinara also wears adidas-clothes.

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yeah, well, unfortunately he can't be in the box, so he's going to sit somewhere and watch it. Yeah, he can't really cheer for any of us, so it's going to be - going to be a little bit different and strange for me again, like last year in final.

But, you know, I have a great, great team with me here, and my fitness-coach is there, my sparring-partner, so I'm sure I'm still going to have still a good support here.


Q. You show a lot of emotion whether you win or lose the point. How much do you think that can help your opponent try to get back into the match?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yeah, today the match was really emotional. I tried to get into it, by, you know, saying few commands in the beginning, especially - I was 3/Love down and I didn't play so good, so I tried to bring myself back into the game.

So, yeah, I was it was a way to relieve kind of pressure, emotions I was feeling, and it worked well for me today. So, yeah, I didn't think about it. It just came natural.


Q. You have 2 to 1 win against Dinara. Does this give you more confidence in your next final-match?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Obviously, yes. Yeah, it's going to be a tough match. She's done a great run, and she played a lot of matches. Two matches she came from match-points down to win. She's showing some great strengths, so it's going to be another tough match.

But I still want to enjoy my victory today. I have a day to prepare tomorrow, so we're going to see.


Q. After what happened last year in the final, will you do anything different this year to make sure you don't have nerves?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yeah, definitely. The other day someone asked me, "Are you going to forget the final and play different one?" But I don't want to forget it, because it was great learning-experience. I learned a lot from, you know, Justine and the emotions I was feeling going on the court.

So I really hope I can, you know, work hard on it and play different this year. Obviously I feel like a different player coming into this French Open. A lot of experience I gain from that final and the final in Australia, so I really hope I can, you know, step up this time and make one more step.


Q. You traded a lot of breaks with Jelena. Do you have an explanation why it was so difficult for you to hold serve?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yeah, it just happened. I think we - I think personally I struggled with my first-serve percentage. It was very low, and that's something that I really hoped it would be different today, because it was important - yeah, important for a game, for my game today.

At the other hand, you know, her serve I stride [tried?] to step up a little bit more and, yeah, put her under pressure straightaway, so it worked well. But at times, I think my percentage of the first serves was very low.


Q. You lost seven games in a row precisely because of not holding serve. How did you feel in that moment, and how did you make it to come back in such a circumstance?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yeah, you know, I didn't think about that, because even that seven games I lost, it was very close. Like, lot of games with deuce and ad, and it could go either way. You don't have feeling, you know, you're just losing game after game.

Then you're like, "Okay, hold on. Maybe take a little bit more time and try to put more first serves in, you know, even if it's not as the first serve, just like a second, and to place it and to start point."

So I tried to work hard for each point. And, yeah, when I managed to, I think hold my serve and it came back to 2-1, it was important game.


Q. Seems like every match you play against her, it's very tough, and at the end, you take risks, you believe in yourself, and she doesn't. Match-point, good example. She hits the soft serve and seems afraid, and then you smack the forehand down the line. Do you find that?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yeah, today I felt, especially in the second set when I had some break-point chances, I started to be too defensive and not stepping up and, yeah, being dominant. That's something when I face match-point, I say, "Look, you just have to step up, because that's the way to play against her."

So, yeah, obviously I had a great tournament and great preparation, so that gives me confidence in these key moments to believe and to step up. She's a player that if you give her chances, she can use them. She loves to defend and to run, so you just have to take these kind of risks and believe. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't.


Q. Just about the No.1: I'm guessing it will be a lot sweeter on Monday when the rankings come out if you have the Roland Garros title and was No.1?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yeah, definitely. Coming into this tournament, you know, I didn't expect that. I just came, you know, to play each match. Obviously, every tournament you play, you want to win, so that still hasn't changed. That's still my goal. I have to work hard for it, because Dinara, like I said, she's in great form, great shape, and she's a big fighter, like we could see.

So I think it's going to be a really good match, and I just want to go out there and enjoy it, yeah.


Q. Perhaps somebody asked you this before, but how they will in Serbia take this such big thing that you are the first man or woman to be No.1 in the world? How they will welcome you when you will be back home?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: I haven't thought about it at all. Like I said, I didn't like to talk about, you know, the rankings at all with my team, so I didn't even know that this would happen.

So, you know, it's a new thing for me, too, so I really don't know. I haven't spoke with anyone back home yet. But I'm sure, you know, they're going to be really supportive. And, you know, maybe even like last year, they're going to organise something in front of the square.

It's definitely a great, great feeling, so I hope I going to make Serbia proud.


Q. There's a lot of time between now and the final on Saturday. How did you prepare last year, and how will you prepare this year? Will you change something?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: No, I think it's most important, you know, to just have an easier day tomorrow, get a little bit light hit and rhythm, and then have a good night of sleep.

Obviously, sometimes it's hard with all the emotions to go to sleep, but that's, you know, something you face.

But today, I think it's most important to recover from this match. It was long match, a lot of long rallies, so my fitness-coach is doing a great job with that, also. Yeah, like I said, just take it easy, and like I've been doing through whole two weeks, exactly the same approach.


2.5 Articles
------------

Ivanović on top of the world
By Drew Lilley (www.rolandgarros.com)
>>>
In a titanic battle that ebbed and flowed for over two hours, Ana Ivanović outlasted Jelena Janković to ensure Serbian bragging-rights and become next Monday's world No.1. More importantly, the 6-4 3-6 6-4 win booked her a place in the women's final to face No.13 seed Dinara Safina.

This was always going to be an intriguing tie and, with all due respect to surprise-package Safina, one worthy of being a final. Ana Ivanović was in her fifth semi-final of 2008 and her fourth semi in the last five Grand Slams (a quarter-final elimination at the 2007 US Open being the exception). Jelena Janković meanwhile was looking to reach her first-ever Slam final, and also go some way to improving her poor record against her fellow Serb, having only beaten the Basle-resident once in six tries: in Los Angeles in 2006.

In an ironic twist of fate, the two players were also forced to play the opposite game to what they usually prefer. Ivanović is an out-an-out attacker who likes to hit big and hit early, while Janković is a clay-courter who favours longer rallies and letting her opponents make the running. With the Belgrade-native suffering from a strained forearm, however, she was always going to be more inclined to look for winners, with Ivanović being more patient and hoping that her older opponent would feel the strain physically.

Thus it was that Janković raced into a three-love lead in the opening set, coming to the net and taking brave volleys in an attempt to keep it short and sweet. The ladies shared a pair of breaks before the No.3 seed's service began to falter and Ivanović pounced. Laying down a deft dropshot, she brought her opponent into the net before lining an inch-perfect backhand passing-shot and breaking back to 3-4. The remainder of the set was virtual one-way traffic as Ana held to love, broke as Jelena double-faulted, and served out to take a one-love lead.

The second set was another see-saw affair, with Ivanović originally carrying the impetus over from the opener and carving out a 3-1 lead on the back of some great crosscourt passing-shots. Janković was also looking less assured and no longer willing to come into the net, but she was handed a reprieve when all of a sudden, Ivanović's service began to let her down. Janković needed no second bidding and stepped up her game, passing her increasingly flustered opponent almost at will. From a set and 1-3 down, suddenly Jelena was level at one set all, and she did not stop there, breaking and holding to open the decider.

With a two-game deficit to overcome, Ana finally found her feet again, and at least put an end to the seven-game run that Jelena had strung together, but the battler from Belgrade began to stride into the net again and take volleys rather than half-volleys, as she had done to great effect in the opener, holding serve to lead 3-1. Two breaks were then shared as nerves began to creep in, but with Janković serving at 4-3 and a mere eight points from glory, it was as if Ana sensed that the moment had come to step up and seize her destiny. The 20-year-old six-footer carved out a 0/40 lead with some bold strokes, and needed all three break-points, converting the last one and swinging the match definitively in her favour.

Janković served to save the match at 4-5, but by then there was no stopping her younger opponent. A feathered dropshot, an inside-out forehand and a booming return on a second serve clinched the match, to the delight of the Chatrier-crowd.

"She just started playing really good tennis, and I maybe started to be too static and not stepping up like I should," said Ivanović, explaining how Janković turned the tide and forced a decider. "I can't let Dinara do this in the final. I'm glad I've got a day off now to prepare for Saturday," she concluded. A day off during which she will be able to reflect on her new status as the pinnacle of the women's game. For Janković, however, despite ups and downs, Justine Henin's retirement and the early eliminations of the Williams-sisters and Maria Sharapova, she remains stuck in third spot. Her first Grand Slam final is a long time coming...
<<<

Ivanović beats Janković to reach final (Reuters)
Writing by Simon Cambers, editing by Justin Palmer
>>>
Serbia's Ana Ivanović staved off a stirring fightback by compatriot Jelena Janković to reach the French Open final with a 6-4 3-6 6-4 victory on Thursday and clinch the world number-one ranking.

The second seed - the runner-up last year - led by a set and 3-1, only for Janković to level and go ahead 3-1 in the decider herself, before Ivanović recovered again to set up a final against Russian 13th seed Dinara Safina.

"It was a very tough match - there were lots of ups and downs," a relieved Ivanović said. "I was just so happy to stay strong in the end and win the match, but it was a very tough one.

"[From 3-1 in the second set], I think she just started playing really good tennis.

"Maybe I started to be a bit too passive, but she's a very good player, and if you give her chances, she is going to take them."

Janković had been struggling with right-arm and right-shoulder injuries throughout the tournament, but she came out firing as she raced to a 3-0 lead.

Ivanović, who won just three games in the 2007 final against Justine Henin, looked in trouble again on the big stage, but she bounced back superbly, taking the attack to Janković to snatch the set and then lead 3-1 in the second.

The second seed had a break-point for a 4-1 lead, but Janković saved it, and suddenly the match changed.

As Ivanović tightened up, Janković won seven straight games to lead 2-0 in the decider, and though Ivanović broke back, Janković moved ahead again with another break at 4-3.

But Ivanović - the runner-up at the Australian Open in January - pulled herself together to clinch a victory that ensures she will overtake Russian Maria Sharapova at the top of the rankings when they are updated on Monday.

Ivanović said she expected a difficult final against Safina, who followed up her wins over Sharapova and Elena Dementieva with a straight-sets drubbing of a third Russian - Svetlana Kuznetsova - in the semi-finals on Thursday.

"She has had a great run, and it's going to be a very tough match," Ivanović said. "But I have a day off now, so I just want to recover and hopefully perform well again."
<<<

Ivanović is top Serb as she reaches French Open tennis-final (AFP)
>>>
Second seed Ana Ivanović won the battle of the Serbs in a thrilling French Open semi-final on Thursday, and will play Russia's Dinara Safina for the title on Saturday.

The 20-year-old Ivanović defeated 23-year-old Jelena Janković 6-4 3-6 6-4 to reach the final at Roland Garros for the second straight year, having lost to Justine Henin in last year's final.

She also reached the Australian Open final in January, but lost to Maria Sharapova.

For third-seeded Janković, it was the fourth time she had played in a Grand Slam semi-final, and the fourth time she had failed to make it through.

The 13th-seeded Safina had earlier defeated compatriot and fourth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3 6-2 in the first of the semi-finals.

"It was a tough match, and I managed to stay strong at the end to win it," said Ivanović.

"She started to play really good tennis and I was too passive, and if you give her a chance, of course she is going to use it."

Janković, again wearing an arm-brace to ward off the pain she has been feeling from tendonitis, opened the stronger and broke serve to 15 in the second game to take a 3-0 lead.

She threatened to make it 4-0, but Ivanović held on, visibly growing in confidence after winning the game at the end of a long, punishing rally.

She broke back in the following game, only to drop her own serve in the next as Janković got to 4-2.

But the younger woman's heavier groundstrokes started to make the difference as she won the next four games to take the set 6-4 in 41 minutes.

Janković dropped her serve for the fourth straight time to open the second set, allowing Ivanović to jump out into a 2:0 lead.

In stark contrast to the first few games, Ivanović was looking comfortable on her serve, while it was a struggle each time for her opponent on hers.

But all that changed in the sixth game of the set, when Ivanović inexplicably let slip a 40/0 lead to allow Janković to draw level at 3-3.

She was broken again two games later, and Janković served out to level the scores, although she needed four set-points to do so.

Ivanović had nervily lost her way, and against one of the grittiest players on the women's circuit, that was a fatal mistake.

Janković won the first two games of the deciding set to make it seven games in a row, but Ivanović stopped the rot and got back on level terms at 3-3 by breaking to love in the sixth game.

Another exchange of service-breaks took it to 4-4, and two games later, Ivanović played her best game of the semi-final, opening up with her groundstrokes to clinch the win.

There was the added bonus for Ivanović in that her win, coupled with the defeat of Kuznetsova, means that she will take over from Maria Sharapova as world No.1 at the end of this tournament - win or lose in the final.

She has played Safina three times and won twice, but the Russian won the only time they have played on clay: in Berlin three years ago.
<<<

Despondent Janković takes defeat hard (Reuters)
By Simon Cambers (editing by Justin Palmer)
>>>
A dejected Jelena Janković exited the French Open at the semi-final stage on Thursday, promising to "k*** herself", "get d****" or do "anything that makes me feel better".

The third seed was beaten 6-4 3-6 6-4 by fellow Serbian Ana Ivanović in a topsy-turvy semi-final, having rallied from a set and 1-3 down to lead 3-1 in the deciding set.

Missing out on a first Grand-Slam final and the knowledge that had she won, she would have become the new world number-one when the rankings are updated on Monday, was too much for the 23-year-old.

Janković admitted that she was crying so hard afterwards that she did not want to talk about the match with the assembled media.

Asked what she would do to get over the defeat, she responded: "K*** myself?"

"No, I will have some dinner and maybe get d**** or do something. I don't know. Whatever makes me feel better."

Having lost all three of her previous Grand-Slam semi-finals, Janković twice led by a break of serve in the final set, only for last year's runner-up Ivanović to hit back and clinch victory.

"I am very disappointed, but I still cannot go and k*** myself and put myself down," she said.

"The year is still long. There are still two more Grand Slams, many big tournaments to play. I still have to work hard and believe in myself, and I will achieve my goal."

Janković said she had given her all after a fortnight in which she had struggled with right-arm and shoulder-problems.

"I tried my best," she said. "I'm very disappointed that I lost this match. I didn't go to the final. I lost the number-one spot. This match was very important.

"Sometimes you cannot control the injuries, and especially with my arm. I had problems hitting the ball as hard as I could, and she was the more powerful one.

"I need to work on that, get healthy, and then it will be better for me. I have to keep believing in myself, and I have to work hard, and believe that my time will come."
<<<

All-or-nothing attitude key to win, says Ivanović (Reuters)
By Simon Cambers (editing by Justin Palmer)
>>>
Ana Ivanović said her win-or-bust attitude saw her through to the final of the French Open on Thursday and secured her the world number-one ranking for the first time.

Having squandered a set and 3-1 lead to fall 1-3 down in the deciding set against fellow Serbian Jelena Janković, she stormed back to win 6-4 3-6 6-4 thanks to a series of winners, putting her into the final against Russian Dinara Safina.

"Today I felt, especially in the second set when I had some break-point chances, I started to be too defensive and not stepping up and being dominant," Ivanović said.

"Obviously I had a great tournament and great preparation, so that gives me confidence in these key moments to believe and to step up.

"She's a player that if you give her chances, she can use them. She loves to defend and to run, so you just have to take these kind of risks and believe. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't."

Ivanović was typically emotional in the semi-final, pumping her fist in delight at her winners, and looking up to her support-group in the stands after every mistake.

There were plenty of mistakes in the second set as Janković levelled the match and then moved ahead 3-1 in the decider, but Ivanović pulled herself together in the nick of time before roaring back for victory.

"There was a little bit of anxiety built up, because I had my chances in the second set and didn't use them," she said.

"She started playing really well, and I was too passive at times. I tried to step up a little bit more and then made some unforced errors, so I had to go back to basics.

"I found it hard at the time, but towards the end of the set, I managed to calm down and step up."

Ivanović will replace Maria Sharapova at the top of the world-rankings when the new list is issued on Monday, but the Serbian said she had not been aware, before starting her semi-final, that victory would take her to the top.

"I'm very, very thrilled," she said. "I didn't know going on to court today. Afterwards, in the locker-room, the woman told me. I was obviously very excited.

"But still, on the other hand, the tournament hasn't ended and the rankings are coming after the tournament. Obviously every tournament you play you want to win, so that still hasn't changed."
<<<

^I can't believe Ana didn't know that they were playing for the #1 ranking!


Ivanović hangs tough to set up Safina date (Reuters)
By Pritha Sarkar (editing by Clare Lovell)
>>>
For once, Dinara Safina chose not to use up one of her 'many lives' on Thursday, and swept into a French Open final against the new queen of women's tennis.

Ana Ivanović produced a scrappy, brittle and erratic performance, but that did not stop her from ascending to the top of the women's rankings following a 6-4 3-6 6-4 win over fellow Serb Jelena Janković.

Ivanović may have fulfilled one of her childhood-dreams by ending Maria Sharapova's reign as world number-one, but she will be aware that top spot will count for little if she fails to win the claycourt-crown at Roland Garros on Saturday.

"It was a tough match; there were lots of ups and down. I was just so happy to stay strong in the end and win the match, but it was a very tough one," said Ivanović: a finalist here 12 months ago, and at the Australian Open in January.

Asked what her plans would be for the night after she blew a 3-1 lead in the final set, Janković joked: "K*** myself?"

While Janković tried to comprehend another semi-final flop at a Major, Ivanović will be hoping it will be third time lucky.

To win the title, Ivanović will have to break the indomitable spirit of Safina, who reached her first Grand Slam final by overpowering fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3 6-2.

The younger sister of Marat Safin had staged two successive great escapes, coming from a set and match-points down to beat Sharapova and seventh seed Elena Dementieva, to reach the semis.

It led to fourth seed Kuznetsova declaring: "She has too many lives, so I have to be careful with her."

But the 2004 US Open champion failed to heed her own words, and became the third top-ten seed to fall under Safina's spell.

<snip>

Ivanović had shimmied into the last four, dropping only 20 games en route. But her contest against Janković, in which the number-one ranking was also on the line, was plain ugly.

Both players had honed their skills in a drained swimming-pool back home in Belgrade, but they might as well have been playing in a pool of water as they struggled to stay afloat.

Error after error was followed by break-point after break-point. With neither being able to assert her authority, both became tetchy, and tested the umpire's patience by dragging him down from his chair time and again to inspect the mark on the close line-calls.

In the end, the statistics told their own story. With at least 30 break-points in the match and 13 of them being converted, the first all-Serb Grand Slam semi-final will not be remembered as a classic.
<<<

^A harsh assessment. I think it was a fantastic match.


Ivanović, Safina reach French Open final (PA SportsTicker)
>>>
Ana Ivanović is a win away from capping the most memorable tournament of her career.

The second-seeded Serbian advanced to the French Open final on Thursday with a 6-4 3-6 6-4 victory over countrywoman and third seed Jelena Janković.

With the win, Ivanović is certain to overtake Maria Sharapova as the world No.1 when the new rankings are released on Monday. The 20-year-old, who will hold the top spot for the first time in her budding career, also happens to be in position to secure her first Grand Slam title.

"I'm thrilled," Ivanović said. "I didn't know at all (about the rankings-scenario) going onto the court today, and a woman in locker-room told me afterward, so I was obviously very excited.

"But the tournament has not ended, and the rankings are coming after the tournament. I have another tough match ahead, so that's all I want to focus on."

The runner-up to former No.1 and recently-retired Justine Henin here last year, Ivanović will face Russian upstart Dinara Safina in Saturday's final.

The 13th-seeded Safina completed an improbable run to the championship-match earlier on Thursday with a 6-3 6-2 victory over fourth-seeded countrywoman Svetlana Kuznetsova.

It's been an amazing week for the 22-year-old Safina, who had advanced to the semi-finals of this claycourt Major with consecutive upsets of the top-seeded Sharapova and No.7 Elena Dementieva.

In both of those three-set victories, she was down 2-5 in the second set and survived a match-point, before pushing her way back into the match.

"Being a point away from losing two times already, I was thinking, 'God kept me in this tournament,'" said Safina, who is enjoying the best stretch of her career.

En route to her lone title of the year in Berlin last month, Safina defeated Henin - who retired following the loss - current No.5 Serena Williams and Dementieva.

Kuznetsova was one of three players remaining with a opportunity to grab the top spot from Sharapova. Her defeat, however, guaranteed that the honour would go to the winner of the all-Serbian semi-final at Roland Garros.

In addition to missing out on the No.1 ranking, Janković also was denied her first Grand Slam championship-match appearance, as she fell to 0:4 in Major semi-finals.

The 23-year-old led 4-2 early on, before Ivanović found her form and won seven of the next eight games to close out the first set and forge a 3-1 edge in the second.

The momentum, however, emphatically shifted in favour of Janković, who reeled off seven straight games to even the match at a set apiece and take a 2-0 edge in the decisive third set.

Ivanović fell behind 1-3 in the third, and the hole nearly got deeper in the fifth game, when she had to scramble to hold serve after facing another break. Neither player held serve over the next three service-games, knotting things at 4-4.

"The whole match was lots of up and downs, lots of breaks," said Ivanović, who won seven of the 18 break-points she forced. "I just knew I had to put everything on the line being down 3-4 and a break. I felt I had to take risks, and I came came up with some good shots."

After holding to go up 5-4, Ivanović secured the win on her first set point, ripping a forehand winner off a second serve from Janković. It was Ivanović's fifth straight win over Janković, who fell to 1:6 in their all-time series.

"I was trying my best - the match could have gone either way," said Janković, who converted six of 12 break-points. "I had the lead in the third and just let it slip away.

"I'm very disappointed that I lost this match. I didn't go to the final, and I lost chance to become No.1. This match was very important. But I'll keep working hard, and my time will come."
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Ivanović dislodges Sharapova to secure top ranking (Reuters)
By Pritha Sarkar (editing by Justin Palmer)
>>>
Ana Ivanović will become the first player representing Serbia to be ranked world number-one when the new WTA rankings are released on Monday. [Second - Monica Seles was the first.]

The 20-year-old Serb dislodged Russia's Maria Sharapova from the top when she defeated compatriot Jelena Janković to reach the final of the French Open on Thursday.

"Being number one is a dream come true for me," said Ivanović, who will face Russian Dinara Safina in the Roland Garros showpiece on Saturday.

"It was a big surprise, because I was so focused on the tournament. This is a great achievement and something that I'm very proud of. It hasn't exactly hit me yet, because it won't be official until Monday. I'm sure we'll have a big celebration then."

Ivanović had been in a four-way race with Janković and Russians Sharapova and Svetlana Kuznetsova to secure the top spot at the end of the claycourt Grand Slam.

But the defeats of her three main rivals before Saturday's final means Ivanović clinched the ranking early.

Sharapova's latest stint at the top spot will have lasted for only three weeks, as she took over as world number-one after Justine Henin requested to be removed from the standings following her retirement last month.

The Serbian is the 17th player to claim the top spot since its inception in the mid 1970s.

"We have all witnessed the dramatic rise in Serbian tennis during the last few years, and on Monday that will reach a new pinnacle when Ana Ivanović is recognised as the WTA Tour's new number-one player," WTA Tour chief Larry Scott said in a statement.

"Ana is both a remarkable player and person, and no doubt the best is still yet to come in her still-young career. It is inspiring to see Ana's years of hard work and determination being rewarded."

Ivanović has enjoyed a remarkable 12 months, which includes reaching two French Open finals and a runner-up finish at the Australian Open in January.
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Ivanović beats Janković; faces Safina in French Open final
By Howard Fendrich: AP Tennis Writer
>>>
If official statistics were tallied for fist-pumps and self-exhortations during Grand Slam matches, Ana Ivanović might well have established a record while winning her French Open semi-final.

Perhaps Ivanović did not raise a clenched hand and let out a yelp after each of the 96 points she earned. It sure did seem that way to the woman she beat 6-4 3-6 6-4 on Thursday: Jelena Janković, who mocked the gesture at least twice, drawing guffaws from fans.

There was plenty at stake, and nerves clearly were raw.

The winner was assured of replacing Maria Sharapova at No.1 in the rankings, in addition to earning a berth in Saturday's championship-match against 13th-seeded Dinara Safina. The younger sister of two-time Major-champion Marat Safin followed up her twin escape-from-match-point-down, three-set upsets of Sharapova and No.7 Elena Dementieva with a straightforward 6-3 6-2 victory over No.4 Svetlana Kuznetsova to reach her first Grand Slam final.

"I won in two sets," Safina said with a smile. "That's strange for me."

The No.2-seeded Ivanović and No.3 Janković produced a seesaw struggle filled with stretches of alternately brilliant and bad play by two women who are both from Serbia but hardly best friends.

"The match was really emotional," said Ivanović: twice a finalist at Majors but never a champion.

Janković led 3-0 at the start. Ivanović, though, won 16 of 18 points to end the first set, part of a six-game spurt. Then Janković used a seven-game run to claim the second set and a 2-0 lead in the third. And, rising to the occasion, Ivanović took the final three games.

"I let it slip away," acknowledged the 23-year-old Janković, who was asked what she would do on Thursday night and replied: "I will have some dinner and maybe get d****."

As for all of her fist-pumps and shouts, Ivanović explained: "It was a way to relieve pressure, emotions I was feeling, and it worked well for me today. I didn't think about it. It just came natural."

Twice in the second set, Janković turned her back to Ivanović and mimicked her uppercuts.

"For me, it's really funny the way she does that, and there's nothing wrong with that. I mean, each of us, we have our own way to, how to say, pump ourselves up. The way she does — I just imitated it," said Janković, now 0:4 in Grand Slam semi-finals.

"I saw her doing that, so that's why I did it," Janković said. "The crowd enjoyed it, for some reason."

Janković was limited by a right forearm-injury that bothered her so much earlier in the tournament that she flew home to Belgrade to visit her doctor. She began the semi-final with a bandage wrapped around the arm, but took it off while trailing in the second set.

"I had problems hitting the ball as hard as I could," Janković said, "and she was the more powerful one."

Ivanović finished with a 50:16 edge in winners, but that doesn't indicate just how many terrific baseline-exchanges there were, filled with well-angled shots and on-the-run retrieving. On points that lasted at least 10 strokes, Ivanović won 20 and Janković won 19.

"She loves to defend and to run, so you just have to take these kind of risks — and believe," Ivanović said. "Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't."

At the very end, it worked. After double-faulting to hand Janković a 4-3 lead in the final set, Ivanović turned things around by hitting a forehand winner followed by a backhand passing winner for break-points. She converted with a forehand right on a line to get to 4-4.

Ivanović held to 5-4, then used her best shot — her forehand — to great effect. Her four points in the last game were earned with a forehand return, a dropshot, an inside-out forehand, and a forehand return.

"She kind of woke up," said Ivanović's coach: Sven Groeneveld.

Each time Ivanović won a point, Groeneveld was celebrating right along with her, rising from his seat in the players' guest-box to applaud loudly and shout encouragement. He won't be back in that spot on Saturday: rather than working directly for Ivanović, he is employed by her apparel-sponsor — which she happens to share with Safina.

It was the same situation a year ago, when Ivanović made her Grand Slam final début at the French Open and managed to win only three games against the now-retired Justine Henin: another player linked to that sponsor.

Ivanović was only slightly better in the Australian Open final in January, when she won eight games in a straight-set loss to Sharapova.

"I really hope I can step up this time," Ivanović said.
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Ivanović hopes to build on past-experience
By Jamie Strickland: PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
>>>
Ana Ivanović vowed to learn from her French Open heartbreak of 12 months ago after booking a place in the Roland Garros final for the second straight year.

The second seed prevailed in an all-Serbian semi-final clash against Jelena Janković on Thursday - her 6-4 3-6 6-4, victory on Philippe Chatrier Court set up a meeting with Dinara Safina in Saturday's final.

The 20-year-old is seeking her maiden Grand Slam title after failing at the last hurdle twice previously - the second time at this year's Australian Open.

Ivanović insists her listless 6-1 6-2 defeat to former No.1 Justine Henin in the 2007 final has given her a wealth of experience from which to draw.

"The other day, someone asked me, 'Are you going to forget the [2007] final and play a different one?'" Ivanović said. "But I don't want to forget it, because it was a great learning-experience.

"I learned a lot from Justine and the emotions I was feeling going on the court. So I really hope I can work hard on it and play different this year. Obviously, I feel a different player coming into this French Open. I gained a lot of experience from that final, and the final in Australia, so I really hope I can step up this time, and make one more step."

Ivanović's victory over the third-seeded Janković means she is guaranteed to be the new women's world No.1 - replacing Maria Sharapova - when the updated WTA rankings are released on Monday.

"Being No.1 is a dream come true for me," said Ivanović, who will become the 17th player to reach the top spot in WTA history, and the first from Serbia [second - Monica Seles was the first]. "It was a big surprise, because I was so focused on the tournament.

"This is a great achievement and something that I'm very proud of. It hasn't exactly hit me yet, because it won't be official until Monday. I'm sure we'll have a big celebration then."

Janković, who also stood to secure the top spot with a win on Thursday, was disappointed, but managed to keep her sense of humour when asked how she would deal with the loss.

"I will have some dinner and get d****," Janković said. "I don't know - what can make me feel better?"

With reigning Australian Open champion Novak Đoković set to face three-time defending champion Rafael Nadal in Friday's men's semi-final action, it's been another strong tournament for the Serbs.

"We have all witnessed the dramatic rise in Serbian tennis during the last few years, and on Monday, that will reach a new pinnacle when Ana Ivanović is recognised as the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour's new No.1 player," WTA CEO Larry Scott said. "It is inspiring to see Ana's years of hard work and determination being rewarded."
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Ivanović reaches final and takes top spot
Seán Fay (Eurosport)
>>>
Ana Ivanović will be the world number-one on Monday after beating fellow Serbian Jelena Janković 6-4 3-6 6-4 in the semi-finals of the French Open at Roland Garros.

After Dinara Safina had beaten Svetlana Kuznetsova in the first semi-final, it meant that the winner of the all-Serbian clash would be guaranteed to top the rankings after the tournament.

Ivanović just edged out her countrywoman though in a back-and-forth contest that really could have gone either way.

Both players produced spells of wonderful tennis, but rarely at the same time, which led to periods of domination from either player at different times during the match.

It was Janković who started strongest as she raced out to early 3-0 and 4-1 leads, but then Ivanović edged a spell of three breaks in a row to level matters 4-4.

That was the beginning of a superb run from the younger player as she rattled off six straight games to go a set and 2-0 in front.

During that spell, Ivanović was dazzlingly powerful as she crushed winner after winner with a high-risk strategy that was highly profitable.

However, some of those shots then started to go astray, and the more limited - yet defensively brilliant - Janković was able to take full advantage.

She came back from 1-3 down to enjoy her own spell of dominance as she won seven games in a row to take the second set and then go a break up in the decider.

Again, though, in a mirror of the first set, there was another spell of three breaks on the trot that Ivanović got the better of, as things started to click for her at just the right time once again.

She held serve at 4-4 to move to within a game of victory, and then saved the best for last, as she produced four cracking winners to break to 30 in the final game.

It all means that Ivanović will get to compete in her second consecutive French Open final, but while last year she was crushed by the irresistible play of Justine Henin, this time she will go in as favourite against final-rookie Safina.
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Safina, Ivanović reach French Open final (AP)
>>>
Dinara Safina needs only one more win to join her older brother as a Grand Slam champion, and she'll try for it on Saturday against Ana Ivanović in the French Open final.

Dispensing with the come-from-behind drama of her previous two matches, Safina advanced on Thursday by beating fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3 6-2.

Ivanović won a seesaw semi-final against fellow Serb Jelena Janković: 6-4 3-6 6-4. Ivanović swept the final three games for a victory that ensures she'll be ranked No.1 for the first time next week, replacing Maria Sharapova.

Safina's berth in a Major-final is her first. Her brother Marat Safin is a former No.1 player who won the 2000 US Open and 2005 Australian Open.

"I'm doing it for him and for myself," she said.

Safina will try to become the first woman to win a Grand Slam title after saving match-point in two matches.

Seeded 13th, Safina was one point from defeat against Sharapova in the fourth round and No.7-seeded Elena Dementieva in the quarter-finals before mounting comebacks.

But against the error-prone Kuznetsova, Safina took a 4-1 lead and cruised the rest of the way.

"I won in two sets - that's strange for me," Safina said. "Once I had a set, then I knew I can push a little bit more. Then fire comes and you really like start to fly."

The match between the No.2-seeded Ivanović and No.3 Janković was a roller-coaster, with every set won by the player who fell behind at the start.

Ivanović swept six consecutive games to lead 2-0 in the second set, then began to struggle with her serve while Janković became more aggressive. Janković won seven consecutive games and led 2-0 in the final set before Ivanović mounted another comeback.

In the final game, she broke serve by whacking four winners, including a ferocious forehand return on match-point. She squealed and covered her face in delight, then received a hug from Janković.

"It was a lot of ups and downs for both of us," Ivanović said. "I'm just so happy I managed to stay until the end."

Like Safina, Ivanović is seeking her first Major-title. She was runner-up at the 2007 French Open and 2008 Australian Open.
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Peaking In Paris: Ivanović Powers To French Open Final And Top Spot
By Tennis Week
>>>
The soles of her shoes rapped against the red clay repeatedly, while her head remained still. Forced to play catch-up throughout the final set of this French Open semi-final, Ana Ivanović's eyes never wavered from the ball, while her feet seldom stopped moving.

Even when she was stationary, the second-seeded Serbian looked like a woman going places. And in the end, that forward thinking propelled Ivanović to her second straight French Open final and the top spot in the world rankings with a 6-4 3-6 6-4 victory over third-seeded Jelena Janković in an all-Serbian semi-final.

Ivanović advanced to Saturday's final, where she will play 13th-seeded Dinara Safina. The 22-year-old from Moscow crushed fourth-seeded compatriot Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3 6-2 to score her 12th straight victory in reaching her first career Major-final. Ivanović has won two of three meetings with Safina, but the Russian won their lone clay-court clash 6-1 6-4 in Berlin three years ago.

It marks the second Grand Slam final of the season for Ivanović, who lost to Maria Sharapova 7-5 6-3 in the Australian Open final in January.

Kuznetsova's loss meant the winner of the Ivanović-Janković semi would surpass Sharapova in the rankings and give Serbia its first World No.1 [second - Monica Seles was the first].

Playing determined defense, Janković raced around the court with all the urgency of the pace-setter in the Tour de France. She reeled off seven straight games to seize the second set and take a 2-0 lead in the third.

The two-time French Open semi-finalist stretched the lead to 3-1. Ivanović responded, winning eight of the next 10 points to level the set.

The game's premier defensive player applied her speed, agility and desire to impose pressure on Ivanović. Coaxing the bigger-hitter into her fifth double fault, Janković broke at 30 for a 4-3 lead.

Janković's pedestrian serve is the most vulnerable aspect of her game, and Ivanović pounced on it with her favoured forehand to earn triple-break point in the ensuing game. Though Janković saved two break-points, Ivanović cracked a crosscourt forehand winner punctuated by a heartfelt "Ajde!" to break for 4-4.

Over the final three games of the match, Ivanović pressed the issue in rallies, and was rewarded for taking greater risk. Driving another forehand winner that eluded Janković, she held at 30 for 5-4.

Janković, who had dropped serve in succession, stepped up to the line seeking to extend the match, but she could not stop Ivanović's run. A flurry of four forceful winners closed out the 44-minute final set and launched Ivanović into the final.
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The Evans Report: Ascendant Ana
By Richard Evans (Tennis Week)
>>>
There were two sets of Serbs in the player's area at Roland Garros after Ana Ivanović and Jelena Janković had completed a tremendous semi-final. And it was Ana's Serbs who were toasting each other.

And no wonder. Ivanović turned the third set of her thrilling 6-4 3-6 6-4 victory inside out, unclipping the safety catch on her Springfield rifle of a forehand, and riding to victory like Ana Get Your Gun.

Whatever happens when she meets Dinara Safina - a surprise winner over Svetlana Kuznetsova today - in the final on Saturday, this strikingly beautiful young woman will ascend to the heady heights of No.1 in the world. She is the first Serbian No.1 [second - Monica Seles was the first] but, amazingly, she is unlikely to be the last - in either the men's or women's game.

The match offered an appreciative crowd on Philippe Chatrier Centre Court a real roller-coaster of drama and emotion. Janković went 3-0 up in the first set, only to get broken and lose it. Then Ivanović went ahead in the second, but lost seven straight games as the ever-determined Jelena ran and chased and forced her into error.

When Janković still held control of the match at the start of the third, it seemed that the final, as well as the world No.1 ranking, was beckoning. But sweet Ana, who manages to look angelic in triumph or disaster, kept her head, as Kipling said we must, and crammed more than sixty seconds worth of distance-run into a final flourish that turned the match inside out and snatched everything out of Jelena's grasp.

And how did it look from Ana's side of the court?

"I think all the match was a lot of ups and down, a lot of breaks and I mean: in the third set, I just had to put everything on the line being 4-3 down with the break," she said. "I had to go for my shots because it was a very long match (two hours, 15 minutes) with a lot of long rallies. So I had the feeling I had to step up a bit more and, yeah, take a risk. I came up with some good shots, and the last game was huge. I stepped up and played some good tennis."

The eighth game provided the decisive turning-point. Ivanović scored with a great forehand winner up the line to send her on the way to 0/40 and, two points later, struck with a super off-forehand that hit the line. Off the back of that, Ivanović, now at 4-4, started the ninth game with an ace, and even a change of racket for Janković couldn't stem the final flurry of winners from her pumped up opponent. At 5-4, on Jelena's serve, Ana looked every inch a world No.1 as she drove a great forehand approach-shot deep to her opponent's baseline, and came in to finish the point with the sweetest of dropshots. Another forehand winner took her to match-point, and Janković was spent.

Obviously Janković was incredibly disappointed after losing at the semi-final stage for the second consecutive year in Paris, and admitted to being in floods of tears in the locker-rooms afterwards.

"Very, very bad," she said as another tear appeared in her eye. "To be honest, I don't want to come here. I was crying that bad."

Jelena's sense of humour usually gets her through these things, and she was laughing her head off when asked what she would do that evening.

"K*** myself? I don't know. Now I have to do the doping-test. Whew. Not fun, huh? It's hard sometimes to be a professional athlete. No, I will have some dinner and maybe get d**** or something."

As for the match, Janković said, "I tried my best. Sometimes you cannot control the injuries, especially with my arm. I had problems hitting the ball as hard as I could, and she was the more powerful one."

Powerful, charming, intelligent... Oh, the list is endless. Serbia is blessed to have such an ambassador as Ana Ivanović.
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Safina Continues Dream-Run; Ivanović To Rise to No.1
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=2319
>>>
It was a monumental day at Roland Garros on Thursday, as two of the WTA Tour's most talented young stars won through to the final of Roland Garros. For one of them it was a continuation of one of this year's longest and most impressive winning streaks; for the other, it was the match that put her over the top to become the new world No.1.

<snip>

Ivanović outlasts compatriot Janković in second semi-final

Following the all-Russian semi-final was the all-Serbian semi-final, as second seed Ana Ivanović took on third seed Jelena Janković. It was a see-saw encounter: Janković came out strong for a 4-2 lead, Ivanović began finding the lines to build a 6-4 3-1 lead, Janković fought back with five games in a row of her own to take the second set; in the end it was all about the third set and a will to win, and just like in five of their six previous meetings, it was Ivanović who came through in the clutch, hitting back-to-back forehand winners to close it out 6-4 3-6 6-4.

"The match was lots of ups and downs, lots of breaks," Ivanović said. "In the third set, I had to put everything on the line. Being down a break at 3-4, I had to go for my shots, because it was very long, the match, and a lot of long rallies. I had to step it up a little bit more and take risks. I came up with some good shots, and obviously I feel very good about it. That last game was huge, and I stepped up and played some good tennis."

By virtue of reaching the final (and Kuznetsova and Janković not reaching the final), Ivanović is projected to be the new world No.1 as of Monday. It doesn't matter if she is the champion or runner-up in Paris on Saturday.

"I was trying my best; the match could have gone either way," Janković said. "It was good for me to come back in that second set, because I was down a set and a break, and somehow I managed to win those games and win the second set. I had the lead in the third and just let it slip away. I'm very disappointed that I lost this match. I didn't go to the final and I lost chance to become No.1. This match was very important. But I'll keep working hard, and my time will come."

"I'm very, very thrilled," Ivanović said on the No.1 ranking. "I didn't know going on court today. Afterwards, in the locker-room, I was told. I was obviously very excited. But still, on the other hand, the tournament hasn't ended, and rankings come after the tournament. I have another tough match against Dinara, so that's all I want to focus on right now and until we play on Saturday."

Ivanović and Safina have played three times previously, with Ivanović having a 2:1 advantage in those. In their only previous meeting on clay, Safina was a 6-1 6-4 winner at Berlin back in 2005; but that was before either one of them really hit the big time (Ivanović was ranked No.34; Safina was ranked No.36).

One thing working in Ivanović's favour may be that she has played two singles-finals at Grand Slams before, finishing runner-up here last year (to Justine Henin) and at the Australian Open this season (to Maria Sharapova). Safina's best Grand Slam showings before this were quarter-finals at Roland Garros and the US Open in 2006. But among her victims in the aforementioned streak have been six top-ten players, including No.1s Henin and Sharapova.

"All the pressure is on her," said Safina on Ivanović. "I'll be trying to do what I need to do on the court. I'm going to give everything I have. If I've got to die on court, I will. There is absolutely no reason to save any of my energy in the final. I'll be using all of the energy I have."
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And The New World No.1 is...
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=2320
>>>
The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour will crown a new world No.1 on Monday 9th June, when the latest rankings are published, following Ana Ivanović's nail-biting win over compatriot Jelena Janković in the semi-finals of Roland Garros on Thursday. Ivanović replaces Maria Sharapova at the top of rankings after a three-week reign by the Russian, and becomes the first player representing Serbia to hold the No.1 ranking [second - Monica Seles was the first], adding yet another milestone to her already long list of remarkable accomplishments.

What started as an historic day in Paris, with three of the four semi-finalists primed to become No.1 in the world for the very first time in their careers (Ivanović, Janković and Svetlana Kuznetsova), finished as a one-woman race, with Ivanović to face Dinara Safina in the final for the first Grand Slam singles-title of their careers on Saturday. Regardless of the outcome of that match, Ivanović will become world No.1 on Monday.

At 20 years and seven months, Ivanović becomes the seventh-youngest player to reach No.1 since Tour rankings were created in 1975, behind Martina Hingis (1997), Monica Seles (1991), Tracy Austin (1980), She Who Must Not Be Named (1987), Maria Sharapova (2005) and Kim Clijsters (2003), who were all at least 20 years and three months or younger when they got there. The Serbian also becomes the 17th top-ranked player in women's-tennis history, joining a distinguished list that is comprised of Chris Evert, Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Martina Navrátilová, Austin, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Justine Henin, Clijsters, Jennifer Capriati, Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario, Amélie Mauresmo, Seles, She Who Must Not Be Named, Hingis, Lindsay Davenport and Sharapova.

"Being No.1 is a dream come true for me," Ivanović said. "It was a big surprise because I was so focused on the tournament. This is a great achievement and something that I'm very proud of. It hasn't exactly hit me yet because it won't be official until Monday. I'm sure we'll have a big celebration then."

"We have all witnessed the dramatic rise in Serbian tennis during the last few years, and on Monday that will reach a new pinnacle when Ana Ivanović is recognised as the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour's new No.1 player," said Larry Scott, Chairman & CEO of the Tour. "Ana is both a remarkable player and person, and no doubt the best is still yet to come in her still-young career. It is inspiring to see Ana's years of hard work and determination being rewarded."

Aldo Liguori, Sony Ericsson Corporate VP and Head of Global Communications & PR, said: "We at Sony Ericsson congratulate Ana Ivanović on becoming the new Sony Ericsson WTA Tour world No.1, and celebrate her success at Roland Garros. Ana is only the second new world No.1 since Sony Ericsson signed the landmark sponsorship-deal with the Tour in 2005, and is one of only six players who have been world No.1 in that time. Among Lindsay Davenport, Maria Sharapova, Kim Clijsters, Amélie Mauresmo and Justine Henin, Ana is in illustrious company. She is a worthy successor."

Ivanović has had a remarkable 12 months, posting particularly strong results at the Major events, reaching the finals of the Australian Open and Roland Garros in 2008, while being a semi-finalist at Wimbledon and the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships in 2007 - all told, she's reached the semi-finals or better in nine of her 18 events in the last 52 weeks.

This year alone, Ivanović has won one title at the prestigious Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells California, defeating Janković and Kuznetsova en route. She was runner-up to Sharapova at the Australian Open in January, and a semi-finalist at two other Tour-stops in Sydney and Berlin en route to compiling a 26:6 match win-loss record coming into the Roland Garros final.

Ivanović first burst to prominence less than four years ago in the second round of Zürich, where, as a 16-year old qualifier, she pushed Venus Williams to two tiebreaks after holding set-points in each set, and has steadily risen up the rankings since then. Her season-ending ranking has improved from No.705 (in 2003), to No.97 (in 2004), to No.16 (in 2005), to No.14 (in 2006) and to No.4 (in 2007).
<<<

Janković v Ivanović as it happened:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/7437838.stm

----------------
3. Final-preview
----------------

* ANA IVANOVIĆ [2,DF] v DINARA SAFINA [13] (ajde Ana!)

My, my
Smile at least
You can't say no to the Beauty and the Beast
[David Bowie]

All the previews I've read that have been so bold to make a prediction have predicted Ana to win, and as she will be world #1 on Monday regardless of the outcome, and is by far the more talented of the two finalists - not to mention the more beautiful - it's only right that she should.

Ana hits the ball so hard (particularly on her forehand), plays great spreading rallies, and has become much fitter since 2006, and a much better defensive player since 2007. While I don't approve of players running around their backhands to hit forehands all the time, nobody does it better than Ana.

ANA IVANOVIĆ [2,DF]:
1r + Sofia Arvidsson, 6-2 7-5
2r + Lucie Šafářová [EF], 6-1 6-2
3r + CAROLINE WOZNIACKI [30], 6-4 6-1
4r + Petra Cetkovská, 6-0 6-0
qf + PATTY SCHNYDER [10], 6-3 6-2
sf + JELENA JANKOVIĆ, 6-4 3-6 6-4

But I'm not too optimistic about Ana's chances against Safina, because tennis is 80% mental at this level, and Safina has certainly proved herself the strongest player in that department since Justine Henin's retirement, twice coming back from a set, 2-5 and match-point down. Safina just makes herself so difficult to beat, like a chess-player that never leaves a single piece unprotected.

DINARA SAFINA [13]:
1r + Kateryna Bondarenko, 6-1 6-3
2r + Magdaléna Rybáriková [Q,DF], 6-0 6-1
3r + Zheng,Jie, 6-2 7-5
4r + MARIA SHARAPOVA [1,EF], 6-7 (6/8) 7-6 (7/5) 6-2
qf + ELENA DEMENTIEVA [7], 4-6 7-6 (7/5) 6-0
sf + SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [4], 6-3 6-2

While Safina is now the strongest player mentally in women's tennis, Ana has a history of underperforming in big matches - the most obvious example being last year's French Open final, when she was paralysed with nerves after one bad ball-toss in the second game.

Ana also didn't play her best in the Australian Open 2008 final, losing 7-5 6-3 to Maria Sharapova (not to take anything away from Maria's brilliant performance in the tournament as a whole).

At least this time, Ana isn't up against one of the all-time greats, but the pressure of expectation this places on her will be immense. She certainly has the game to beat Safina or anyone else, but she will be desperate to justify her new ranking and to avoid the ignominy of becoming a Slamless world #1 (at least /I/ would be, if I were in her shoes - and God willing, some day I will be).

Safina: "All the pressure is on her. I'll be trying to do what I need to do on the court. I'm going to give everything I have. If I've got to die on court, I will. There is absolutely no reason to save any of my energy in the final."

So Ana will suffer under the pressure, and I judge Safina to be the type of person that enjoys breaking her opponents down mentally even more than winning.

Another disadvantage for Ana is that her coach Sven Groeneveld is actually employed by adidas, and isn't allowed to coach her against players who are clothed by adidas - and of course, like Henin in last year's final, Safina is an adidas-player.

This really is a ridiculous situation for a world #1 to be in, so it really is time for Ana to endeavour to entice or solicit Sven Groeneveld with a view to him ceasing to be employed by adidas.

Ana does have history on her side when she plays Safina; in fact, it gets better and better, even though Safina won their only meeting on clay (albeit at a time when they were both outside the top 32), while Ana struggled quite a bit to beat Safina on the grass that Safina hates so much, while Ana's second victory over Safina was en route to one of her greatest triumphs to date:

- 2005 Berlin 1r: Safina 6-1 6-4
+ 2006 Wimbledon 2r: Ivanović 3-6 7-6 (7/3) 6-1
+ 2006 Montréal sf: Ivanović 6-1 6-4

So who's going to win? It's actually one of the toughest Grand Slam finals to pick for years, as both have yet to win a Grand Slam. I do not think that Safina will freeze in her first Grand Slam final, given her amazing displays of mental strength so far.

As for Ana, it depends whether the experience of two previous Grand Slam finals will outweigh the baggage of having lost them in the manner she did, and how she responds to the immense pressure of going in as the favourite when she's never won a Slam.

I foresee Ana outplaying Safina until she's about to win the match, but what then? Ana showed tremendous guts and determination to quash Jelena Janković's fightback with one of her own, but she definitely can't afford to throw Safina any kind of lifeline.

Ultimately, Ana's destiny in this match will be in her own hands, and she will only win it with unwavering self-belief.


3.1 Ana's pre-final press-conference (Friday 6th June)
------------------------------------

Source: www.rolandgarros.com


Q. You must be yourself on the court, but also must be a good No.1 to succeed to Justine now. Pressure for you?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Oh, it's definitely very exciting, because, you know, that was my dream for a long time. Achieving it, it's amazing feeling, but, you know, still, yeah, I feel like I am the same player I was yesterday and the day before.

So, yeah, I still have to work hard for it, but definitely I'm enjoying every moment of it.


Q. Not pressure to be a good No.1?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Obviously, you know, pressure always comes with everything you do. And when I was also No.2, No.3 you always feel kind of pressures. So it's important to learn how to deal with it, and I feel I found some ways to deal with that, with the pressure, and it works good for me, so I want to keep it there.


Q. Is it a special feeling to have the present before playing the match?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yeah, it is amazing. Yeah, I didn't know yesterday after my match. When they told me, I was very, very excited. Yeah, it's amazing, but, you know, still, the tournament isn't over.

I have a tough match I really want to win, and to achieve, you know, another goal I have. So, yeah, just keep thinking about the match tomorrow.


Q. What parts of your game or your mentality are you most concerned with going to tomorrow that you would want to change from yesterday?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: From yesterday, the big change I want to make is about my serve. My serve-percentage was very low yesterday, and that's something that, you know, definitely wasn't good and I really want to improve.

Because matches against Patty [Schnyder], and in fourth round against Cetkovská, I served really well. That's something I look forward for tomorrow so I can keep my serve-percentage high again.


Q. Which lessons did you learn with your two finals in Grand Slam?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yeah, both finals were great experience for me. From both of them I learned a lot, you know, especially from the first one I played against Justine here last year.

It was great learning-experience, and it's something I can, you know, look back and try to not make the same mistakes, you know. And, yeah, I was - both finals I played, I was very excited about the fact that I had possibility to maybe win a Grand Slam.

So going into tomorrow's match, I have to make sure I focus on what I have to do to win a match like it's any other match, and not about the result.


Q. What is it that you learned exactly? Was it some small details, or was it more in general a mental state of mind?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yeah, it was exactly this, what I said right now. It's something that - when I went to play these finals, I was thinking more about result - what if I win this match, not what I have to do to win the match.

So that's something I want to change. And, you know, tomorrow when I go on the court, keep working hard for each point. Also, you know, what I have to do in order to win these points. And, you know, be patient or focus on my first serves, yeah.


Q. Apart from the change in the rankings, can you talk about the effect of not having Justine [Henin] here? Has that changed your perspective? Has that changed other players' perspective?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Obviously it's a very sad thing, and it was surprising for all of us that she retired. You know, we lost a champion.

But then, on the other hand, nothing changed in my personal goals or in my game, because that's - I still have the same goals like I had when she was playing.

You always - if you want to be the best, you have to beat everyone and try to, you know, overcome them, so...


Q. What about your game-plan to the final? Dinara is a good defensive player; she's retriever maybe. You prefer long rallies or not?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Well, I think in past matches here I played, I had big variety of players, a lot of them being, you know, aggressive, and some very good runners. Dinara is a great fighter, so I expect very, very tough match.

I have to, yeah, focus on each point and work on some little points that I can't actually talk about right now. But, you know, I have some game-planning, yeah.


3.2 Articles
------------

Nick Bollettieri's preview
http://nickstennispicks.com/
>>>
Coming into the French Open, everyone knew how well Safina was playing. She was on the edge a couple of times here in Paris, but she managed to fight back each time. Now, she will get her chance to win a first Grand Slam title.

On the other side of the net, Ivanović is playing in her third Grand Slam final, but she is still looking for her first title. She reached the final here last year, before losing to Justine Henin.

Match-Up:

Ivanović may be 2:1 against Safina, but you have to throw all the record out of the window at this point! Both girls have big groundstrokes (from both sides), have great serves, and are extremely competitive.

Safina is brimming with confidence after her two comeback-victories, and having followed it up with a big win over Kuznetsova in the semis. I am sure she has been talking with her brother, Marat, quite often to try to get some words of advice from the former Grand Slam champion.

Ivanović will be the new world #1 on Monday, and for the first time is playing in a Grand Slam final as the favourite. Her previous experiences in finals haven't gone so well, and it will be interesting to see how she fares in this one. She cannot hold back; she has to give it all and I think she will.

The difference in this match will be Safina's court-positioning. She stands a couple of feet from the baseline, where as Ivanović stands right near the baseline. This will give Ivanović the edge, because she will be able to keep Safina pinned back and get more defensive balls from the Russian. For this reason, I give a slight edge to Ivanović.

Nick's Pick: Ivanović in 3 sets.
<<<

Ivanović and Safina in French Open final tennis-duel (AFP)
>>>
Ana Ivanović tackles Dinara Safina in the French Open final on Saturday, with the golden girl of Roland Garros determined to end the magical run of the tournament's comeback-queen.

Second seed Ivanović - the 2007 runner-up - defeated fellow Serbian Jelena Janković 6-4 3-6 6-4 in Thursday's semi-final, while 13th seeded Safina reached her first Grand Slam final with a shock 6-3 6-2 victory over fourth-seeded compatriot Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Ivanović, who will become the new world number-one on Monday, win or lose, will start as favourite in her third Grand Slam final against a player she has defeated twice in three meetings.

But Safina, so long in the shadow of big brother Marat Safin, has enjoyed a fairytale-run, twice coming back from a set and 2-5 deficits, and twice saving a match-point, in her fairytale-run through the tournament.

For Janković, it was the fourth time she had played in a Grand Slam semi-final, and the fourth time she had failed to make it through.

"It was a tough match, and I managed to stay strong at the end to win it," said Ivanović who also reached the Australian Open final in January, but lost to Maria Sharapova.

"She started to play really good tennis and I was too passive, and if you give her a chance, of course she is going to use it."

Safina, 22, is now just one victory away from joining big brother Marat - who won the 2000 US Open and 2005 Australian Open - as a Grand Slam winner.

Few would begrudge his little sister from triumphing after staging two carbon-copy comebacks in the previous rounds to see off top seed Sharapova and Elena Dementieva.

"God has kept me in the tournament. I knew I couldn't be passive, because I knew I'd not get a third chance," said Safina.

"I told myself that if I had to die on the court, then I will die on the court. I had to give it all. After going through so many emotions in this tournament, I knew what I had to do.

"I knew that nothing else could happen to me, having been down and almost out."

Kuznetsova - the 2004 US Open winner and runner-up here in 2006 - admitted she had played one of her worst matches in the French capital.

"It was really horrible. I felt bad," said the fourth seed, who could have become the new world number-one had she gone on to win the title.

"Dinara's been playing really well. She pushed me all over the court, but I couldn't fight her as I was fighting myself.

"I think she has a good chance of winning on Saturday."
<<<

Ivanović eager to face never-say-die Safina
By Julien Pretot (Reuters)
>>>
Ana Ivanović will have to deal with the added pressure of being the favourite if she is to lift her first Grand Slam title in the French Open final against Russian survivor Dinara Safina on Saturday.

The second seed, last year's runner-up, is assured of the world number-one ranking whatever happens against the 13th-seeded Safina, who knocked out previous incumbent Maria Sharapova in the fourth round at Roland Garros.

For the first time in three Grand Slam final-appearances, Ivanović will be expected to win.

"The other day someone asked me, 'Are you going to forget the (last year's) final and play a different one?' No, because it was a great learning-experience," said Ivanović, who lost 6-1 6-2 to the now-retired Justine Henin in the 2007 final.

"I learned a lot from Justine and the emotions I was feeling going on the court. So I really hope I can work hard on it and play different this year.

"Obviously I feel like a different player coming into this French Open. A lot of experience I gain from that final and the final in Australia, so I really hope I can step up this time and make one more step."

She suffered heavy defeats to Henin and to Sharapova in the Australian Open final in January, but against the world number 14, she is the undoubted favourite.

However, Safina is a tough nut to crack, as Sharapova, Elena Dementieva and Svetlana Kuznetsova can vouch.

ROLLING OVER

Marat Safin's younger sister, who admits she still cries when she watches her brother's 2005 Australian Open semi-final victory over Roger Federer, twice came back from match-point down to advance.

Against Sharapova and Dementieva, she was a set and 2-5 down before staving off a match-point on her serve, rallying back and rolling over her compatriots.

Kuznetsova, who had been tipped by Henin as a potential winner in Paris this year, was helpless in the semi-final, losing 6-3 6-2.

Safina, nicknamed 'Marata' because of her tendency to lose her temper like her brother, is ready to give her all to clinch her first Slam-title.

"If I have to die, I will have to die on the court, because there is no more point in saving energy for nothing, so I have to give all my energy," she said. [N.B. Safina hates grass.]

Safina was quick to put the pressure on her opponent.

Asked ahead of Thursday's semi-final between Ivanović and third seed Jelena Janković if there was a chance she would feel tense, she said: "Pressure, no. I mean, they're the ones who are better ranked and better players, so all the pressure has to be on them. They have to prove."

Safina, who won the German Open last month, is 1:2 down in her meetings with Ivanović, but her only win came on the Berlin clay three years ago.

And Safina has the game it takes to bother Ivanović on the red dirt.

Her topspin is probably one of the best weapons against the flat-hitting Ivanović, who recorded 43 winners but also 45 unforced errors in her 6-4 3-6 6-4 defeat of compatriot Janković.
<<<

Safina in the way of Ivanović's bid for tennis-crown (AFP)
>>>
Newly-crowned world No.1 Ana Ivanović of Serbia will look to complete a perfect fortnight in Paris by winning her first Grand Slam title against Dinara Safina of Russia in Saturday's French Open final.

The 20-year-old Belgrade-beauty made sure of dislodging the sport's other glamour-girl, Maria Sharapova, atop the rankings by defeating fellow Serb Jelena Janković 6-4 3-6 6-4 in the semi-finals.

She will start favourite against Safina, who will be playing in her first Grand Slam final at the age of 22, but knows that she cannot afford a bout of nerves like in last year's title-match, when she collapsed in straight sets: 6-1 6-2 to the recently-retired Justine Henin.

Ivanović, who also lost in straight sets to Sharapova in the Australian Open final in January, says she has no intentions of binning the memory of 12 months ago, and insists she will be all the better for the experience.

"I don't want to forget it, because it was great learning-experience," she said.

"I learned a lot from Justine and the emotions I was feeling going on the court. So I really hope I can work hard on it and play different this year.

"Obviously I feel like a different player coming into this French Open. A lot of experience I gained from that final and the final in Australia, so I really hope I can step up this time and make one more step.

The 22-year-old Safina has had a remarkable run into the final, grappling her way back from a set and 2-5 down and match-point against her in back-to-back games against Sharapova and Elena Dementieva.

She had no such worries against another Russian, Svetlana Kuznetsova, in the semi-finals, winning 6-3 6-2, and she says she is determined not to be overawed by the occasion on Saturday.

"I will just take it as another match and just focus on myself and what I have to do," she said.

"I have to do the things that I know to do, and try to avoid thinking as much as I can. This is the final, but it is like the first round. It's the same court and the same ball."

The two finalists have played each other three times, and Ivanović is 2:1 ahead, but the Russian won the only time they have played on clay in Berlin three years ago.

Ivanović is the more naturally gifted of the two, and she has been projected to rise to the top since first breaking on to the scene with a run to the quarter-finals here in 2005.

For Safina, it has been a harder slog living in the shadow of older brother Safin: a two-time Grand Slam winner who is hugely popular in Paris and most other venues he plays in.

The Muscovite failed to make it past the second round in her first four campaigns at Roland Garros, but she reached the last eight in 2006 and the fourth round last year.

This year, she has improved her movement about the court, and had the biggest win of her career in the German Open: one of the main buildup-tournaments to Paris.

Her dramatic wins over top seed Sharapova and Dementieva have elevated her onto a new plane, and there is no doubting her heart and resourcefulness.

Sadly, brother Marat won't be on hand to give her support.

"He's in England. He won't show up for the final," Safina said with a shrug.
<<<

Ivanović, Safina ready for showdown in Paris (PA SportsTicker)
>>>
A new Grand Slam champion will be crowned on Saturday when Ana Ivanović meets Dinara Safina in the French Open women's final.

The second-seeded Ivanović is making her third appearance in a Major championship-final, while Safina, the No.13 seed, is in her maiden Grand Slam final.

It's been a remarkable tournament for both players, but for different reasons.

Ivanović advanced to the final on Thursday with a 6-4 3-6 6-4 victory over fellow Serbian and third seed Jelena Janković.

That win ensured that Ivanović will overtake Maria Sharapova as the world No.1 when the new rankings are released on Monday. Not a bad bonus for the 20-year-old, who hopes to cap the week in style with her first Grand Slam title.

The 14th-ranked Safina, meanwhile, has guaranteed herself a return to the top ten with an astounding effort in this Major - an event she said "God has kept me in."

The 22-year-old Russian completed an improbable run to the championship-match on Thursday with a 6-3 6-2 victory over fourth-seeded countrywoman Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Safina had advanced to the semi-finals of this claycourt Major with consecutive upsets of the top-seeded Sharapova and No.7 Elena Dementieva. In both of those three-set victories, she was down 2-5 in the second set and survived a match-point, before emerging a winner.

"Of course it's a new experience for me," said Safina, who had never been beyond the quarter-finals in a major prior to this. "I don't want to think about [the final] at the moment. I still have some time [on Friday evening], and then I will sit with my coach and we're going to speak about the match.

"I think what has happened these last two weeks has been really good, and it's just one more step to go. I just want to give everything that I have left inside me."

She insists she is in good shape heading into the final despite her gruelling run at Roland Garros.

"Actually, I'm feeling pretty good," Safina said. "I recovered well after those two tough matches. Yesterday it was a little bit easier."

Her run at Roland Garros, which guarantees her the No.9 ranking regardless of her effort in the title-match, is just the latest accomplishment in what has been a breakout-season.

Safina also was a surprise winner at last month's German Open in Berlin - the biggest title of her career to date - after defeating former No.1 Justine Henin, Serena Williams and Dementieva en route to the crown.

She is 1:2 in her career against Ivanović, though the pair have not seen each other since the Montréal semi-finals in 2006. Safina won their only claycourt-meeting in straight sets when they met in Berlin three years ago.

Safina's older brother, Marat Safin, is a two-time Grand Slam champion and former world No.1. The pair will become the only brother-sister combination in the Open Era to have each won a Major championship if Safina can complete her run here.

While Safina is arguably the emerging star of the women's game, Ivanović's stock has been high for the past couple of years, and a win on Saturday would see her finally deliver on her undoubted talent.

Since winning her first Tier I title in Montréal in 2006, Ivanović has notched four additional WTA crowns and reached the finals of two Grand Slams: last year's French, and this year's Australian Open.

But humbling, straight-set defeats in those finals have given rise to concerns over Ivanović's big-game temperament.

Even a run to the final four at Roland Garros without dropping a set failed to dispel the mutterings of those who feel the Serbian lacks the necessary all-round game to win the biggest titles in tennis. But her win over Janković in the semi-finals likely silenced some of her doubters.

That win demonstrated Ivanović's battling qualities, first recovering from 0-3 down to win the opening set before working tirelessly to win the decisive third after Janković had levelled things on the back of a seven-game winning-streak.

She said her loss to Henin in the final here last will serve her well on Saturday.

"The other day, someone asked me, 'Are you going to forget the [2007] final and play a different one?'" Ivanović said. "But I don't want to forget it, because it was a great learning-experience.

"I learned a lot from Justine and the emotions I was feeling going on the court. So I really hope I can work hard on it and play different this year. I gained a lot of experience from that final and the final in Australia, so I really hope I can step up this time and make one more step."
<<<

Safina willing to give her all against new No.1 Ivanović
By Matthew Cronin (www.rolandgarros.com)
>>>
Ana Ivanović snared the No.1 ranking with her thrilling three-set defeat of Jelena Janković in the semi-finals, but to win Roland Garros, she will face a stern test in the form of the red-hot Russian, Dinara Safina.

It will be the first time in Roland Garros history that a Serbian woman has faced a Russian woman in the final, but it will be 2007 finalist Ivanović's third time in a Major-final, and Safina's first.

Both women have showed superior form in the tournament, and both displayed tremendous guts and aggression during key points in the semi-finals.

Ivanović leads their head to heads 2:1, winning encounters at 2006 Wimbledon and Montréal, while Safina took their only clay-court meeting at 2005 Berlin. But that seems like eons ago for both competitors.

"She's the one who is better ranked and better player, so all the pressure has to be [on her]," said Safina, who beat Svetlana Kuznetsova in straight sets. "I'll just try to concentrate on what to do on the court. Give everything I have. Because if I have to die, I will have to die on the court, because there is no [reason to] to save energy for nothing, so I have to give all my energy out."

In some ways, Ivanović has more to play for than Safina, as she grabbed the No.1 spot without having to win a Grand Slam, becoming only the third player to do so behind Kim Clijsters and Amélie Mauresmo. When asked whether she would rather be holding a Slam-crown when the rankings are officially released on Monday, she answered an unequivocal affirmative.

"Obviously, yes," she said. "She's done a great run, and she played a lot of matches. Two matches she came from match-points down to win. She's showing some great strengths, so it's going to be another tough match."

Safina will face an interesting mental challenge, whether to mix standout defence like she did in coming back from match-points down against Maria Sharapova and Elena Dementieva, or whether she should come out cracking like she did against Kuznetsova?

The 22-year-old Russian has improved her fitness immensely, which allows her to go into a backboard-mode when she is not striking the ball as cleanly as she wants to do. She has a big, flat serve, but similar to Ivanović, has been more effective with her kick- and slice-serves during this tournament. Her topspin forehand is heavy, and when she feels right, she can rip her two-handed backhand both down the line and crosscourt.

She will, however, be facing a player who has the most powerful forehand on tour, and who can crack it inside out, as well as leaping into it on service-returns. Ivanović's backhand crosscourt has also become a sizeable weapon and, like Safina, she has become a more committed defensive player.

Perhaps most importantly, it will be the woman who does not freeze up due to nerves that will have the advantage. In last year's final, when Justine Henin buried her, the Serbian admitted that her hands were shaking. In her straight-set loss to Maria Sharapova in at the 2008 Australian Open, Ivanović acquitted herself better, but still could not take care of the big points. But the 20-year-old has visited the big dance twice before, which could play to her advantage.

"The other day, someone asked me, 'Are you going to forget the final and play different one?'" Ivanović said. "But I don't want to forget it, because it was great learning-experience. I learned a lot from Justine and the emotions I was feeling going on the court. So I really hope I can work hard on it and play different this year. Obviously I feel like a different player coming into this French Open. A lot of experience I gain from that final and the final in Australia, so I really hope I can, you know, step up this time and make one more step."

The experience will be entirely new for Safina, who like most players, says she will try and forget the enormity of the occasion, but when she walks out on Philippe Chatrier Court with the eyes of Paris and rest of tennis-world on her, she might feel different.

"I think just take it as another match and just take focus on myself and what I have to do," Safina said. "Like there is only the ball, and I have to do the things that I know to do, and try to avoid thinking as much as I can about. This is the final, but it's like the first round. It's still the same court and still the same ball. It's just how I take it in my mind, how I will prepare for the final."

Interestingly, Ivanović's coach, adidas's Sven Groeneveld, will not be in the stadium cheering his student on, as Safina is also an adidas-player, even though she has a personal coach: Željko Krajan. But he will be watching the match closely from inside the stadium. The same fate befell Groeneveld last year when Ivanović faced another adidas-player: Henin.

"My role is to maximise Ana's potential," said Groeneveld, who has also advised Safina on occasion. "I've told her that it if I'm not there, it shows her inner strength. Let the best one win. Dinara has won the Berlin and has a lot of tennis here, so in that sense, it almost makes her the favourite, but Ana's experience might compensate for her not having a great lead-up to Roland Garros. It will be an interesting battle."
<<<

Surprising Safina to bid for French Open title
By Steven Wine: AP Sports Writer
>>>
Marat Safin once dropped his shorts in glee after hitting an especially nifty shot at the French Open, which makes it natural to wonder how his younger sister might celebrate winning the title.

Along with imposing physiques, booming forehands and short fuses, the siblings from Moscow share a flair for theatrics. Two-time Grand Slam champion Safin might be the most unpredictable player on the men's tour, and now Dinara Safina has made an improbable run to her first Major-final.

Seeded 13th at Roland Garros, she'll play Ana Ivanović for the championship on Saturday.

"God kept me in this tournament," Safina said.

Not that God has anything against Maria Sharapova or Elena Dementieva, but Safina did rally from match-point down to beat them in back-to-back rounds. Now she'll try to become the first woman to win a Grand Slam title after saving match-point in two matches.

She well remembers her brother fending off a match-point to beat Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the 2005 Australian Open, then winning the title three nights later. Does the potential parallel boost her confidence?

"We will see," she said.

Safin also won the US Open in 2000. He has been text-messaging congratulations to his sister from London, where he's preparing for Wimbledon, and she's uncertain whether he'll attend the final.

"Maybe he will make a surprise and come, because I really like when he comes to see me. But," she added with a laugh, "he will also be so nervous he will not even be able to watch."

Safina remembers Safin's cheeky moment at Roland Garros four years ago. To celebrate a dropshot he hit for a winner, he mooned the crowd and drew a point-penalty.

"They have it on YouTube, so I saw it a couple of times," she said. "He's an entertainer. That's why the people love to come to watch him play, because he always gives some show. He's real on the court. If he has emotions, he will not hide them. He will explode, because I think that he's real.

"I'm like this. I know I'm not perfect, but the people have to like me the way I am. I don't want to hide my personality."

While Safin's a former No.1 player, Safina has struggled to crack the top echelon on the women's tour, leaving behind a trail of broken rackets. She joined the top 20 in 2005 and has climbed as high as ninth in the rankings, but her best Grand Slam showings until now were quarter-final finishes in 2006 at Roland Garros and the US Open.

Now 22 and less prone to tantrums, Safina may be on the best run of her career, with six victories over top-ten players since early May. She and Safin are the first sister and brother to reach Grand Slam finals, but she's unaccustomed to the attention that comes with playing for a Major-title.

She said she'll try not to dwell on the stakes.

"I have to do the things that I know to do, and try to avoid thinking as much as I can about, 'This is the final,'" she said. "It's still the same court and still the same ball. It's just how I take it in my mind."

At 20, Ivanović is two years younger than Safina, but more experienced on the big stage. She's seeking her first Major-title after finishing as runner-up to Justine Henin at the 2007 French Open and to Sharapova at the 2008 Australian Open.

Ivanović showed plenty of pluck in the semi-finals on Thursday, coming from behind three times to beat fellow Serb Jelena Janković. The victory ensured Ivanović will claim the No.1 ranking for the first time next week.

Nerves sabotaged her chances in the final a year ago at Roland Garros, and she won only three games in a dismal performance. It was an experience many players would be eager to erase from their memory, but not Ivanović.

"I don't want to forget it, because it was great learning-experience," she said. "I learned a lot from Justine and the emotions I was feeling going on the court.

"I feel like a different player coming into this French Open. A lot of experience I gained from that final and the final in Australia, so I really hope I can step up this time and make one more step."

Regardless, Ivanović will supplant Sharapova atop the rankings next week.

"Coming into this tournament, I didn't expect that," Ivanović said.

Safina helped create the opening in the rankings by beating Sharapova in the fourth round. Safina lost the first set, trailed 2-5 in the second, and faced a match-point at 3-5.

Her deficit was identical in the quarter-finals against Dementieva. But in the semi-finals, she dispensed with such drama and took charge from the start against No.4-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova, winning 6-3 6-2.

"I said, 'Okay, now I'm not going to be passive anymore. I have to be aggressive, because there will be no third chance,'" Safina said.

When she completed the straightforward victory, Safina raised her arms and waved her fists. Count on a more exuberant celebration if she wins the title.
<<<

French Open 2008: Women's final pick
By Kamakshi Tandon (Tennis.com)
>>>
If this were just some quarter-final match in some medium-sized tournament, it would be relatively simple to size up. Battle of big forehands... Safina able to beat anyone on the day... but Ivanović maintains a better level day in and day out.

But this isn't just some match; it's the final of the French Open, and that changes everything. Given the enormity of the occasion, the raw ability of the players isn't nearly as important as what they'll actually manage to produce on the day. And it's difficult to predict what that will be, because it's something of a new occasion for both of them.

Yes, Ivanović has been in two other Grand Slam finals, but she's struggled in both, and this is the first time she'll go in as the favourite. It'll also be her first match since she clinched the No.1 spot in the rankings with her semi-final win over compatriot Jelena Janković. True, that's an artificial situation created by Justine Henin's sudden retirement, but it still means that Ivanović faces extra pressure to avoid becoming one of the few players in tennis-history to become No.1 without a Grand Slam title.

But handling the occasion is exactly what Ivanović says she's learned from her previous two Slam-finals, the first here against Henin last year and the second against Maria Sharapova in Australia at the beginning of the season. "Both finals I played, I was very excited about the fact that I had possibility to maybe win a Grand Slam," she said. "So going into tomorrow's match, I have to make sure I focus on what I have to do to win a match like it's any other match."

This is also what Safina needs to do, but it's even more daunting for her because it's her first appearance in a Major-final. On the one hand, she's on such a roll - 12 straight match-wins, five against Top 10 players - she might feel invincible, rather like her brother Marat did eight years ago against Pete Sampras in the US Open final. She's saved match-point twice during the tournament, so as she says, she feels more relaxed because "nothing else can happen."

On the other, Safina has felt nerves in each of her past two matches, freely admitting she could barely serve at times. It would be a surprise if butterflies didn't resurface for the biggest match of her career. Her source of extra pressure is that she's also trying to fulfill the family-dream and join Marat on the Grand Slam honour-roll - as far as anyone can tell, it would make them the first brother-sister combo to each win a Major.

Speaking of serves, that's one thing they'll both want to have working for them. As mentioned, Safina froze up on her delivery when down in the second set to Elena Dementieva in the quarter-finals, and when up in the second set against Svetlana Kuznetsova in the semis. "I was not jumping, I was just turning. It was disaster," she laughed.

Ivanović had similar problems in the final here last year, barely able to throw the ball in the air at times. She's been serving well through most of the tournament, but had some struggles against Janković in the semis. But the match against Safina won't be quite as personal as the one against her compatriot and rival, so having such an intense, high-stakes battle right before may end up helping her relax for the final.

Beyond that, they both have big forehands and aren't particularly good movers, so they'll be trying to keep the points fairly short and dictate off that wing.

If Safina wins, we'll call it destiny. If Ivanović wins, we'll call it hard-earned experience. Cold reality usually goes with the latter, but it'll be a heart-warmer either way.

Prediction: Ivanović.
<<<

2008 French Open Championship Preview
By Aaress Lawless
http://www.onthebaseline.com/2008/06/06/2008-french-open-championship-preview/
>>>
Two major storylines have ultimately merged into one as the 2008 Roland Garros women's final takes place on Saturday.

Ana Ivanović and Dinara Safina will do battle in Paris for a chance to fulfill their dreams of winning a Grand Slam championship.

Ivanović has already fulfilled her dream of becoming No.1, but is still searching for the second test of tennis-greatness: a Major-title. Dinara Safina has become Russia's answer to the Cinderella fairytale, and after back-to-back wins over outgoing No.1 Maria Sharapova, Elena Dementieva, and 2004 US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, one wonders if the clock might not strike midnight until after she adds another Major-trophy to the Safin family collection.

The All-Serbian and All-Russian semi-final battles were far from impressive, although there were moments of brilliance in both matches. Ivanović and Jelena Janković both had their ups and downs, but in the end, it was Ivanović who stepped up her game on the big points. Her performance in the third set was some of the best tennis I have seen all tournament, and started to convince me that this title was hers for the taking.

For Safina to capture her first Major-title, she'll need to put the pressure on Ivanović early. You cannot let the Serbian start believing that she has the match on her own racquet, because once she gains confidence, there is no stopping her. She took more than the runner-up trophy home last year, and she is keen to put her nerves behind her early in the match.

"The other day someone asked me, 'Are you going to forget the final and play a different one,'" said Ivanović in her post-semi-final press-conference. "But I don't want to forget it, because it was a great learning-experience. I learned a lot from Justine and the emotions I was feeling going on the court."

"So I really hope I can work hard on it and play different this year," added Ivanović, who clinched the No.1 ranking by reaching the final. "Obviously I feel like a different player coming into this French Open. A lot of experience I gained from that final and the final in Australia, so I really hope I can step up this time and make one more step."

Ivanović, on the other hand, is facing a player that almost feels invincible. After saving match-points against Sharapova in the fourth round and Dementieva in the quarter-finals, Dinara Safina is starting to believe that maybe she is Cinderella. She kept her cool against an erratic Kuznetsova on Thursday, but did struggle on her serve. Part of Safina's problem was that she has been accustomed to coming from behind so being ahead in a match feels like a new experience.

Safina's biggest liability is her service game – something Ivanović could easily exploit with her powerful forehand. Ivanović possesses one of the best one-handed forehands in women's tennis, and is comfortable going for outright return-winners down the line.

The Russian's game-plan has been simple, but effective. She has played her own game and let the results follow. She hopes to approach tomorrow's final just like any other match — and leave it all out on the court.

"All the pressure is on her," said Safina about playing Ivanović. "I'll be trying to do what I need to do on the court. I'm going to give everything I have. If I've got to die on court, I will. There is absolutely no reason to save any of my energy in the final. I'll be using all of the energy I have."

This match should be a close one, and after the last three Roland Garros finals, that is a welcome thought. No offense to Justine Henin, but her last three victories were textbook, one-sided, and predictable from the moment she set foot on Philippe Chatrier. Not since Jennifer Capriati and Kim Clijsters' epic battle in 2001 have fans been treated to a thrilling final.

While I don't expect this match to end 12-10 in the third, it has all the proponents necessary for a fascinating battle between two of the biggest stars of this new generation of professional women's tennis-players.

Prediction: Ana Ivanović.
<<<

Day 14 - Women's final: Ana Ivanović – Dinara Safina
http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/news/match_analysis/
>>>
BACKGROUND

Ana Ivanović has already played in two Grand Slam finals (Roland Garros 2007 and the Australian Open 2008), both without success. She dreams of starting her collection of Major tournament-trophies, and it would be the perfect way to honour her future number-one ranking, which she will hold as of Monday. Due to her experience, she just sneaks in as favourite over Safina, even if she is the younger of the two.

Dinara Safina is the unexpected finalist. The No.14 seed came back from nowhere not once, but twice: against Maria Sharapova in the fourth round, and against Elena Dementieva in the quarters. Both times, she was losing by one set and 2-5, and saved a match-point. So here is Marat's little sister in her very first Grand Slam final, and history could be in the making – they could become the first-ever brother and sister to both take a Major singles-title in the Open Era.

CURRENT FORM

Due to some minor injuries, Ivanović did not excel on clay before Roland Garros. But she has been impressive in Paris, at least until her semi-final against Jelena Janković. In that match, with a place in the final at stake, Ivanović lost her focus, but managed to get back in the match and swept through the last three games, hitting a medley of winning shots. In addition, physically, everything seems to be fine.

As is to be expected after such a chaotic run-up, Safina comes to the final in less than top condition. But her confidence is sky-high, as she showed in the semi-finals. Her straightforward victory over Svetlana Kuznetsova allowed her to save some energy, and as she stresses, her success is down to the progress she has made physically.

STRENGTH

Ivanović's forehand is one of the best on the tour, and it is on this weapon that she bases her game. Inside-out or crosscourt, she can attack from all positions. With a solid two-handed backhand and a powerful first serve that wins her easy points, the Serb has more than a few tricks up her sleeve. Her footwork is effective on clay, and her determination is awe-inspiring. She has also worked hard on her tactics. In the last fortnight, she has unleashed some devastating dropshots. Volleying is her only real weakness.

Thanks to her impeccable physical form, Safina can hold her own against the very best from the baseline. She can hit balls with devastating acceleration, even when being pushed back. Her most solid shot is without a doubt her cracking two-handed backhand. But her strong point at this tournament is her mental toughness – she was able to raise her game and become aggressive even when she found herself on the brink of defeat. And after the two "miracles" she has performed, she comes to the final incredibly pumped up.

TACTICS

In her first two Grand Slam finals, especially the one against Justine Henin here last year, Ivanović found the pressure too great, and was overwhelmed by the situation. Now, though, she has matured and is ready to assume the status of favourite which is undoubtedly hers; her forehand is far superior to Safina's, as is her serve.

The Russian may not have as many weapons as her opponent, but she must be feeling invincible. And in a big final, the mindset plays an important role. A match can turn on how a player handles the important points. Marat's little sister has fiery temper and a tendency to self-destruct. Each women's final for the past six years has been one-sided, so the beginning of the match will be crucial.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Ivanović leads two to one. She beat Safina at Montréal and Wimbledon in 2006, but her victory on the London grass was a hard-fought 3-6 7-6 6-1.

Safina took the first-ever match played between the two young women, in Berlin in 2005 (6-1 6-4). It was three long years ago, but it was on clay...
<<<

-----------------------------
4. Order of play for Saturday
-----------------------------

Court Chatrier (start 15:00 CEST = 13:00 GMT = 14:00 BST)
WS final: ANA IVANOVIĆ [2,DF] v DINARA SAFINA [13]
MD final: Pablo Cuevas/Luis Horna v (DANIEL NESTOR/NENAD ZIMONJIĆ)[2]

For those in the UK, the Women's Singles final will be live on BBC 2 from 14:00, and repeated on BBCi in a loop from 16:30.

Full order of play:
http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/scores/schedule/

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sharapova_vaidisova_hantuchova/

andrewbroad
Jun 21st, 2008, 11:25 AM
=============
ROLAND GARROS (Paris, France; red clay; Grand Slam)
============= http://www.rolandgarros.com/
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. Women's Singles final TV-report: Ivanović v Safina

---------
1. Photos
---------

Ana Ivanović (and Dinara Safina):
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=ivanovic
http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/players/wta311710.html
http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/gallery?pg=1&cap=1

Search Getty Images for "ivanovic"

-----------------------------------------------------
2. Women's Singles final: Ivanović v Safina TV-report (Saturday 7th June)
-----------------------------------------------------

+ ANA IVANOVIĆ [2,DF] d. DINARA SAFINA [13], 6-4 6-3

If I had a franc for every time I've had to write "second - Monica Seles was the first" over the last few days of the tournament, it would probably be enough to fund an entire trip to Paris!

Safina made the more nervous start, as Ana raced into a *4-1 lead with a point for 5-1. But the lead quickly evaporated to 4-4* as Safina started to play well and Ana's forehand broke down. But Safina's form was so up and down, and Ana must have been very relieved to close out the first set 6-4.

Ana broke first in the second set, but at *3-2 she had to survive a long service-game with a break-point and four deuces to extend to 4-2*.

Then Safina survived an even longer service-game with seven deuces and two break-points that would have given Ana a *5-2 lead - the same set and 5-2 lead that Maria Sharapova and Elena Dementieva both blew against Safina!

But *4-3 proved lucky for Ana as she held to 15 and broke to love to close out the match against an exhausted Safina.


2.1 Prematch routine
--------------------

The match was first on Court Philippe Chatrier, and both players were interviewed just before they went onto court.

NELSON MONTFORT: Good afternoon. Thank you very much for answering our questions - we won't keep you long. This is the big day.

DINARA SAFINA: Yeah, it's a big day, a new experience, and I just hope that it's gonna be a beautiful match, and that all the crowd can enjoy.

NELSON MONTFORT: Everybody's expecting a very great match, it's very important for women's tennis, and I'm sure that you're ready for that.

DINARA SAFINA: I just hope that really, that after the match, we can only say we did everything, so I just hope that the crowd can enjoy with us this moment.

NELSON MONTFORT: Best of luck, Dinara. Best of luck... Good afternoon, Ana. It's very nice to talk with you; we won't keep you long. This is the big day, of course. There was last year the final, but of course this year, it's revenge for you, and I'm sure that this year, of course, you want the title. Are you ready for that?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yeah, definitely. I expect a very tough match, and you know, last year's experience is gonna help me today, so I just hope to have a great match.

NELSON MONTFORT: We hope for you too. Take care and good luck.

As Ana was coming onto court, she kindly helped the ballboy who was struggling under the weight of a heavy bouquet. That's the kind of person Ana is: Mother Teresa as well as a great tennis-player!

Justine Henin is in the stands to see who will succeed her as French Open champion.


2.2 The match
-------------

Safina won the toss and elected to serve, and the match started at 15:10 CEST.


First set
---------
IVANOV @* *@___@* 6
SAFINA __*__@*@__ 4

Safina serving 0-0: She hit a forehand wide. 0/15. Ana, driven wide, netted a forehand. 15/15. Safina on the third stroke sprayed a backhand wide, off a deep return down the middle from Ana. 15/30. Safina hit a pinpoint crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline. 30/30. Safina backhand long. 30/40 (BP). Safina cracked a pinpoint crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline. 40/40. Safina hit a short-angled crosscourt forehand winner back behind Ana. Ad Safina. A deep forehand from Ana forced Safina to net a forehand. Deuce #2. Ana hit a "super" crosscourt backhand return-winner just inside the baseline. Ad Ana (BP #2). Safina on the third stroke hit a forehand just wide.

First blood to Ana, but a well-fought game by both.

Sam Smith acknowledged that Ana is the favourite around the Internet, but picked Safina because the conditions are heavy with a hefty wind.

Ana serving 1-0: Ana dumped a backhand not even halfway up the net. 0/15. Ana opened up the court with a crosscourt forehand, and hit an easy forehand winner down the line. 15/15. A longish baseline-rally ended with Safina taking the initiative and hitting an off-backhand winner, as Ana failed to find any power on her backhand. 15/30. Ana came to the net and hit a high forehand volley-winner crosscourt. 30/30. Safina forehand return just long. 40/30. Safina backhand just wide.

Not an easy start for Ana, but very nice to get the first couple of games on the board.

Safina serving 0-2: Safina hit a forehand smash virtual winner off a deep lob from Ana. 15/0. Serve: short return; Safina crosscourt forehand winner. 30/0. Safina hit a crosscourt forehand winner back behind Ana. 40/0. Ana cracked a crosscourt forehand return-winner. 40/15. Safina hit a dropshot on the third stroke, but Ana ran it down and hit a crosscourt forehand winner. 40/30. Ana backhand just wide.

Sam Smith: "Ana has transformed her movement. She even has /muscles/ in her legs now - she didn't have those before."

Ana serving 2-1: Ana on the third stroke hit a backhand wide (forced by depth). 0/15. Safina's defensive backhand floated long. 15/15. Ana forehand long. 15/30. Ana hit a "super" backhand winner down the line, just inside the baseline, said "ajde" and pumped her fist. 30/30. Safina backhand wide, and another "ajde" from Ana. 40/30. Safina netted a forehand.

Nice recovery from 15/30. Ana has now won as many games as she did in last year's final.

Safina serving 1-3: Second serve: Ana hit a huge, deep, error-forcing crosscourt forehand return. 0/15. Double fault #1 (second serve just long). 0/30. Weak second serve; Ana came to the net and hit a forehand volley-winner. 0/40. Ana came to the net again, forcing Safina to slice a backhand wide.

Just one unforced error from Ana so far, and 5 from Safina.

Sam Smith: "Ana has got the mix just right: being consistent, but also looking for the winner. The right mix between defence and attack. It's in her hands; the question-mark is whether she can keep this going until she's over the finishing-line."

Ana serving 4-1: Ana forehand just long. 0/15. Ana forehand long. 0/30. Safina hit an acute short-angled crosscourt forehand, but Ana used it against her with a short-angled crosscourt forehand winner. She twirled around on one leg. 15/30. Safina forehand wide. 30/30. Ana hit an unbelievable forehand dropshot that bounced about two inches past the net! 40/30. Safina hit a running forehand pass-winner down the line. 40/40. Safina took the initiative, forced a floater from Ana and hit a forehand drive-volley winner down the line. Ad Safina (BP). A longish baseline-rally ended with Ana netted a forehand.

I thought Safina had lost another opportunity when 0/30 became 40/30 (point for 5-1), but she suddenly started playing well again.

Sam Smith: "Safina is a little clunky at the moment."
David Mercer: "She's looked very tight and nervous for the last ten minutes. But signs of relaxation from Safina, hitting /through/ the ball now."

Safina serving 2-4: Safina crosscourt forehand winner. 15/0. Cute grunting from Ana, but Safina pounced on a short sliced backhand to hit a crosscourt forehand winner. 30/0. Serve out wide + crosscourt backhand winner. 40/0. Service-winner out wide.

Ana's *4-1 lead is evaporating very quickly - seven points to Safina. It's imperative she plays a good service-game now.

Tatiana Golovin is in the crowd, looking lovely and smily. She didn't play in the French Open due to injury, and she's pulled out of Birmingham too. :-(

Ana serving 4-3: Ana hit a pinpoint backhand winner down the line. 15/0. Ana hit a deep forehand onto the baseline to force a very short ball from Safina, which Ana dispatched with a forehand winner down the line. 30/0. Safina netted a backhand. 40/0. Ana netted a forehand. 40/15. Ana backhand long. 40/30. Ana sliced a backhand long off a short sliced forehand from Safina. 40/40. Ana forehand long. Ad Safina (BP). She broke back with a pinpoint backhand winner down the line.

*4-1 with a point for 5-1, and now 4-4*. :-(

Ana has to go for the lines and hit winners, whereas Safina's job is to keep the ball in play, to a good length, and just hit winners when she gets a good gap.

Safina serving 4-4: Safina slugged a backhand wide. 0/15. Safina backhand wide. 0/30. Ana forehand long. 15/30. Ana netted a forehand. 30/30. Safina forehand wide. 30/40 (BP). Short second serve, and a longish rally ended with Ana hitting a backhand winner down the line.

Rather error-strewn in that game. Safina's performance is so up and down.

Amélie Mauresmo and Mansour Bahrami are in the crowd.

Ana serving 5-4: Ana netted a forehand. 0/15. Ana came to the net and hit a crosscourt forehand drive-volley winner. 15/15. Safina got much better depth than Ana, who hit a backhand lob long. 15/30. Safina netted a backhand. 30/30. Ana forehand long. 30/40 (BP). Ana hit a huge, error-forcing off-forehand, and shouted "ajde". 40/40. Ana ran around her backhand to hit a crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline. Ad Ana (SP #1). Ana on the third stroke netted a forehand. Deuce #2. A nailbiting rally ended with Ana netting a forehand. Ad Safina (BP #2). Excellent serve out wide + crosscourt forehand drive-volley winner just inside the sideline - high-risk brilliance from Ana. Deuce #3. Safina sprayed a forehand long, and Ana shouted "ajde". Ad Ana (SP #2). Safina backhand lob long. Ana won the first set 6-4 at 15:55 (45m).

Too many forehand errors from Ana in the last few games, but she came good in the end, and it must be a huge relief to get that set in the bag.

Sam Smith: "A flurry of winners, and Safina is relying on Ana to make errors."
David Mercer: "Ana has learned to face her fears and deal with them."
Sam Smith: "I've been 'Safina'd a couple of times in this tournament, predicting her demise. I'm not going down that road again."


Second set
----------
IVANOV _*@* * *@ 6
SAFINA *___* *__ 3

Safina serving 0-0: Ana netted an early forehand. 15/0. Ana netted a backhand. 30/0. Safina hit an accurate off-backhand winner into the corner, forcing Ana to hit a forehand lob long. 40/0. Safina hit a virtual backhand winner down the line.

Ana serving 0-1: Ana backhand long. She's lost the first 5 points of this set. 0/15. Safina netted a backhand. 15/15. Safina went for a down-the-line backhand, but it was wide. 30/15. Safina backhand just wide. 40/15. Safina forehand long.

Safina serving 1-1: Ana cracked a big crosscourt backhand return-winner into the corner. 0/15. Serve + deep forehand drive-volley + forehand smash-winner. 15/15. Double fault #2 (second serve wide). 15/30. Ana bunted a backhand return wide off a mishit topspin second serve. 30/30. Ace #1: out wide. 40/30. A long rally featured excellent retrieving from Safina, who then took the initiative, but Ana hit a crosscourt backhand dropshot-winner in the end. 40/40. Safina hit an early forehand long off a deep return from Ana. Ad Ana (BP). Safina's backhand down the line forced Ana to chop a defensive forehand into the net. Deuce #2. Ana attacked the second serve with a deep, error-forcing forehand return down the line. Ad Ana (BP #2). Another weak second serve, and Ana hit an off-forehand return-winner. Safina threw her racket.

Ana is playing more conservatively after errors at the start of this set.

Ana serving 2-1: Ana forced a floater and hit an off-forehand drive-volley winner from no-man's-land. 15/0. Safina forehand wide - forced by Ana's backhand down the line. 30/0. Safina netted a backhand. 40/0. Safina forehand long.

Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario is commentating for Spanish TV.

Safina serving 1-3: Ana dumped a backhand return into the net. 15/0. Safina forehand dropshot-winner. 30/0. Safina netted a forehand. 30/15. Safina on the third stroke had the initiative but hit a forehand just long. 30/30. Ana hit a backhand return very long, and *Safina* shouted something long in Russian. 40/30. Service-winner.

Ana serving 3-2: Ana hit an error-forcing backhand down the line. 15/0. Safina backhand long. 30/0. Ana backhand long. 30/15. Safina took the initiative, forced a short ball, let it bounce and hit a high crosscourt forehand winner. 30/30. Ana hit a crosscourt forehand just long... no! it's a winner into the corner! Ana sank to her knees in relief. 40/30. Ana played a good spreading rally... until she netted a forehand. 40/40. Ana ran around her backhand and hit an off-forehand winner. Ad Ana. Double fault #1 (second serve wide). Deuce #2. Ana netted a backhand. Ad Safina (BP). Ana on the third stroke hit a backhand winner down the line, pumped her fist and shouted "ajde". Deuce #3. Virtual ace down the middle: on the centre-line. Ad Ana. Safina took the initiative with an off-forehand to the sideline, and hit an off-forehand dropshot virtual winner. Deuce #4. Safina forehand wide. Ad Ana. Safina sprayed a forehand just wide.

A very important game for Ana to come through. It's tempting to say she has one hand on the trophy now, but she doesn't yet have as big a lead (a set and 5-2) as Maria Sharapova and Elena Dementieva blew against Safina!

David Mercer: "Safina not quite able to hit through her opponent."

Safina serving 2-4: Safina hit a forehand long, and muttered something long in Russian. 0/15. Safina spread Ana with a crosscourt forehand + error-forcing crosscourt backhand, both just inside the sidelines. 15/15. Double fault (tame second serve into the net). 15/30. Ana mishit a forehand very long. 30/30. Serve out wide induced Ana to hit a forehand return long. 40/30. Safina backhand wide. 40/40. Ana forehand return just wide. David Mercer: "Safina continuing to go for that big slice out wide in the forehand-court." Ad Safina. She hit a backhand long, and gave a wry smile. Deuce #2. A crying toddler held up play and had to be taken out before Safina would serve. Second-serve ace out wide: outside edge of the sideline! Ad Safina. She forced a short ball, but netted a very easy-looking forehand. Ana pumped her fist. Deuce #3. Ana's off-forehand induced Safina to net a backhand, and Safina looked very frustrated. Ad Ana (BP). Ana hit a backhand would-be backhand winner down the line, but it was called wide; the umpire checked the mark and confirmed it. Deuce #4. A long rally ended with Safina taking the initiative, drawing Ana to the net with a dropshot, and passing her with a forehand winner down the line. Ad Safina. Double fault #4 (second serve just long/wide). Deuce #5. Double fault #5 (second serve into the net). Ad Ana (BP #2). Serve out wide + error-forcing crosscourt forehand. Deuce #6. Serve + off-backhand winner. Ad Safina. She hit a backhand wide. Deuce #7. Slow first serve: Ana forehand return long. Ad Safina. She hit a bullet of a backhand winner down the line.

No set and 2-5 deficit for Safina this time. Perhaps that's a good thing (for Ana) after what happened to Maria Sharapova and Elena Dementieva!

Ana serving 4-3: Ana opened up the court and hit an error-forcing forehand down the line. 15/0. Safina forced a short ball and hit a crosscourt forehand winner. 15/15. Safina forehand just long. Ana pumped her fist. 30/15. Safina netted a backhand return. 40/15. Safina backhand long.

Safina serving 3-5: Ana hit a huge crosscourt forehand return + huge crosscourt forehand winner back behind Safina: right on the sideline. 0/15. Safina on the third stroke hit a backhand just long. 0/30. Safina forced a short ball, but got too close to the ball and hit a backhand long. 0/40 (CP #1). Ana hit a short down-the-line backhand that hit the sideline, barely bounced at all, and Safina couldn't get it. Ana won 6-4 6-3 at 16:48 (second set 53m, match 1h38m).

David Mercer: "No signs of her being frightened at the prospect of winning now. Going for it boldly."
Sam Smith: "It would have been a disaster for her career if she had lost today. It was still possible for her to lose, because Safina was so gritty."

Ana climbed into the stands via a linesperson's chair - that was the moment I was most worried for her today!


2.3 Presentation-ceremony
-------------------------

First, Nelson Montfort interviewed both players:


DINARA SAFINA: What a great experience, and I hope I come back next year here, and then I can still enjoy here too.

NELSON MONTFORT: You left a great remembrance of the public at Roland Garros, and we wish to congratulate you.

DINARA SAFINA: Thank you very much. Thanks.

NELSON MONTFORT: Merci beaucoup, Mademoiselle Safina. Alors que, nous avons retrouvé Ana Ivanović...


...??Am I?? supposed to be happier than you are this evening?

ANA IVANOVIĆ <laughing>: Yeah, definitely. I mean, this was amazing, and I still didn't realise what happened, you know. I think we both played very nervous match; it was lots of chances for both of us. But, you know, I'm just so happy to keep my composure till the end, and er, yeah, it's amazing.

NELSON MONTFORT: Very often, in your comments, you were speaking about the final of last year, that of course was a sad remembrance. Today, everything is forgotten.

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yeah, definitely. I mean, the crowd was amazing. And obviously the nerves were still there, but that's normal. Every match that you play, you experience that, and last year's final was a... was a great learning-experience for me, so yeah, I'm just so thrilled.

NELSON MONTFORT: We'd be very happy to see you next year, to come and defend. I think everybody here loves you very much.

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Thanks a lot. You've been great support through all the week, and today, that was just amazing, and, yeah, I have no words to describe that.

NELSON MONTFORT: See you next year. Merci beaucoup, Ana. Merci.


Justine Henin presented the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen to Ana, and I must say she looked very good as a Grand Slam champion. She looked close to tears as they played the Serbian national anthem and raised the Serbian flag.

Safina's speech:
>>>
Bonjour.

Erm, first of all, I'd like to congratulate Ana. She really deserved to win. It was the third final, and God loves three, so it was your turn today.

I want to say "well done" to her team. Sometimes they're a little bit annoying, with "ajde" and all this. Okay?

Of course, I would like to say "thanks" to my team also: thank you, my family, my coach, and er, all... all who sitting in that box - thank you so much.

Well, of course, thanks a lot, erm, to ballkids, and erm, all the personnel who is working for this tournament - you're really doing such a good job, and there is nothing to complain about.

And, of course, to the public: guys, thank you so much for coming and supporting me - thank you so much.

I spend lot of time in Monaco, but unfortunately I don't speak French, but one word I learned: je t'aime, Paris.
<<<

Ana's speech:
>>>
Well... hello everyone.

Erm, first all, I would like to congratulate Dinara for a great tournament and great last couple of weeks, and giving me very tough match today, so congratulation - keep up the good work. I'm sure we'll have many more finals.

Then, I would like to thank, erm, all the sponsors who make this, er, tournament possible, er: the tennis-federation of French; er, WTA; er, you guys were amazing through all the week, you make it so special for us; er, ballkids, linesmens, everyone - it was... it was just amazing to hang out with you guys, and see you through whole two weeks! <laughing>

Erm... yeah. I would like, erm, to thank, er, my team, who was a little bit loud! <laughing> But they were emotional as I was, so thank you guys so much.

Some of them even made the trip from all over Europe to come to the final today, so thanks for that - ??for your?? support.

Obviously, all the fans I have here, or back home, all around the world - thank you guys so much. Erm, yeah, it's been just amazing: as a kid, when I used to go by bike to the practice, I used to dream of this, so thank you guys to make it even more special for me, and I look forward to see you guys again. Thanks a lot.

[You want to add something?]

No, I just wanna thank you guys again for coming, and, you know, when I walked on the court this year, it was, erm, completely different atmosphere, and you guys were, er, unbelievable, so I, yeah, I enjoyed so much. And I wanna thank, you know, again, all my team for putting up with me through all the year! <laughing> And er, yeah, ??this is a good one??
<<<


2.4 Statistics
--------------

Ana's W:UE ratio was 41:22 (20:10 in the second set) - significantly superior to Safina's 37:28 (23:19 in the second set).

Ana got 69% of her first serves in, winning 68% of the points when she did so, and 43% on second serve. The corresponding percentages for Safina were almost identical to Ana's except the first-serve winning-percentage: they were 68%, 54% and 42%.

From the first set to the second, both players traded their first-serves-in percentages for higher first-serve winning-percentages, while Ana's second-serve winning-percentage improved and Safina's deteriorated.

Ana served faster than Safina in all three categories: fastest 116-112 mph, average first serve 103-99 mph, average second serve 89-87 mph.

Safina served 2 aces (both in the first set) and 5 double faults (4 in the second set), Ana no aces and just one double fault (in the second set).

Ana beat Safina in number of BPs generated, number of BPs converted and percentage of BPs converted: Ana broke 5 times (3 times in the first set, twice in the second) from 9 BPs, Safina twice (both in the first set) from 5 BPs.

Ana came to the net more than Safina, and with a higher success-rate: Ana won 12 of 16 points at the net (9 of 11 in the first set), Safina 6 of 11.

In points, Ana won 78-64 (first set 37-33, second set 41-31).


2.5 Ana's press-conference
--------------------------

Source: www.rolandgarros.com


Q. You must be very proud of the way you kept control of that match: that long game at the end of the second set, and you struck right back to win the match. Can you comment on your mentality?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yeah, I was - I'm just really proud about my efforts today. It wasn't easy match. She played really well, I thought. First set I had a double break, I believe, and she came back.

You know, it was few mental games out there today, so I was really happy that in a key moment, I managed to stay strong and calm - in the second set, especially.

At 4-2, we had very, very long game. I had few advantages and I wasn't as aggressive, but, you know, I kept my composure and stepped up, and won my service-game and managed to break her again. I'm very, very happy.


Q. Going into the match, were you concerned that even though you've had experience, you have been in the finals, you actually hadn't won one yet? Was that playing on your mind?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yeah, obviously you're nervous. You want to make one step more and win a title. But, you know, last two Grand Slams were great learning-experience for me. You know, I'm only 20 and it was my third final already, so that, you know, kept some pressure off me. Just trying to enjoy it, and that's what I did today.

Obviously there was a lot of emotions inside, but till the last point, I tried to, you know, don't think about the occasion and just focus on my tennis. So I was really happy I managed to do that today.


Q. They say that winning a Grand Slam for the first time changes the way you think about yourself as a tennis-player. Do you feel changed already?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: No, I feel - I feel so happy. I have no words to describe that. But Grand Slam, winning Grand Slam is something I dreamt since I was a little kid, so achieving that goal, it's very thrilling.

You know, you work so hard, and you're off the court, on the court, and you put so much effort into it. I loved the game and I enjoy playing, so this is the best reward I can get.

It's something - it's my incentive, you know, to keep working hard, and, you know, win more of these trophies.


Q. How crucial was the shot you played to save the break-point in the sixth game [*3-2] of the second set? Were you thinking at that point about her previous comebacks?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Sorry? Can you repeat?


Q. I'll ask the first part first. How crucial was that shot you played to save the break-point in the second set?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: It was a huge point, and I was very aware of it. So you know, the next point after I managed to come back to deuce, I tried to think, you know, just to stay calm and make her play, because she was anxious.

She had chances to finish that point many times and have 2-1 lead. I knew the next point was so important, so I was really happy I stepped up and win that game. That was something that gave me confidence in that second set, because in the beginning of that second set, I thought I lost concentration for a bit. It was obviously very dangerous, so I knew I had to, you know, be back in the moment.


Q. In that stage, were her previous comebacks in the tournament on your mind at all?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: No, I mean, I knew she was a great fighter, and I knew I had to take any chance I had. I had lot of chances in the first set which I didn't use.

She came back, and it was 4-all, and, you know, it was tough because a lot of emotions build up inside. You knew you had a chance, double break, you know, and then all of a sudden you're equal again.

So to keep my composure at that point, it was huge for me.


Q. You speak so quickly as Monica Seles and her time; it's amazing. But why wasn't Sven Groeneveld today up there, or he was watching another place?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: I'm trying to speak slow, but I'm so excited.


Q. It shows your intelligence.

ANA IVANOVIĆ: You have to understand. Yeah, it was very unfortunate that Sven couldn't be in the box today, because he puts lots of effort, you know, from his side, and lots of hard work in last couple months and year since we been working more together.

So I was really sorry for him not to be there this huge moment in my career. But I'm sure he was, you know, out there a little bit suffering, because we [Ana and Safina] are both adidas, and it's very hard for him.

But, yeah, I think he was sitting somewhere in - I think adidas box, but I'm not really sure. I still haven't talked to him, so I'm sure he's very, very proud of me, too.


Q. After you lost Australia, you were crying a lot: very, very upset. When you walked away from that tournament, did you resolve something to yourself about how I'm going to compose myself in the next Grand Slam final?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yes. Yeah, definitely. It was very tough loss for me, and I had few sleepless nights after that, honestly. But, yeah, it's something I learned from. I was again in that final, like in Paris - it was much better - but still, I was - part of me was already thinking about possibly holding a trophy, you know. So this time I really tried to change that and don't think about that at all and just focus on my game.

And there were some moments where, you know, this thought would still come up, but I managed to control it much better and to be aware of every moment of my game. That's something I'm really, really happy about today's game.


Q. It's also been said about you at times that you're too nice and too sweet to have a killer-instinct on court. Today maybe you've proved that you really do have that killer-instinct inside.

ANA IVANOVIĆ: I try. You know, I think once you are on the court, it's - yeah, it's much easier said than done - but you have to be a killer. And you have to, you know, put them under pressure and show your presence and stuff.

On the off the court it's obviously different. I still, you know, believe it's important to be a fair player and, yeah, don't lose your appearance just because people might say you're too nice.


Q. I'm sure that you were told or knew even before this match how aggressive Dinara is returning serve, and she started off on the baseline, maybe even inside the baseline. Then you backed her off. How much of a relief was that for you to see her backing off the baseline so she would be little less dangerous returning serve?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Honestly, since the last match we played, I had feeling she improved a lot in her movement, and also in her service-shots. She was much more aggressive than I remember, so obviously that was something I had to adapt and to take that time away from her. Because in the beginning, I try, you know, to maybe look too much, and she was taking advantage of it.

So I had to change it and step up a little bit more, and move into the court and give her less time.

That's something I did very well. And also my first-serve percentage: I believe it was better than in last match. That's something that was important, because if she faces lot of second serves, obviously she likes to take advantage of that.


Q. This is another huge moment for Serbian tennis after what Novak [Đoković] has achieved in Melbourne earlier this year. You winning here as the world No.1. I mean, are we now in a period of dominance with Serbian players like yourself, Novak, and Jelena [Janković]?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: I hope so. No, it's amazing. It's amazing achievement. And, you know, for Novak to win the first Grand Slam for Serbian [at the] beginning of the year. You know, going into today's final, I thought of it, and I said, "Come on. He could do it, I could do it, too." So it's something that for sure motivates, and I hope also many young kids will get inspired from us.

But, you know, last year the three of us made a huge step here. We had two semi-finalists and a finalist, and it was the first time we did really good all together at the Grand Slam.

So, you know, coming back this year, and he winning a title and now me, it's something that - I mean, people back home I think really appreciate, and it's very thrilling for us, too.


Q. Do you feel winning the title today confirms your spot as the world No.1, and that that was important? Do you think that you will be able to hold onto it for a long time, the No.1?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: This title, it's very important for me, because that was my dream for a long time. You know, reaching position No.1 even, you know, before I played this match in the final was great award.

But then again, you know, you have to still - when you're on the court, you have to play your game, and rankings speak for themselves. You know, you just have to make sure to keep doing the right things on the court and play your matches, and the rankings, they take care of themselves.

You know, it's obviously very, very sweet and nice, you know, to reach that. But, you know, you have to make sure you're still working hard on the court.


Q. Four weeks today, we'll know the winner of the next Grand Slam. Do you think it's possible that you can win Wimbledon as well?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Well, it's... I have to tell you the truth: I'm still, you know, in Paris and trying to enjoy this victory, and not thinking still about the grass.

But for sure, you know, I want to, you know, go there and wanting to win a title, because every tournament you play, you want to win.

And obviously now, a lot of players will, you know, play their best tennis against me, because they want to obviously play - show their best game.

But, yeah, still, I think I have good chance. I've been working really hard, and this hard work gives results. So, you know, next week I have time to, you know, a little bit relax, recover, and also prepare on the grass before Eastbourne and Wimbledon.


Q. We hear a lot about your team. We don't know very much about your parents, and they've chosen to kind of stay in the background. Is that their choice or yours? How did you come to that decision?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: No, it's their choice. They really - they always supported me, maximum. My mom travels with me most of the time, but they don't like to give interviews or to be, you know, in the media. They like to keep aside and, yeah, support me from the back a little bit.

They leave it up to me, you know, to my coaches to do the right job. They're always there, you know, to support me and give me the best possible advice.


Q. Do you think that made you more independent?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Obviously, you know, it makes you stronger. My parents never forced me into anything. You know, they always supported my decisions, and I think it's important, because you get - when you're on court, first of all, you have to make your own decisions.

So in some way it makes me much, much stronger. And also, since I was very young, I started travelling and my mom came often with me, which was great thing. And, yeah, she's like my best friend, too.


Q. Very historic day. Was it comforting to look and see Henin sitting, watching the match rather than across the net as she was last year? I don't know if you're feeling better about that? You got over that pretty easily, didn't you?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yeah. I mean, many, many people ask me, "Oh, you want to forget the last year's final?" But I don't, because it was great learning-experience. Obviously it hurted [sic] at the time and it hurted after, but she's a great champion. I lost to great champion and I learned a lot from her, from the way she handled herself in that final.

You know, seeing her today in the crowd, you know, it made me feel really, really good, you know. I thought, you know, maybe I can be like her: I can win a title. So it was really thrilling when she also handed me the trophy.


Q. Has the forehand always been a natural stroke for you? It's a wonderful stroke.

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Thanks.


Q. Has that always been pretty much part of you?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yeah, since I was a kid, I always had that forehand, and I always hit it very hard. My father used to say always, "If you could play that forehand under the line to go, that would be my favourite shot." Because I always tried to hit it so hard.


Q. Novak was the first Serbian to win a Grand Slam in singles [second - Monica Seles was the first]. You were the first Serbian to be No.1 [second - Monica Seles was the first]. Is there some kind of competition between you, the Serbians, Jelena, too?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Competition came natural, hasn't it?

Yeah, I mean, it's great achievement from him. Like I said, you know, going into today's final, I thought of his victory, you know, earlier this year, and I thought, you know, "Why not? I can win a title, as well."

It's something that will motivates us, you know, and I'm sure he will also reach his goal of being No.1, you know, one day. He has great potential.

Jelena, on the other hand, she also is a great girl, and I really hope she can achieve her dreams.


Q. One of the most worrying moments for you was when you stood on that chair at the end and climbed into the VIP box. Obviously meant a lot to you to get into the box. Who was there for you to greet?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: I tried to call them to help me to come up, but they were hugging each other. I was like, "Hey, what about me?"

But then I had to take it, you know, my possibility to climb over that chair. I don't know what I was doing. I just tried to get to them as soon as I could.

My brother was there, my fitness-coach and my family. Everyone I could I hugged - doesn't matter who it was.


Q. Were you surprised to see Henin there during the match? And what did she say to you afterwards?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yeah, definitely I was surprised. But at the same time, I was glad to see her there. She's a great champion. She won this tournament so many times.

When she handed me the trophy, it was, you know, very thrilling moment, as well. She said, "Well done. You really deserve it." It meant a lot to me.


Q. Dinara today, when she was on the centre court, she looked, in a way, the way you were there in front of Justine [Henin] last year with the lack of experience or lack of Grand Slam final. Did you think about that, and did you feel much more confident saying, "Now it's me in Justine's place and she's a newcomer"? Did it give you a belief right in the beginning? And the second thing, do you really feel you're the happiest woman today on the earth?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: That's for sure. I think so. Obviously when I was in the court, I realised, you know, she was nervous. I try also to look back at the way I felt last year, and it made me more calm, because I had those experience and I went through that.

It was great learning-experience, so, you know, I tried to think about those things, too. Because obviously there is so many emotions within yourself, that you're thinking of, and it's very easy to forget what other person feels.

And most of the time, they're nervous, too, so this is what I had to work hard on and to realise that she had probably feels more nervous than I do.

That's something that gave me a lot of confidence, you know, and strength to step up in some important points.


Q. It's a great achievement to win. You're incredibly happy. Sometimes people look forward and they say, "Well, what comes next?" Are you at all concerned or afraid of what the future looks like for someone who's gotten so big so quickly?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: You know, future comes soon enough, so why worry about that? Yeah, it's just a great moment for me.

Like I said, I felt I came a long way since first two tournaments on clay [this year]. I learned a lot from that, and it was some tough times. But when you go through these things, it makes you stronger.

So I learned a lot from it, and I feel like I found the tools that helped me to be in the moment when I'm on the court.

Like I said, you know, some days it's much harder to do than others. Still, you know, I feel this will help me in the future. Obviously, you know, being No.1 now holds more pressure. But you're also a professional athlete, and if you want to achieve your goals, you have to learn how to handle the pressure and realise that pressure is also kind reward, because you put yourself to in a position to doing something memorable.


Q. While in the press-room, we are discussing if you are the best-looking woman who has ever won the tournament. I want you to know that you have already beaten the stats of Justine Henin, because last year she say 14 times, "Allez". You say 17 times today, "Ajde". Even in the middle of the night, sometimes you wake up and you turn and you say, "Ajde"?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: I'm sure tonight I will, if I sleep at all.


Q. When you did you start to say "Ajde"? Since you were five years old?

ANA IVANOVIĆ: Yes. Yeah, I think it dates long time back. But, yeah, it just comes natural actually. Lately I say quite few "Come ons" as well, because I'm working with coaches that I speak English with, and people back home: I don't think they like that that much. No, it's something I think of a little bit.


2.6 Safina's press-conference
-----------------------------

Source: www.rolandgarros.com


THE MODERATOR: Questions in English first, please.


Q. Do you think the key was your serve, your nerves, or what else?

DINARA SAFINA: Well, yeah, normally I make many free points with my serve. But as I started, I already struggle from my... I would say quarter - no, third [fourth] round, against Maria [Sharapova].

But still, against Maria, I was serving pretty good in the crucial moments. But after, with Elena [Dementieva], I was not serving well, so...


Q. Even when you were 3-5 down and a set down, everybody was expecting you to make another fantastic comeback. Did you believe that you could come back at that stage?

DINARA SAFINA: This time? I tried, but I was... I didn't have any more of that fire that I had those matches. I was just, I think, tired, like also mental and physically.

Even if I would want, but my heart couldn't and my body couldn't do it anymore.


Q. How were you feeling this morning coming to the final? Obviously you thought you were tired already, but were you nervous?

DINARA SAFINA: No, I was a bit nervous, but then once I stepped on the court, no, actually I felt pretty good. I found myself on the court.

But just as I said, if I would be just a little bit fresher, it would be different, because I spent way too much hours like for those two matches against Maria and Elena. Two comebacks, because comebacks always take so much heart and mentally.

With her [Ana], I had to be really aggressive. It was just missing just a little bit more reaction, a little bit come closer to the ball. Of course, she was much fresher and she could do - what I had to do to her, she was doing this to me.


Q. Obviously it hasn't been very long, but it was your first Grand Slam final. That's always a big occasion. Looking back, how would you sum it up?

DINARA SAFINA: Well, I mean, if somebody would tell me before - after how bad I had beginning of the season - and somebody would tell me, "you'll be winning the Tier I tournament and being in the final of the Grand Slam," I'd say, "God, are you kidding or what? What you talking about?"

But I would say only one thing: that my coach, he believed in me. Even I had such bad losses, he was still like: he would tell me, "No, you're a good player. Just keep working. We still have improve some little details, and you will be there." He was really like the one who was pushing me day by day, and I want to thank him for this.

And now I'm in the final, so I just want to take all the experience that I had, and just to even work harder. Because now I believe in everything, so I just want to be even more tough on myself. I mean, like most - not tough, but like perfectionist and to keep going.


Q. Did Justine [Henin] say anything to you at the ceremony?

DINARA SAFINA: Well, she just said, "Keep on going." But definitely I will not stop, and push even harder now.


Q. I didn't notice Marat [Safin] in your box. Is he here today?

DINARA SAFINA: No, he's not here. Somehow I thought that he might come, but unfortunately he didn't came.


Q. Were you surprised to see Justine in the crowd today? Did you know that she was going to be there?

DINARA SAFINA: No, I didn't know, but then I saw her. They were showing before we went on court on TV, so - I mean, four-time winner Grand Slam [7 Slams including 4 French Opens], I think she deserved to sit there.


Q. Did it make any difference to you the way you felt on court, having somebody like that watching?

DINARA SAFINA: Not really, no. I'm not...


Q. So what is your goal now for yourself in Wimbledon, and for the rest of the year?

DINARA SAFINA: No, the goal going to be stay healthy and keep up the same work that I've been doing. Just give 100% every day, like I've been doing. There's nothing else.

But I think the most important is the health. If you are healthy, you can do many things, but when there's no health, doesn't matter how you put your goals.

So just healthy and enjoying the life.


Q. Can you talk a little bit about the last game of the first set? Because you had just come back to 4-all, but at the end, she seemed to be taking a lot of control of the points.

DINARA SAFINA: I won a good game, being 40/Love down on her serve, and then I still came back. I made 4-all, and there I just gave cheap points I shouldn't have done.

I mean, first point of my serve was 4-all. Didn't even move on that ball. And again, cheap point. I still came back 30/all, and then again, cheap point.

So at this stage, I had somehow to stick to that game and win it. Of course, even at 5-4, I think I had like Love/15, 15/30, break-point, another break-point, and I just was not aggressive.

I could not - even I knew where she going to serve, but still I was coming so slow to that ball. So I was not even getting any pressure on her serve.


Q. Was it nerves or tiredness?

DINARA SAFINA: I would say it was more tiredness, because I saw the ball, where it goes. I see, but body just didn't go.


Q. As a doubles-player, you have won a Grand Slam by now. Are you going to go on with doubles, or just more only your individual career?

DINARA SAFINA: Wait. It's just the first final that I did, so God knows how I'm going to continue. But if I'm going to continue like this, of course I'm going to stop with doubles.

Because for me, I'm a singles-player; I'm not doubles-player. Don't take me wrong. I was playing doubles just as - I was not playing enough singles-matches, so I wanted to play some doubles at least to find or to work on some specific things.

But now I have, I think, a pretty good base in singles, so I just want to improve my singles and keep going.


2.7 Articles
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Ivanović takes opening set in French women's final (Reuters)
By Julien Pretot (Editing by Clare Fallon)
>>>
Serbian Ana Ivanović took a first step towards her maiden Grand Slam title when she won the opening set 6-4 in the French Open final against Russian 13th seed Dinara Safina on Saturday.

Last year's finalist Ivanović, who will become world number-one on Monday, converted three of her four break-points to take the upper hand as both players struggled in their service-games.

With just-retired four-times champion Justine Henin watching from the stands, the second-seeded Ivanović pushed Safina far behind her baseline, and the Russian found herself trailing 1-4.

Marat Safin's sister, however, pulled a break back in the sixth game, then held serve to love under threatening skies.

In the eighth game, she rallied from 0/40, winning five points in a row to level the contest, but the 20-year-old Serbian went another break up.

After saving a break-point with a flat-hit forehand, Ivanović bagged the set on her second opportunity when Safina put a backhand long.
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Ivanović wins French for first Grand Slam (Reuters)
By Julien Pretot (editing by Clare Fallon)
>>>
Serbia's Ana Ivanović claimed her maiden Grand Slam title when she beat Russian 13th seed Dinara Safina 6-4 6-3 in the French Open final on Saturday.

The 20-year-old second seed became the first woman representing Serbia to win a Major-title.

Last year's finalist Ivanović, who will become world number-one on Monday, was too powerful for Marat Safin's younger sister, sealing a straightforward victory after one hour, 38 minutes.

"This was amazing. I still didn't believe it could happen," Ivanović said in a courtside interview.

"I think we both played a nervous match, we both had lots of chances, and I am just happy I kept my composure at the end.

"Last year's final was a great learning-experience for me, so I am just so thrilled."

Safina, who was playing her first Grand Slam final, added: "It was a great experience; I hope I can come back here next year."

With just-retired four-times champion Justine Henin watching from the stands, the Serbian pushed Safina far behind her baseline, and the Russian found herself trailing 4-1 in the opening set.

Safina, however, pulled a break back in the sixth game, then held serve to love under threatening skies.

In the eighth game, she rallied from 0/40, winning five points in a row to level the contest, but the 20-year-old Serbian went another break up.

After saving a break-point with a flat forehand, Ivanović bagged the set after 45 minutes on her second opportunity when Safina put a backhand long.

Ivanović won a 26-stroke rally in the third game of the second set, taking the game on Safina's serve. She watched her opponent smash a racket on the red dirt, and held serve.

Safina, who came from match-point down in her fourth-round and quarter-final matches against compatriots Maria Sharapova and Elena Dementieva, could not fight back this time, bowing out with a missed forehand.
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Beaming Ivanović achieves lifetime goal in Paris (Reuters)
By Simon Cambers (editing by John Mehaffey)
>>>
A beaming Ana Ivanović said she had achieved a lifetime-goal by winning her first Grand Slam title at the French Open on Saturday.

The 20-year-old, beaten in the final last year and runner-up at the Australian Open in January, defeated Russian Dinara Safina 6-4 6-3 to become the first Grand Slam singles-winner representing Serbia [second - Monica Seles was the first].

"I feel so happy, I have no words to describe that," Ivanović told reporters between smiles. "Winning a Grand Slam title is something I dreamed of since I was a little kid, so achieving that goal, it's very thrilling.

"You work so hard, off the court, on the court, and you put so much effort into it. I love the game and I enjoy playing, so this is the best reward I can get."

Twelve months ago, Ivanović was overcome by nerves as she folded in the final at Roland Garros against Justine Henin.

In January, she again struggled to cope in the final of the Australian Open, when she was beaten by Maria Sharapova.

On Saturday, though, Ivanović held her nerve when Safina threatened to wrest the first set from her grasp after recovering from 1-4 down to level at 4-4.

After pinching the first set, the Serbian kept her cool to ease to victory.

TOUGH LOSS

She said the experience of losing in Paris and Melbourne had helped her to win this time.

"[Australia] was a very tough loss for me, and I had a few sleepless nights after that, honestly," Ivanović said.

"But it's something I learned from. So this time, I really tried not to think about that at all, and just focus on my game.

Ivanović, who will be confirmed as the new world number-one when the rankings are released on Monday, was presented with the trophy by Henin after the Belgian watched the match from the stands.

That, Ivanović said, was the icing on the cake.

"Seeing her today in the crowd made me feel really, really good," Ivanović said. "I thought, 'maybe I can be like her: I can win a title.' So it was really thrilling when she also handed me the trophy.

"This title is very important for me, because that was my dream for a long time. Reaching number one before I played this match in the final was a great award. But when you're on the court, you have to play your game, and rankings speak for themselves."

Ivanović said she was now looking forward to Wimbledon, starting on 23rd June. When asked if she would be able to handle the pressure that comes with being world number-one and a Grand Slam winner, she had a simple response.

"The future comes soon enough, so why worry about it?" she said.
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Beaten Safina says she ran out of steam in final (Reuters)
By Simon Cambers (editing by John Mehaffey)
>>>
Dinara Safina said she had simply run out of steam after her first experience of a Grand Slam final ended in a 6-4 6-3 defeat by Serbian second seed Ana Ivanović on Saturday.

The Russian battled hard in the first set, but eventually faded in the second as Ivanović took her first Grand Slam title.

Safina, who had beaten three top-ten seeds - Maria Sharapova, Elena Dementieva and Svetlana Kuznetsova - and saved match-point in two of them on her way to the final, said fatigue had been a key factor.

"I didn't have any more of that fire that I had in those matches," Safina told reporters. "I was just, I think, tired, mental and physically.

"Even though I wanted to, my heart couldn't and my body couldn't do it anymore.

"If I had been just a little bit fresher, it would have been different, because I spent way too many hours for those two matches against Maria and Elena, because comebacks always take so much heart and mental strength."

Safina fought back from 1-4 down in the first set to level at 4-4, but once Ivanović had taken it, the Russian never looked like recovering.

"With her, I had to be really aggressive," Safina said. "I was just missing by just a little bit, and of course, she was much fresher. What I had to do to her, she was doing to me."

Despite the defeat, Safina, who is projected to equal her career-high ranking of ninth when the new list is released on Monday, said she now believed she belonged on the big stage.

"If somebody had told me before, after how bad a beginning of the season I had, that I would be winning a Tier I tournament and being in the final of a Grand Slam, I'd say, 'God, are you kidding? What you talking about?,'" Safina said.

"Now I have been in the final, so I just want to take all the experience that I had and just to even work harder. Because now I believe in everything, so I just want to be a perfectionist and to keep going."

Safina's one other regret was that her brother, twice Grand Slam winner Marat Safin, had not been in the stands to support her.

"He was not here. Somehow I thought that he might come, but unfortunately he didn't," she said.
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Ivanović wins French Open (PA SportsTicker)
>>>
Ana Ivanović is the French Open champion and the new world No.1.

The second-seeded Serbian captured her first Grand Slam title on Saturday with a 6-4 6-3 win over No. 13 Dinara Safina of Russia in the final of the claycourt Major.

The win caps a memorable week for the Ivanović, who learned after her semi-final victory here on Thursday that she will overtake Maria Sharapova as the WTA's top player when the updated rankings are released on Monday.

"Back home as a kid, when I would ride my bike to practice, I would dream about this," said Ivanović, the first Serbian woman to win a Major-title [second - Monica Seles was the first]. "I'm just excited to have this title for my country, and it was a very emotional day."

This is the seventh title overall and second this season for Ivanović, who takes home $1.57 million in prizemoney.

The 20-year-old had reached two previous Grand Slam finals, but lost both in straight sets. She was runner-up to former No.1 Justine Henin here last year, and lost to Sharapova in January's Australian Open final.

"I was really happy in the key moments that I was able to stay strong and calm," said Ivanović, who was clearly shaky in last year's loss to Henin. "The last two Grand Slams were a great learning-experience for me.

"And I'm only 20 and this was my third final, so that kept some pressure off me. I was just trying to enjoy it and that's what I did today. I just tried to focus on my tennis and not the occasion."

Safina, meanwhile, was in her maiden Grand Slam championship, having reached this point with consecutive upsets over the top-seeded Sharapova, No.7 Elena Dementieva and fourth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova.

In her three-set victories over Sharapova and Dementieva, she was down 2-5 in the second set, and survived a match-point before emerging a winner.

"I was feeling pretty good today, but a little tired mentally and physically because I had so many tough matches," Safina said. "I wanted to do more, but my body could not do any more."

Though she posted two remarkable comebacks at Roland Garros, Safina conceded that she knew her run was over in later stages of the match.

"This time I tried [to come back], but I don't think I had the fire that I had in those others matches," she said. "Even if my heart wanted to, my body just could not do it anymore. If I could have been just a little fresher it would be different, but I spent too many hours on the court in those two matches against Maria and Elena."

Safina's older brother, Marat Safin, is a two-time Grand Slam champion and former world No.1. The pair would have become the only brother-sister combination in the Open Era to have each won a Major-championship had Safina won.

"She deserved to win," Safina said. "It was her third time [in a Major-final] and it was her time."

Admittedly troubled by nerves in last year's championship-match loss to Henin, Ivanović appeared confident in the early going as she broke Safina in the opening game, and again in the fifth to forge a 4-1 lead.

Safina, however, displayed the grit that has gotten her to this point by securing consecutive breaks to knot things at 4-4.

Ivanović responded with her third break of the match in ninth game and, after surviving a pair of break-points in her next service-game, closed out the first set with a strong forehand that forced an off-balance Safina to lift a return-shot long.

The second set turned in the third game when Ivanović broke serve to forge a 2-1 lead. Safina led 40/30 in the game, but Ivanović forced deuce when she punctuated a long rally by chasing down a dropshot and chipping a crosscourt winner almost parallel to the net.

She clinched the match with her fifth break of Safina, who, at championship-point, failed to get enough of her racquet on a forehand return from the right side.

Ivanović crouched and covered her face with her hands upon winning, and then climbed into the stands to celebrate with her family.

"I feel so happy, I have no word to describe it," Ivanović said. "Winning a Grand Slam is something I've dreamed about since I was a little kid, and achieving that goal is thrilling."

"You work so hard on the court and off the court and put so much effort into it, and I love the game and love playing, so this is the best reward you can get. It's my incentive to keep working hard and win more of these trophies."

Henin, the three-time defending champion of this event, was on hand to present Ivanović with the first-place trophy. Last month, the 26-year-old Henin became the first player ranked No.1 to retire from the game.

Coincidentally, her announcement came days after losing in Berlin to Safina, who went on to win that claycourt-event.

"With how bad I played in the beginning of the season, if someone would have told me you would be winning a Tier I tournament and being in the final of a Grand Slam, I would have said, ‘Are you kidding me or what?'" Safina said. "This experience makes me want to be even more tough on myself - a perfectionist - and keep going."
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Ivanović crowned queen of Roland Garros (Reuters)
By Pritha Sarkar (editing by Justin Palmer)
>>>
A new French Open era dawned on Saturday as Serbia's Ana Ivanović mesmerised Russian Dinara Safina 6-4 6-3 to win her maiden Grand Slam title.

Ivanović's triumph confirmed her status as the new number one in women's tennis, and made amends for her nerve-ridden display of 12 months ago, when she won just three games in the final against Justine Henin.

Since Henin announced her retirement 24 days ago, Ivanović had been tipped as the Belgian's heir-apparent. On Saturday, she proved that the Roland Garros crown was a perfect fit.

Aptly, Henin was on hand to mark the changing of the guard by handing over the trophy to the new queen of women's tennis.

"As a kid, when I used to go by bike to practise, I used to dream of this... it's just been amazing," Ivanović, the first woman representing Serbia to win a Major-title [second - Monica Seles was the first], told the crowd.

For Safina, it was a disappointing end to what had been a remarkable two weeks. Seeded 13th, she rolled over three top-ten players to reach the final of a Major for the first time.

The run had included saving match-points against the now-dethroned world number-one Maria Sharapova in the fourth round and seventh seed Elena Dementieva in the quarter-finals.

However, on Saturday she could not manage another great escape.

"I didn't have any more of that fire that I had in those matches, I was just tired, mentally and physically," said Safina, who was trying to join her brother Marat in the Grand Slam winner's circle.

"Even though I wanted to, my heart couldn't and my body couldn't do it anymore."

Second seed Ivanović stepped on court looking pretty in pink and wearing a white sun visor — perhaps in anticipation of the sun that never broke through the menacing storm-clouds hovering over Philippe Chatrier Court.

But sun or no sun, it was Ivanović's day to shine.

Safina dropped her serve in the first and fifth games to trail 1-4 in the opening set - and in doing so, appeared to lose her self-control.

Safina missed a forehand; she whacked her racket against her shoe. She double-faulted; the racket was bounced on court. Ivanović hit a winner, and Safina raised her arm high as if to smash her racket to the ground, but thought better of it.

The Russian managed to calm down her nerves to claw back to 4-4, producing a scorching backhand down-the-line winner on break-point, but her respite was short-lived.

WILD ERRORS

Ivanović pounced in the next game, capitalising on three Safina errors, to once again nose ahead. With Ivanović serving for the set, Safina had two chances to draw level, but both went begging, and an over-cooked backhand gifted the Serb the set.

The 20-year-old celebrated with her trademark fist-pump. Her cry of "ajde" soon followed.

The Russian's forehand was proving to be a double-edged sword, however, producing sizzling winners and wild errors in seemingly equal measure.

Sensing that Safina's famed powers of resilience were crumbling fast, Ivanović turned around a losing cause to win the point of the match.

In the third game of the second set, Safina had Ivanović on the run during a 26-shot rally which then turned into the players trading sky-high shots. The Russian moved into the net to finish off the point with an angled winner, only to see the Serb flash a backhand volley past her outstretched racket.

Safina's racket felt the full force of her anger, and Ivanović went on to break four points later.

If Safina had any fight left in her, she lost it in the seventh game, which lasted for 13 minutes. Seven deuces, three double faults and a crying child in the crowd only added to her frustration.

Six minutes later, it was all over. After a scrambling Safina shovelled the ball into the net, Ivanović dropped her racket, crouched behind the baseline, and covered her face in disbelief.

She then faced her first hurdle of the day when she tried to follow a tradition set by Pat Cash at Wimbledon 21 years ago — but eventually managed to clamber through the VIP stands to share her moment of triumph with her family and friends.
<<<

Ivanović beats Safina in straight sets to win French Open
By Howard Fendrich: AP Tennis Writer
>>>
At last, Ana Ivanović overcame her stage-fright.

In two previous Major-finals, Ivanović was so overwhelmed by the setting, so shaken by the stakes, that her focus fell apart and her shots went awry.

Not on this day.

Already assured of rising to No.1 in the rankings for the first time, Ivanović collected Grand Slam title No.1 by beating Dinara Safina 6-4 6-3 in the French Open final on Saturday.

Rather than erasing the memories of those lopsided losses in championship-matches against Justine Henin at Roland Garros a year ago and against Maria Sharapova at the Australian Open in January, Ivanović used the bitterness to help her.

"Many, many people ask me, 'Oh, you want to forget last year's final?' But I don't, because it was a great learning-experience," said Ivanović: a 20-year-old from Serbia.

She won only three games against Henin, then eight against Sharapova, and said of the latter defeat: "I had a few sleepless nights after that."

But in the months since, Ivanović realised this: part of her difficulty in those matches rested with either looking ahead — "Hey, maybe I can actually win this thing," she was thinking against Henin — or looking behind — failing to put a few key points out of her mind against Sharapova.

Ivanović lost two consecutive matches on clay before coming to Paris, and she knew she had to change something. She credits her strength- and conditioning-coach, Scott Byrnes, with helping find what she called a "tool" to make sure she stays focused on the court.

And it couldn't be simpler: take the time to pause and breathe.

"My personality is I tend too much to think about what will be, and try to think too much in advance, which is definitely not too good," Ivanović said. "So I found that breathing helps me to go back in a moment and just enjoy that very moment."

That's what carried her through the tightest of times against the 13th-seeded Safina: the younger sister of two-time Major-champion Marat Safin.

Ivanović was a point from taking a 5-1 lead in the first set when Safina showed some spark, using a running forehand winner and a swinging volley winner to get to break-point. Ivanović then dumped a forehand into the net, and 10 minutes later, when Safina smacked a backhand winner down the line, suddenly the score was 4-4.

"It was tough, because a lot of emotions build up inside," said Ivanović, who was seeded No.2 behind Sharapova at the French Open, but will pass her in Monday's rankings. "All of a sudden, you're equal again. So to keep my composure at that point — it was huge for me."

In the very next game, Ivanović broke back with a backhand winner of her own, then pumped her fist and let out one of her many yelps of "ajde!" (sounds like "HIGH-deh!"): Serbian for "Come on!"

There were more tests to come.

Trying to serve out the first set, Ivanović faced two break-points, and squandered a set-point, before closing it out with her signature-shot: a forehand. That was part of a run in which Ivanović took five of six games to go ahead 3-1 in the second set.

The final instance in which nerves might have come into play was in the seventh game of the second set: a 20-point tussle in which Ivanović wasted two break-points and Safina blew five game-points. Adding to the tension, Safina kept backing out of her serving-motion because the sobs of a child crying in the upper deck could be heard throughout the stadium. Eventually, Safina held to cut Ivanović's lead to 4-3.

Potentially uplifting for Safina. Potentially déjŕ vu for Ivanović.

"Mental games out there today," Ivanović said.

She remembered to stop and breathe and played with aplomb down the stretch, winning eight of the next nine points to end the match.

"Once you are on the court — it's much easier said than done — but you have to be a killer," Ivanović said through a wide smile. "You have to put them under pressure, and show your presence and stuff."

It might have helped on Saturday that the recently-retired Henin was in the front row in a red jacket - not on the court wielding a racket.

Safina sure can wallop the ball, but she's hardly as complete a player as four-time French Open champion Henin, and never made it past the quarter-finals at any Grand Slam tournament until this one.

Nonetheless, Safina was trying to become the first woman to win a Major-title after having saved a match-point against two opponents. Against both Sharapova in the fourth round, and No.7 Elena Dementieva in the quarter-finals, Safina trailed by a set and 2-5 in the second set, then was a point from losing at 3-5, before coming all the way back to complete the upsets.

Those were part of a 12-match winning-streak Safina carried into Saturday, including six victories over top-ten opponents.

"This time? I tried," Safina said, "but I didn't have any more of that fire."

When it was over, Ivanović stood on a line-judge's chair to climb into the stands for hugs and kisses with her parents, her brother and other supporters.

She spoke afterward about the days when she rode her bicycle to practice, thinking of being a champion one day. Those dreams might have seemed far away when, growing up in a war-torn land, Ivanović honed her tennis-skills in the winter by practising on the floor of a drained indoor swimming-pool.

This is the second consecutive Grand Slam tournament with a champion from her nation of 7.5 million people. Novak Đoković won the men's title at the Australian Open.

"I said, 'Come on, he could do it — I could do it, too.' So it's something that for sure motivates," Ivanović said, "and I hope also many young kids will get inspired from us."
<<<

Ivanović romps to French Open glory (AFP)
>>>
Serbia's Ana Ivanović won the French Open on Saturday - her first Grand Slam title - by ending Dinara Safina's heroic run to the final and crowning her elevation to the world number-one spot in style.

Ivanović won 6-4 6-3 as Russian 13th seed Safina saw her hopes of joining big brother Marat as a Grand Slam champion dashed.

For the second-seeded pin-up, it was third time lucky after she had lost both her previous Major-finals: to Justine Henin here 12 months ago and Maria Sharapova at the Australian Open in January.

"It was an amazing experience and I still don't realise that I have won it," said 20-year-old Ivanović, who celebrated her victory with an acrobatric climb into the VIP box to embrace her coaching-team and family.

"It was a very nervous match with lots of chances, but I was able to keep my composure until the end. I am very thrilled to be the champion. When I was a kid, going to practise on my bicycle, I used to dream about this moment.

"Dinara gave me a tough match, and I'm sure we will have many more finals."

Safina had reached her first Grand Slam final in dramatic fashion, putting out top seed Sharapova and seventh seed Elena Dementieva in earlier rounds.

In both ties, the 22-year-old Safina had been a set and 2-5 down before carving out memorable wins, saving a match-point in each.

"Ana deserved to win. After losing two finals, it was her turn today," said the Russian. "But it's been a great experience."

The Russian, who had spent two more hours than Ivanović getting to the title-match, endured a nerve-wracking start to the final, being broken twice to quickly slip 1-4 down before fighting back to 4-4 with two breaks of her own.

A year ago, Ivanović suffered numbing stage-fright on her Grand Slam final début, winning just three games against four-time winner Henin.

With the recently-retired world number-one now looking on from the VIP enclosure on Court Philippe Chatrier, Ivanović stopped the rot to break back to lead 5-4.

The 20-year-old wasted a first set-point, but wrapped up the opener after 45 minutes when Safina, pinned behind the baseline, slapped a backhand high and long.

Ivanović, finding depth and power with her confident, accurate groundstrokes, broke a lacklustre Safina again to take a 2-1 lead in the second set, which became 3-1 thanks to a love service-game.

She held another shaky service to lead 4-2, while Safina overcame her fourth and fifth double faults of the match to hold in the seventh game.

But the battling Russian finally ran out of steam in the ninth game when she handed her opponent three match-points, with the title gratefully gobbled up when an Ivanović return died at her feet after 1hr 38mins on court.
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Ivanović wins French Open for first Slam title (AP)
>>>
This time, Ana Ivanović was ready for the French Open final.

Showing no sign of the nerves that afflicted her a year ago, Ivanović won her first Grand Slam title on Saturday by beating Dinara Safina 6-4 6-3.

By reaching the final, Ivanović had already assured herself of being ranked No.1 for the first time next week. And her performance was No.1-calibre against Safina.

The 20-year-old Serb slugged winners from both sides, and scurried to make saves that extended points, which led to plenty of entertaining rallies. Ivanović won most of them, including one frantic exchange that she finished off with a delicate dropshot and ferocious fist-pump.

A shaky Ivanović played in her first Major-final a year ago at Roland Garros, and won only three games from Justine Henin. But against Safina, she was as cool as the 65-degree weather, showing hardly a bead of perspiration even after sprinting corner to corner to retrieve shots.

Ivanović won match-point with a solid backhand. After blowing kisses to the crowd, she used a chair to climb into the stands and share hugs with family and friends.

Henin, a four-time French Open champion who retired last month while ranked No.1, watched and applauded from the front row.

Ivanović's worst moment came serving at 3-4 in the first set, when she squandered a 40/love lead by losing the next five points. She quickly regrouped and won five of the next six games to take command.

First-time Grand Slam finalist Safina fended off a match-point in consecutive rounds this week, rallying each time after she lost the first set and trailed 2-5 in the second.

But the Russian ran out of comebacks. She needed 20 points to hold for 3-4 in the second set, and from 15/15 in the next game, Ivanović swept the last seven points.

The final was the third in the past five Major-tournaments for Ivanović. She was runner-up at this year's Australian Open.

The No.13-seeded Safina was trying to join her brother, two-time Grand Slam champion Marat Safin, in winning a Major-title. They're the first sister and brother to reach a Grand Slam final.
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Ivanović overcomes demons to clinch first Grand Slam title
By Drew Lilley (www.rolandgarros.com)
>>>
For the second year in a row, Ana Ivanović put in a nervous performance in the final, but this time around, she managed to conquer her demons and emerge victorious over her equally unsteady opponent, Dinara Safina, in straight sets: 6-4 6-3.

Both players racked up as many unforced errors as flashing winners, but the Serbian's greater experience after two previous Grand Slam final-defeats eventually enabled her to grind out a victory against the Russian No.13 seed, who will surely rue her missed chances for a long time to come.

The two finalists took very different routes to Saturday's showdown. While Ivanović coasted through the first five rounds averaging barely an hour a match before being made to work by fellow Serb Jelena Janković in the semis, Safina did things the hard way. Against No.1 seed Maria Sharapova in the round of 16 and Elena Dementieva in the quarters, she was forced to battle back from a set down, and indeed saved match-points in both.

Ivanović was therefore very much the favourite coming into the final, albeit with the pressure of her imminent crowning as WTA No.1 on Monday after Justine Henin's retirement and Sharapova's early demise this week, and her somewhat ignominious defeat here in last year's final to Henin, when she froze on the big stage. There was also the added danger of Safina's recent run of form: 12 consecutive wins, six of them over top-ten players, and a title on clay in Berlin to boot.

As was the case in Ivanović's semi-final, the first set was a game of two halves. 15 minutes in and the Serb was 4-1 up and coasting, showing no signs of any weaknesses either mental or physical. She clearly had a game-plan, knowing exactly where to position herself on her opponent's second service, and punishing anything that was short with her trademark smooth, powerful forehand. Dina, meanwhile, was alternating the good with the bad: her first six service-points, for example, being three winners and three unforced errors.

The bad outweighed the good from the Russian, forcing her to try more superstitious measures: asking the ballkids to return certain balls to her, or even sending balls back up to the other end of the court at the end of a point so that Ivanović would potentially serve with them. Perhaps it was this that worked, as Ana's two-break advantage evaporated as quickly as she had crafted it. Her 2007 demons came back to haunt her, with any shot above shoulder-height – including her own service – suddenly becoming a trial.

Safina rode the wave of Ivanović unsteadiness as far as 4-4, at which point she became the de facto favourite and herself began to crumble under pressure. Ana pounced on her opponent's suddenly weakened service, and then held her own despite a few incredibly nervous deuces, and the first set was in the bag 6-4.

The Russian knew that she had let her opponent off the hook, and despite holding to love to open and playing some incredibly attacking tennis through the second set, it was as if she realised that the chance had gone. Ivanović, meanwhile, metamorphosed into a clay-court defender, scurrying across the baseline in a display more reminiscent of Rafael Nadal and waiting for Safina to make a mistake. And make mistakes the Russian certainly did, constantly haranguing herself, her entourage and anyone within earshot as shots flew long or wide.

The match ended up hinging on two mammoth-games in the middle of the set, where Dinara held her own serve after countless squandered opportunities before carving out literally dozens more on the Serbian's serve next up, only to come up just short this time. Having spent her last bullets, the Russian folded and conceded the final two games in a blur, with Ivanović racing up into the stands to embrace her entourage after the final point.

Henin, champion here in 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2007, was on hand to present the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen to her successor in a ceremony that represented the changing of the guard in women's tennis. And after today's final, she may well be tempted to dust her racquet off and get her shoes back on. The Belgian's mantle as the new millennium's queen of clay is safe for a good while yet at least, but Ivanović will take heart that the monkey is off her back, and no doubt go from strength to strength now that she has her first Grand Slam title to her name.
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Major Mark: New No.1 Ivanović wins first Slam-title
By Kamakshi Tandon (Tennis.com)
>>>
It was a moment that perfectly captured the steep and rapid climb Ana Ivanović has made to the top of women's tennis in the past year.

Just 12 months ago, she had stood on the same platform as a surprise finalist who had been so overcome with nerves that she managed just three games against top seed Justine Henin. This time around, Ivanović is a fresly-minted No.1 who prevailed 6-4 6-3 to win her maiden Grand Slam title against another surprise finalist: Dinara Safina. And it was Henin, who retired suddenly a few weeks ago, who was now placing the French Open trophy in her hands for the first time.

"When she handed me the trophy, it was a very thrilling moment," said Ivanović, who had not known the Belgian was going to be present for the final. "She said, 'Well done, you really deserve it.' It meant a lot to me."

This tournament marks a major milestone for the Serb. She came into Paris as the tour's bridesmaid but leaves as its newest pedigree player, joining Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Lindsay Davenport and Amélie Mauresmo in an elite group of active players who have won a Grand Slam and been ranked No.1.

Ivanović, 20, clinched the No.1 ranking after a fierce battle with compatriot and rival Jelena Janković in the semi-finals, becoming the 17th WTA player to hold the top spot and the first Serbian to do so [second - Monica Seles was the first]. Two days later, she has become the first Serbian woman to win a Grand Slam [second - Monica Seles was the first], and the second Serbian player to do so after Novak Đoković's victory at the Australian Open in January.

The title also helps put aside doubts about Ivanović's mental strength. Questions about whether the sweet-natured Serb was too nice to win big titles increased earlier this year, after she again struggled to produce a good performance against Sharapova in the Australian Open final.

But Ivanović believes her experiences against Henin in Paris and Sharapova in Melbourne helped her to be ready for Saturday's match. "Obviously there was a lot of emotions inside, but till the last point, I tried to not think about the occasion and just focus on my tennis," she said. "So I was really happy I managed to do that today.

The tournament also marked a significant achievement for losing finalist Safina. By winning her first Tier I event in Berlin last month, and now reaching her first Grand Slam final in Paris, she has shaken off some of her reputation for being a player unable to produce consistent performances. "I just want to take all the experience that I had and just to even work harder," said Safina. "Because now I believe in everything, so I just want to be even more tough on myself."

Having spent most of her career in the shadow of older brother Marat Safin - a two-time Grand Slam champion and former No.1 - 22-year-old Safina went a long way towards establishing her own name at this event. She defeated top seed Sharapova in the fourth round, coming back from a set and 2-5 down and saving a match-point along the way. In the quarter-finals, she again came from a set and 2-5 down against Elena Dementieva, and again saved a match-point. By this time, Safina was fast emerging as the story of the women's event, and set the stage for a storybook-ending by defeating a third straight Russian - Svetlana Kuznetsova - in the semi-finals.

Even though the dream-finish didn't materialise on Saturday, Safina was happy with her breakout clay-season. "After how bad I had [done at the] beginning of the season, [if] somebody would tell me you'll be winning the Tier I tournament and being in the final of the Grand Slam, I'd say, 'God, are you kidding or what?'"

She too was surprised to see Henin, who sat in the front row and was easily spotted in a bright pink blazer. Just as for Ivanović, the Belgian's presence was significant for Safina, whose recent run began when she defeated Henin in the third round of Berlin. It turned out to be the last match of Henin's career.

"She just said, 'Keep on going,'" said Safina. "But definitely I will not stop, and push even harder now."

Ivanović also plans to embrace the increased expectations that will come with her success. "Obviously, being No.1 now holds more pressure," she said. "But you're also a professional athlete, and if you want to achieve your goals you have to learn how to handle the pressure and realise that pressure is also a kind of reward, because you put yourself in a position to do something memorable."

IVANOVIĆ HANGS TOUGH AGAINST TIRING SAFINA

Both players made a clean start to Saturday's match, hitting more winners than errors, and it was Ivanović who capitalised on Safina's subdued serving and quickly went up 4-1 in the first set. But Safina has been the queen of comebacks at this event and hit back once again, and errors began to creep into Ivanović's play as Safina clawed back to 4-4.

The remainder of the set was a battle, with both players playing a scratchy game as Ivanović broke to go up 5-4. Serving to clinch, Ivanović began hitting out freely with her forehand again and found the court enough times to win her first set in a Grand Slam final. "Since I was a kid, I always had that forehand, and I always hit it very hard," said Ivanović.

Ivanović broke again early in the third, and again to finish the match in an hour and 38 minutes, becoming increasingly dominant during the baseline-rallies as Safina tired after her efforts earlier in the week.

But it was still an entertaining match by the insipid standards of recent years - no women's final has gone three sets since 2001.

A long and varied baseline-rally in the third game of the second set drew sustained applause when Ivanović came up with a skilful dropshot to win the point. The two also battled fiercely to hold serve in the sixth and seventh games, with Ivanović hitting a backhand winner to save break-point at 3-2, and giving one of her increasingly frequent fist-pumps.

"It was a huge point, and I was very aware of it," said Ivanović. "I was really happy I stepped up and won that game. That was something that gave me confidence in that second set, because in the beginning of that second set, I thought I lost concentration for a bit."

Safina ended with a whimper, losing the last seven points of the match, and getting broken to love in the final game.

"If I would be just a little bit fresher, it would be different, because I spend way too much hours like for those two matches against Maria and Elena," said Safina.

She said it was tiredness, not nerves, which prevented her from making a stronger showing in her first Grand Slam final. "I was a bit nervous, but then once I stepped on the court, actually I felt pretty good," she said. "It was just missing just a little bit more reaction... she was much fresher and what I had to do to her, she was doing this to me."

Safina described Ivanović's noisy friends box as "a little bit annoying with the 'ajdes' [the Serbian equivalent of 'C'mon']" in her post-match speech, but revealed she also felt a pinprick of disappointment when she glanced up at her own section and didn't see Marat sitting there. "Somehow I thought that he might come, but unfortunately he didn't," Safina shrugged.

Ivanović excused her supporters, saying, "They get as emotional as I do." Not known as a demonstrative player, she has pumped her fist and exhorted herself with 'Ajde!' after nearly every important point during her past couple of matches. "Lately I say quite few 'C'mons' as well, because I'm working with coaches that I speak English with, and people back home I don't think they like that that much," she laughed.

But after the fortnight she's had, no one back home will be complaining any longer.
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Ivanović hopes victory will not change her (Reuters)
By Pritha Sarkar (editing by Dave Thompson)
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Ana Ivanović is the newly-crowned French Open champion, but there are some things even a Grand Slam winner will not do — like risk her chances of getting married.

"I better not sit at the end of this table," she told Reuters as she arrived in a small room underneath the Philippe Chatrier Court less than an hour after her victory.

As she manoeuvred herself away from the narrow end of a white rectangular table, she added: "My grandmother says this old story that if you sit on the end of the table, you'll never get married. It's a weird one..."

Weird or not, she was not about to tempt fate.

Superstitions over, she was ready to reflect on the greatest moment of her life.

"It was very hard to imagine this victory today. It's so, so thrilling and so amazing. I still don't realise what's happened out there," said Ivanović, who beat Dinara Safina on Saturday to become the first woman representing Serbia to win a Major-title [second - Monica Seles was the first].

Despite fitting in countless training-sessions at 7am in a drained swimming-pool during the 1999 NATO bombings in Belgrade, Ivanović admitted it was hard to believe that, less than a decade on, she would own the most important trophy in claycourt-tennis.

"I never thought of it [coming true]. Obviously I dreamt of it, but if it was possible, if it was reality... I wasn't sure," said the 20-year-old champion.

While reaching the French Open final 12 months ago and the Australian Open final in January brought her within one match of making her dream a reality, she admitted another factor played a part.

Twenty-five days ago, Ivanović was getting ready to go on court for her second-round match at the Italian Open in Rome when she suddenly heard that Justine Henin had quit the sport.

While the news was completely unexpected, since Henin would have been the overwhelming favourite to win the Roland Garros title for the fifth time in six years, it gave Ivanović a glimmer of hope.

MATCH LOST

"I started thinking, 'hey maybe I can become number one,' but it was too much for me," said Ivanović, who admitted she was so distracted by the news she ended up losing the match in Rome. "I [then told myself] just forget about it and go back to enjoying the tennis and enjoy competing like I always used to do. Because if you play well, the ranking will come.

"It was very tough for me before coming to Paris, and I really struggled, because I found it really hard to deal with the expectations and the pressure.

"I tried to find something that helps to calm me down and just be in the moment. With my fitness-coach, we worked a lot on breathing and trying control the negative thoughts.

"I was really very proud how I managed to change from two weeks before the tournament and now, so it was a huge step for me."

After fulfilling a life-long dream, Ivanović remained confident that success would not change her.

"Growing up and starting to play on a professional tour, I saw a lot of people change once they've had success," said Ivanović, who will replace Maria Sharapova as the new number-one when the rankings are released on Monday.

"So I always said I really don't want to be that person. I always say to the team around me and to my family, 'look, if I start acting weird, just pinch me and bring me back.' I think it's important to be same person."

Had anyone pinched her yet? "Nope; so far, so good."
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Ivanović Defeats Safina for First Grand Slam Title
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=2323
>>>
Maria Sharapova and Elena Dementieva couldn't finish her off earlier on in the tournament, but on Saturday afternoon, Ana Ivanović was the one who finally ended Dinara Safina's incredible win-streak, and after all was said and done, the world No.2 - who will ascend to No.1 for the first time on the new rankings - won her very first Grand Slam title.

Since winning at Indian Wells in March, Ivanović hadn't been in the best form. She reached the semi-finals of Berlin, but was beaten early at Miami and Rome; but like she has done so many times over the last year, it took one of the world's greatest stages for her to find her best footing. She was tested in the first round against Sofia Arvidsson, but she was barely tested in four straight matches to reach the semi-finals of Roland Garros.

Awaiting the No.2-seeded Ivanović in the penultimate round was No.3 seed Jelena Janković - also from Serbia, and also looking to become the first Serbian woman to win a Grand Slam singles-title [second - Monica Seles was the first] - who pushed Ivanović to the limit for over two hours with her solid clay-court game, even having a 3-1 lead in the third before succumbing 6-4 3-6 6-4. With a win, Janković would have secured No.1.

On the other half of the draw, Safina - seeded No.13, but by no calculations an unlucky pick - was putting together her own movement, blowing past three matches to start, then coming from behind to notch back-to-back upsets in the fourth round and quarter-finals, against No.1 seed Sharapova and No.7 seed Dementieva (she was down a set and 2-5 against both; she was also down a match-point against both at a set and 3-5 down). In the semis, she downed No.4 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova handily: 6-3 6-2.

The two big-hitters' title-clash was an extremely high-quality affair, a total of 50 unforced errors (Safina 28, Ivanović 22) being far outweighed by 78 winners (Ivanović 41, Safina 37). In the end, Ivanović was putting the better numbers together at the big moments - including building a triple match-point with Safina serving at 3-5 in the second set - and she snatched the match with a backhand down the line that Safina couldn't get a handle on. Ivanović threw her arms in the air.

"There were a few mental games out there today, so I was really happy that in key moments, I managed to stay strong and calm - in the second set, especially," Ivanović said. "At 4-2, we had a very, very long game. I had a few advantages and wasn't as aggressive, but I kept my composure, stepped up, won my service-game, and managed to break her again. I'm really happy with how I played."

"I tried, but I just didn't have any more of the fire that I had in those matches; I was tired: mentally and physically," Safina said. "When I was going onto the court, I was a bit nervous, but when I started playing, it all went away. But with Ana, I had to be really sharp, and I was missing a little bit of reaction. What I had to do to her, she was doing to me. But all the credit to her, she played really well."

Ivanović avenged losses in her two previous Grand Slam finals: here last year and at the Australian Open earlier this year. She is now one-for-three.

"The last two Grand Slam finals were a great learning-experience for me," Ivanović said. "I'm only 20 and it was my third final already, so that kept some pressure off me. I was just trying to enjoy it. Obviously there were a lot of emotions inside, but until the last point, I tried not to think about the occasion and just focus on my tennis. I was really happy I managed to do that today.

"Winning a Grand Slam is something I dreamt of since I was a little kid, so achieving that goal is very thrilling."

Safina's win-streak didn't start in Paris; she took six matches in a row three weeks ago for her biggest WTA Tour title at the Tier I event in Berlin, bouncing three top-ten players there as well: Justine Henin, Serena Williams and Dementieva. Her six wins in Paris, which also included three top-ten wins, helped her strike 12, and the 13th seed fell just one win short of her 13th.

"After how badly I did at the beginning of the season, if somebody would tell me I'd win a Tier I and be in a Grand Slam final, I'd say, 'God, are you kidding or what?'" said Safina, who was barely breaking even going into Berlin (11:10). "I'll say only one thing, that my coach, he believed in me. Even when I lost, he still told me I was a good player, and that I just had to keep working. And now I just want to take all the experience and work even harder. I want to keep going."

As of the beginning of the second week, there was a four-player race for the post-Roland-Garros No.1 ranking. Sharapova was the first to exit the race, falling to Safina in the fourth round [she could still have remained No.1 had Ivanović, Janković and Kuznetsova all failed to reach the final]. Kuznetsova was the next one out of the running, falling to Safina in Thursday's first semi-final. The second semi-final between Serbian stars Ivanović and Janković was the one that broke the tie, as the winner of that match - regardless of how they would perform in the final - would get it.

Ivanović and Safina weren't the only breakthrough-stars of the fortnight. It was a dream tournament for Spanish teenager Carla Suárez Navarro, who came out of qualifying and made it all the way to the quarter-finals, and will surge from outside the top 100 to inside the top 50 on the rankings now; Kaia Kanepi also had a notable run, earning her first career top-ten victory over Anna Chakvetadze and becoming the first Estonian Grand Slam quarter-finalist; and finally Flavia Pennetta and Katarina Srebotnik, who each took out a Williams in the third round.

But the moment belonged to Ivanović, who brought her experiences back to the recent rise of tennis from the small country of Serbia.

"Novak [Đoković] won the first Grand Slam for Serbia at the beginning of the year, and going into today's final, I thought of that and felt I could do it too. I hope other young kids will get inspired from us. But last year, the three of us made a huge step here. Two semi-finalists and one finalist, and it was the first time we did really well together at the same Grand Slam."
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AnaGrand: Ivanović Reigns At Roland Garros
By Tennis Week
>>>
Ana Ivanović's tennis-baptism sprung stroke-by-stroke from the depths of a bare Belgrade swimming-pool, and today she unleashed a wave of winners across the red clay to make a memorable major spash on the world's largest Grand Slam stage.

Dancing inside the baseline like a diver bouncing on the balls of her feet at the edge of the high board before descending into her grandest dream, Ivanović reeled off eight of the last nine points to complete a 6-4 6-3 conquest of Dinara Safina in the Roland Garros final and rise to her first career Grand Slam championship.

Leaning into a flurry of forehands driven with the force of finality, Ivanović drew a farewell forehand error from Safina on championship-point, then tossed her Yonex racquet to the red clay, buried her face in her hands and dropped to a deep knee-bend, pausing to savour the moment. She rose wearing the beatific smile of a woman savouring her breakthrough-win before blowing kisses to the appreciative crowd.

A convincing victory completed a two-week run in which the statuesque Serbian with the sparkling smile that makes her such a personable presence on court oozed staying-power and star-power with each swing to peak in Paris in ascending to the World No.1 ranking.

In a six-month span, Serbia - a country that is about the size of South Carolina - has celebrated the coronation of two Grand Slam champions. Novak Đoković became the first Serbian to claim a Major championship [second - Monica Seles was the first] when he beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to win the Australian Open in January. The day before Djoković mastered the Melbourne Major, Ivanović fell to Maria Sharapova in the women's final: 5-7 3-6.

Struck by stage-fright in a fitful French final last year, Ivanović's toss was as wayward as a whiffle ball dropped from the Eiffel Tower in a windstorm. She played tenuous tennis in a loss to defending champion Justine Henin. The recently-retired Henin was seated in the front row behind the baseline — she coronated the new champ after the match — and surely must have been impressed by the former pedal-pusher's accelerated maturation.

Contesting her third career Grand Slam final today, Ivanović played with poise and passion in powering out to a 4-1 first-set lead. She never trailed in the match, and showed a commanding sense of closure.

The little girl who rode her bike to practice in an empty swimming pool-turned-tennis court in Belgrade was awash in "amazings" to convey the depth of her plunge into tennis-ecstasy.

"It's amazing. This was my dream since I was a little kid," said Ivanović, who raised her record to 27:6 for the season. "I'm so thrilled and excited by this moment. It's amazing. I've been dreaming about this since I was a little kid [and] I used to go to practice by bicycle... playing in a swimming-pool."

Though the 20-year-old Ivanović is two years younger than Safina, she has an extensive edge when it comes to competing in the cauldron of competitive pressure that peaks in the final days of Majors. Contesting her first Major final, Safina has reached the quarter-finals three times in 23 Grand Slam appearances. In contrast, Ivanović has appeared in the final four in four of her last five Grand Slams.

"Definitely, I think it helped," Ivanović said of her past experience. "I just tried to be in the moment. I think we were both very nervous."

The 13th-seeded Safina had played the role of strong-willed spoiler throughout this French fortnight in dismissing three top-10 ranked Russian opponents in succession — top-seeded Maria Sharapova, seventh-seeded Elena Dementieva and fourth-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova — to stretch her winning-streak to 12 matches.

The kid-sister of two-time Grand Slam champ Marat Safin electrified the City of Light with her high-energy efforts and inexhaustable fighting spirit during this French fortnight.

In her fourth-round showdown with Sharapova, Safina stubbornly fought off a match-point in the second set, roaring back from a one-set, 2-5 deficit to shoot down the top seed 6-7(6) 7-6(5) 6-2 and advance to the quarter-finals for the second time in her career. She dug out of another one-set, 2-5 deficit against fellow Moscow native Dementieva: a former student of Safina's mother and first coach: Raouza Islanova. Safina was points from defeat before staging a furious fightback in winning 10 of the last 11 games to stop a shell-shocked Dementieva 4-6 7-6(7/5) 6-0. She overwhelmed 2006 runner-up Kuznetsova in straight sets, and was aiming to become the first woman to win a Major title after saving two match-points.

But the demands of surviving those struggles seemed to deplete Safina's reserves slightly today. She admitted her mind and body didn't quite spike to the level of her competitive spirit today.

"I was feeling pretty good, but I think I was just a little bit tight mentally and physically," said Safina, who is 23:11 for the season. "I had too many comeback-victories. It was my first Grand Slam final, and I hope I will come back. I still had some tears during the match: I wanted to do more; my body couldn't do more. Not many people can live this moment."

The finalists are friends who spent the two weeks in Paris as neighbours despite residing in different halves of the draw: Safina and Ivanović dressed at lockers next to each other in the locker-room.

Though they're both tall, power-based baseliners with expansive reaches, who swing big and aren't afraid to explore those remote regions of the court near the lines, there are stylistic differences that played a part in the outcome of the final. Safina is typically most comfortable five-feet behind the baseline, where she has more time to set up for her longer strokes. Safina plays with more topspin, and is adept at creating cross-court angles to open the down-the-line drives that punctuate points.

Ivanović is at her best when she steps inside the baseline, where she can catch the ball on the rise and punish it as it peaks with her formidable forehand. Timing the ball beautifully at the start and end of the final, Ivanović's aggressive posture and willingness to drive through the ball with conviction on pivotal points was a key component to her win.

On an overcast day with a wind that ebbed and flowed, Ivanović ended a 26-shot rally by sliding gracefully into a crosscourt backhand dropshot that kissed the court well inside the service-line for 30/30 in the third game of the second set. Safina pulled up after the point looking a little weary for the first time in the entire tournament, and immediately lost the next point quickly. Though she saved a break-point, Safina was in trouble again when Ivanović stepped forward and drilled a return that rattled Safina's racquet, giving her a second break-point.

Anticipating the slice serve wide to her weaker backhand-wing, Ivanović pounced from her return-crouch, ran around the backhand, and hammered a heavy inside-out forehand that singed the clay near the sideline, breaking with a clenched fist for 2-1. Safina slammed her Babolat racquet to the court in disgust, and that visible descent into negativity spilled over into the next game.

Safina slapped backhand into net, and followed with a backhand long as Ivanović held at love to consolidate for 3-1. But to her credit, Safina refused to wilt, focusing her efforts instead on scraping her way back into the set.

Screaming at herself in Russian as she paced in a semi-circle near the back wall, Safina exhorted herself to keep fighting, and held at 30 for 2-3.

Intensity of the exchanges escalated dramatically in the seventh game.

Ivanović, whose flat, fast forehand is not only one of the most wicked weapons in women's tennis - it's one that's also difficult to decipher for opponents - hit an apparent forehand winner that would have given her a second break and a 5-2 lead. But Safina circled the mark where she saw the ball land wide, and the chair-umpire concurred. Instead of facing a 2-5 deficit, Safina was back at deuce, and both women would wage a war of wills for a total of seven deuce-points in that seventh game.

On the sixth deuce of the longest game of the match, Safina sliced a wide serve and hit a backhand behind Ivanović, racing to cover the crosscourt-shot. But Safina blew a game-point with a wayward backhand that missed the open court. An overanxious Ivanović sent a forehand return long on the seventh deuce. Then Safina smacked a backhand drived with disdain down the line to hold after for 3-4.

That seventh-game struggle did not deter Ivanović. Serving at 30/15, Ivanović got a gift of a game-point when Safina hit a forehand deep. Throughout the match, Ivanović enjoyed success hitting her serve wide on the ad-side to Safina's backhand, and she revisited that play again to elicit a third straight error that left Safina shrieking at herself and Ivanović four points from the French Open championship.

Well aware Safina played some of her most aggressive tennis while on the edge of victory, Ivanović imposed herself in smoking a forehand winner to take a 15/0 lead as she served for the most prestigious title of her career.

Safina sent backhand long before bashing a backhand that bounced beyond the baseline, handing Ivanović triple championship-point. When Safina's final forehand flew long, Ivanović clinched the championship.

Scampering into the stands, she embraced her parents and brother. When she pulled back, her white adidas-visor was askew — a near-casualty of the heart-felt group-hugs. It was about the only time she looked slightly off-balance in arriving to the title.
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The Evans Report: Ajde Ana!
By Richard Evans (Tennis Week)
>>>
It was a neat progression: Justine Henin had abdicated, and Ana Ivanović - the player she had beaten here in last year's final - ascended to the throne. And has Roland Garros ever had a prettier Queen? [yes: Iva Majoli]

Ivanović, keeping her nerves under control and tapping into the experience of last year's final, defeated the No.13 seed, Dinara Safina, 6-4 6-3 to give Serbia its second Grand Slam title of the year, following Novak Đoković's triumph in Melbourne.

Poor Dinara was not quite ready for it, as Ana had not been twelve months ago, but her time should come because the Russian was on a 12-match winning-streak going into the final, and she has the game - if not quite the temperament yet - to dominate the big occasion.

For Ivanović, it was a day she had been dreaming about ever since she used to ride her bicycle to practice in Belgrade. After clambering precariously into the president's box, she wedged herself into the adjacent players' enclosure to hug her parents, her younger brother and her two blonde helpers: the trainer Scott Byrnes and hitting-partner Marcin Rozpedsk, who had been up on their feet cheering every point that their player won. In her on-court address, Safina, who - like her brother Marat - has a distinctive personality, congratulated Ana's team "even if they were a bit annoying at times with their 'Ajde's." That, roughly translated, means "Come on!" in Serbian, and it worked for Ana.

The missing face was Sven Groeneveld, who has been acting as Ivanović's coach for the past several months, but can only be described as an adviser because he works for Adidas. As Safina is also an adidas-player, Sven could not be seen to be siding with either of them on this special day, which obviously made Ana a little sad.

"It was very unfortunate that Sven could not be in the box today, because he puts a lot of effort from his side, and lots of hard work in the last couple of months since we have been working more together," she said. "So I was really sorry for him not to be there in this huge moment in my career."

Groeneveld helped Mary Pierce win the title here in 2000, and is considered one of the most astute coaches in the business. The temptation now will be for him to work for Ivanović exclusively, although adidas may not like that idea.

The match unfolded predictably enough, with Safina looking a little lost as forehands and backhands flew out of court. At 4-1 to Ivanović, there was a real chance that the match could be a one-sided washout, but Safina is made of sterner stuff. She cracked a great forehand winner up the line in the next game and, aided by a couple of sloppy Serb forehands, she grabbed the first break back.

Suddenly, the Ivanović forehand looked vulnerable, and after a great rally on another break-point two games later, Safina scored again: this time with a backhand line-winner.

Ivanović was asked if she thought about the fact that Safina had fought back from match-points down against both Maria Sharapova and Elena Dementieva.

"I knew she was a great fighter, and she came back and it was four-all, and it was tough because a lot of emotions build up inside," Ana said. "You know you had a chance, double break, and then all of a sudden you're equal again. So to keep my composure at that point, it was huge for me."

It was then that Safina realised how tired she was after all the hours she had spent on court — two hours more on the road to the final than Ivanović — with a lot more expenditure of emotional energy.

"I didn't have any more of that fire that I had in those matches against Maria and Elena," Safina admitted afterwards. "I was just, I think, tired mentally and physically."

It showed in the ninth game of that first set as more errors flew off her racket, and when she lost serve in the third game of the second set, the die was cast. There was one more moment of crisis for Ana when she suddenly double-faulted twice in the sixth game, allowing Dinara a look at a break-point, but she served her way out of trouble and, at 5-3, broke Safina to love to achieve a great ambition in noteworthy style.

She was already assured of her new status of World No.1 - win or lose - but it was far better to show the appreciative Roland Garros public that she was worthy of the honour with a Grand Slam title.

And no one needed to remind her what it meant for Serbia.

"It's an amazing achievement, you know, for Novak to win the first Grand Slam for Serbia at the beginning of the year," Ana said. "You know, going into today's final, I thought of it, and I said, ‘Come on! He could do it, I could do it, too.' So its something that for sure motivates, and I hope many young kids will get inspired from us."

No question about that, and it's not just that mighty forehand that will attract attention. Ana's photo will adorn magazine-covers all over the world as she becomes the game's new poster-girl. Better still, she will have little trouble in heeding that song, "Stay as sweet as you are." For her, the smile and the happy disposition is entirely natural.
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Ana Ivanović Beats Dinara Safina for First Major Title at French Open
Posted by Aaress Lawless
http://www.onthebaseline.com/2008/06/07/ana-ivanović-beats-dinara-safina-for-first-major-title-at-french-open/
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New world number-one Ana Ivanović ended the biggest week of her career on Saturday with her first Grand Slam trophy.

Second seed Ana Ivanović defeated thirteenth seed Dinara Safina in straight sets 6-4 6-3 at Roland Garros.

Saturday produced a nervous performance by both players, but in the end, Ivanović ultimately conquered her personal demons, and won the match on her first championship-point.

It also ended the miraculous win-streak of Dinara Safina, who has defeated former Grand Slam champions Justine Henin, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, and Svetlana Kuznetsova in only one month.

Immediately after her win, Ivanović burst into tears before climbing through the royal box to celebrate the victory with her family and support team. It was a dream come true for Ivanović, who had previously lost to Henin at Roland Garros in 2007 and Maria Sharapova in January's Australian Open final.

As the Serbian anthem played, Ivanović continued to wipe away tears as she became the first Serbian woman to hold the No.1 ranking and win a Major.

Justine Henin, the newly retired four-time French Open champion, presented Ivanović with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen. Ironically, the last time Henin and Ivanović were together on court at the Philippe Chatrier stadium, Henin was receiving the winner's trophy, while Ivanović was left waiting for a second chance.

Her golden opportunity came just twelve months later as she dominated for two weeks on the courts of Roland Garros. By virtue of her victory over Jelena Janković in the semi-finals, she effectively gained enough points to rise to the top spot when the latest WTA Tour rankings are released on Monday.
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French Open: Fearless Ana Ivanović lives dream after beating Dinara Safina
By Clive White (The Daily Telegraph)
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A Grand Slam winner in two successive Majors - if Serbia could bottle it, they would probably sell it to the Lawn Tennis Association. As befits a young pretender who has been told she is to be crowned queen tomorrow come what may today, Ana Ivanović boldly took matters into her own hands yesterday by celebrating her anointment as world No.1 in the only manner appropriate: by winning the French Open.

Maria Sharapova may not give a "boo-hoo" about losing the No.1 ranking, which she held for three weeks, but for the lovely girl from Belgrade, it has always been her dream. When she was introduced to her potential Swiss backer Dan Holzmann in a Zürich apartment six years ago, he asked her what her goal in tennis was, and then looked deep into her eyes for the right answer before committing himself to a Ł250,000 speculation. "To become the No.1 player in the world," the 14-year-old replied unhesitatingly. As she held aloft the Suzanne Lenglen trophy, which she received from the former champion Justine Henin after beating a worthy opponent in Dinara Safina, of Russia 6-4 6-3, the young woman said: "As a kid, I used to bike to practice and dream of this." Not any more.

It may take her a while to settle into the shoes of the recently abdicated champion, but at least she won in a style that Paris hadn't been accustomed to throughout the little Belgian's extraordinary reign. Probably not since the 2001 cliffhanger between Jennifer Capriati and Kim Clijsters has a Court Philippe Chatrier crowd enjoyed a woman's final so much.

Any fears among Ivanović's supporters - and they included the former Chelsea manager Avram Grant, who is a life-long friend of Holzmann's - that she might suffer a recurrence of the stage-fright that consumed her in last year's final against Henin were quickly dispelled. In fact, probably the only time they feared for her was when she climbed on an unstable-looking linesperson's chair to get up into box to join the celebrations afterwards. "They were too busy hugging each other to help me - I thought, 'What about me?'"

Otherwise, it was her fearlessness to go for her shots in the big moments that was the key to her victory, as it has been throughout these championships. It helped, of course, breaking Safina in the opening game and when she reached that same point, at 2-1 up, from where she crumbled last year, she boldly went past it, celebrating with her customary clenched-fist salute and a cry of "Come on".

A double break had her firmly in control, or so it seemed, but Safina is nothing if not a fighter like Ivanović, and she pulled back both breaks to level at 4-4. There was a momentary wobble then from the Serbian, but she quickly righted herself to reclaim a break. The set was still in the balance as Ivanović served for it, and in fact Safina twice had a break-point, but Ivanović, although she may look like a beauty-queen, is made of much sterner stuff and she managed to serve out.

A year ago, a double fault in the sixth game of the second set, which gave Safina the chance to break back, might have unsettled her, particularly since she must have known Safina had come back from 2-5 down in the final set to beat Sharapova, but the Ivanović nerve again held firm.

She admitted it was hard then not to allow her mind to wander towards lifting the trophy, but this time - unlike in the Australian Open final against Sharapova in January - she was in no mood to be upstaged by compatriot Novak Đoković. When Safina hit a backhand long at 3-5, it gave her three championship-points. She needed only one, thanks to the biggest forehand in women's tennis. Those in her box never doubted it for a moment, and probably haven't done for the past six years.
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Ana Ivanović tops world with first Grand Slam victory at Roland Garros
By Mark Hodgkinson (The Daily Telegraph)
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The peachy pink dress that Ana Ivanović wore at Roland Garros, in which she won her first Grand Slam title, will soon be exchanged for Wimbledon whites. The 20-year-old will officially go to the top of the bill today. So she will arrive at the wrought-iron gates of the All-England Club in a fortnight's time with a Slam-title, the world No.1 ranking, and the good looks to make the ballboys blush and the sport's promoters thank their lucky stars.

The French Open was the first Major of the post-Justine-Henin era, with the Belgian's appearance on the Philippe Chatrier Court on Saturday afternoon limited to sitting in the front row of the presidential box and then presenting the Coupe de Suzanne Lenglen to Serbia's first female Grand Slam champion.

Henin, for all her abilities and the seven Grand Slam titles she won, struggled to build herself a brand. She was never the best at selling tennis to the unconverted. But now, in Ivanović and the Australian Open champion Maria Sharapova, tennis has two young women who combine oodles of talent with more than a touch of glamour. Come Wimbledon, the blonde [Sharapova] is going to have to share the photographers' flashes with the brunette [Ivanović]. Wimbledon promises to be a Glam Slam.

This is that mad time in the tennis-calendar when players suddenly have to switch from clay to the very different demands of grass. So Ivanović will have just a few days to savour her achievement on the terre battue - completed with a 6-4 6-3 victory over Russian Dinara Safina - before she gets down to the business of preparing for Wimbledon. Ivanović was a semi-finalist at the All-England Club last summer, and it took eventual champion Venus Williams to stop her, so it is not out of the question that she could end up doing the Paris-London double.

Still, on clay, her game naturally puts her on a level above the likes of Sharapova and Venus Williams, and probably Serena too. At Wimbledon, that edge isn't there. Also, Maria, Venus and Serena have all won Wimbledon before, and that counts for something.

Still, Ivanović is scheduled to be on England's south coast next week for the Eastbourne-tournament, while Sharapova has opted not to compete in her traditional tune-up in Birmingham, and the Williams-sisters are sticking with the usual, which is the practice-court.

"For sure, I want to go to Wimbledon and win the title, because every tournament you play, you want to win," Ivanović said. "Obviously, now a lot of players will play their best tennis against me. But I still think I have a good chance. I've been working hard. So now I will relax a little bit, recover, and also prepare on the grass before Eastbourne and Wimbledon."

Had Ivanović lost another Grand Slam final, after her defeats by Henin in Paris last year and by Sharapova at this year's Australian Open, then that would have become a worrying trend for her. Off the court, Ivanović may have a gentle manner about her. "But on the court, you have to be a killer," she said.
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Ivanović officially takes over at No.1 (AP, Monday 9th June)
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French Open champion Ana Ivanović officially moved up to No.1 in the WTA Tour rankings for the first time on Monday, replacing Maria Sharapova at the top.

Ivanović is the 17th woman, and first representing Serbia, to be No.1.

She entered the French Open at a career-high No.2, but overtook Sharapova, who lost in the fourth round.

"Being No.1 now holds more pressure," Ivanović said after beating Dinara Safina in straight sets in Saturday's championship match. "But you're also a professional athlete, and if you want to achieve your goals, you have to learn how to handle the pressure."

Safina rose from No.14 to No.9, matching her career-high.

Sharapova is now No.2, followed by the losing semi-finalists at Roland Garros: No.3 Jelena Janković and No.4 Svetlana Kuznetsova. Janković would have risen to No.1 if she had beaten Ivanović in their semi-final.

Elena Dementieva rose from No.8 to No.5. Serena Williams slipped one spot to No.6, and Venus Williams stayed at No.7. Both Williams-sisters lost in the third round at Roland Garros.

There was no change in any of the top six spots in the ATP rankings, with French Open champion Rafael Nadal staying at No.2 for the 151st consecutive week. The man he beat 6-1 6-3 6-0 in Sunday's championship-match - Roger Federer - remains at No.1, extending his record by sitting atop the rankings for the 228th consecutive week.

Novak Đoković, the Australian Open champion who lost to Nadal in the French Open semi-finals, is still No.3, followed by Nikolay Davydenko, David Ferrer and No.6 Andy Roddick.

James Blake moved up one spot to No.7, with David Nalbandian falling to No.8. Stanislas Wawrinka and Richard Gasquet round out the top 10.
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Fans throng Belgrade streets to welcome home Ivanović (AFP, Tuesday 10th June)
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Thousands of adoring fans lined the streets of Belgrade on Tuesday to welcome home Ana Ivanović after her Roland Garros victory, in a party the new number-one will not forget in a long time.

"This moment will be not equalled; I will remember it all my life," said an emotional Ivanović in a moving speech to supporters carrying banners and chanting "Ana, we love you."

"The last days have been a dream. I will never forget Roland Garros. When I heard the national anthem [Bože Pravde], I couldn't hold back the tears," said the 20-year-old. It was a special moment for me."

On Saturday, the Serbian won the French Open - her first Grand Slam title - beating 13th seed Dinara Safina 6-4 6-3.

An elated Ivanović was in confident mood ahead of next month's Wimbledon.

"It will be difficult at Wimbledon, but I think we will be able to meet here again to party," she said before throwing tennis-balls into the crowd.
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Exclusive Ana Ivanović Interview
By Valentine Uhovski (Tennis Week, Friday 13th June)
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[Ana Ivanović considered pursuing a psychology degree.]

So you think Ana Ivanović faces a tough challenge on the tennis-court? Well she's still facing the challenge of finishing her education. In a revealing chat with TennisWeek.com's Valentine Uhovski conducted prior to claiming her first career Major championship at the French Open, Ana shared some thoughts about her life and growing up, and why she thought she'd like to become a shrink.

Tennis Week: This has already pretty incredible year so far for you...

Ana Ivanović: The last few months have been so exciting for me. Obviously I finished last year on the high note, and I've improved a lot. But I also developed motivation to achieve even higher goals and work even harder! It was great to start a season making a final of a Grand Slam, and of course I was disappointed by not holding a trophy in the end. But I did succeed in Indian Wells, which was huge step for me because I never won a tournament of such long duration in the past. I think I mentally took a big jump towards ultimately succeeding during my next Grand Slam.

Tennis Week: But you're obviously not satisfied with being the runner-up or being No.2?

Ana Ivanović: My definite goal is to be No.1 in the world. But it's tough out there. Everyone is really hungry for great results, but I feel like I've done my end of work and improved. I've beaten numerous top-ten players, reached this far in the rankings, and I'm very close. Justine [Henin] had a huge 2007, but it will be difficult defending all those points this year. My ultimate goal is being on top of the ranking-board and winning those Grand Slam trophies.

Tennis Week: Is there anyone you fear on tour?

Ana Ivanović: No, I look at everyone as seasoned opponent. You just want to go out there, give it your all and beat them as bad as you possibly can, no matter what their ranking is!

Tennis Week: Everyone knows your story of growing up in Serbia in challenging times, and then moving to Switzerland to perfect your training. Did you ever feel like you were ever almost a dual citizen of both countries?

Ana Ivanović: No, I've always felt Sebian at heart. It's where I was born, where I have family, friends, following... It is where I grew up and feel attached to. Of course, I don't know if I would have same career if I didn't have an opportunity to move and have my current manager, trainer, and amazing facilities.

Tennis Week: How's school?

Ana Ivanović: It's been tough. I've been trying to finish my economy-classes at the moment. When I go back to Serbia, I have to take few more exams. But of course it's hard to balance and think of tests and studies where you're competing and winning, but education is extremely important, so I need to try to accomplish both and find a time. I don't like math. or numbers as much, so I need a tutor, obviously, to get me focused.

Tennis Week: What are your favourite subjects?

Ana Ivanović: I love philosophy and psychology. I actually wanted to major in psychology, but that's something that requires a lot more face-time in school and in classroom. Maybe I'll reconsider by the end of career, when I have more time! But I still love to read as much as can on those subjects whenever I have time.

Tennis Week: Your parents are both successful professionals in their own right. How have their own schedules changed since your successful ascendance?

Ana Ivanović: They've been so supportive. My brother in particular is my biggest fan. He actually stays up at nights to catch up with all my matches. But my father has travelled with me from early stages, and later, when I started travelling abroad, my mom became my companion because she was fluent in English, which was a great help! Obviously, it was tough for them to alternate between jobs and finding new ones, but I really appreciate their sacrifice.

Tennis Week: In your opinion, with your success as well as Novak's and Jelena's, how obsessive has the whole country of Serbia become due to your collective success?

Ana Ivanović: We really feel their energy and support. Every time I speak with my father, he talks about the extensive articles his friends and he read about us. You really feel the following, the love, and the passion of our fans. It's just amazing that they have so much to root for considering it's such a small country. When we play anywhere, they show up with flags. I received [a] few crazy fan-letters, but I appreciate them all because basically, without the fans, we'd have nothing to do.

Tennis Week: Do you always dine in the same restaurant during tournaments? Is that a superstition?

Ana Ivanović: I wouldn't call it superstition - more like regular rituals. If you like a certain place, the owners and the people are nice to you, why not come back for good service and energy?

Tennis Week: What are you latest obsessions?

Ana Ivanović: Like every girl, I love shopping, but with our crazy schedules, you're mostly bound to a hotel-room and movies, books and your music.

To read an additional Ana Ivanović Interview please click this Ivanović Interview link <http://www.anaivanovic.com/?path=start/news&detailpage=1146>.
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http://tennis.com/news/ticker.aspx
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Ivanović's team of Sven Groeneveld, Scott Byrnes and Martin Rozpedski celebrated her win in unusual fashion, reports her official website.

"Ana's brother Milos joined in, and so the four gave their word that if Ana won the event, they would run around the Arc de Triomphe while each wearing one of Ana's adidas-dresses," the website said. "True to their words, the quartet made a mockery of themselves in the early hours of Sunday morning, after a celebratory dinner."
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Wimbledon build-up: Playtime for Ana Ivanović
By Mark Hodgkinson (The Daily Telegraph, Saturday 14th June)
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"The moment will never be equalled. I will remember it all my life." So said Ana Ivanović during the welcome-home party in Belgrade this week. Serbia's first female Grand-Slam champion and the new world No.1 stood on the balcony overlooking parliament-square, wearing a white dress and hitting tennis-balls down into the waiting crowd of 10,000 supporters. "Ana, we love you," they sang at her, and afterwards she took tea with the president.

Serbia was once a pariah-nation. But that was back in the days of the Slobodan Milošević regime, when Nato were bombing Belgrade, and when you wouldn't have supposed that Serbia would ever go on to become a superpower of the tennis-world. But Serbia is now fortunate to be able to call on the ambassadorial talents of three tennis-players: Ivanović, Jelena Janković and Novak Đoković.

[Serb n' volley: even the rain won't stop Ana Ivanović jumping out of bed for SW19]

In Ivanović, Serbia have a 20-year-old who never scowls when she can smile - after all, how many players would suggest that the rain at Wimbledon is one of the tournament's charming English garden-party traditions? "Everything about Wimbledon makes it special. It's the grass, it's playing in white, it's the Sunday off in the middle of the tournament, it's the rain. Yes, the rain is a great tradition at Wimbledon," said Ivanović, who, after winning the French Open title last weekend, will be attempting to complete the Paris-London double over here in the rainy, green and purple world of SW19. "I think some players think, 'Oh no, it's raining at Wimbledon.' But they should try to enjoy it. You know, you hang out."

Ivanović's early tennis-career was complicated by Serbia's pariah-status. Her childhood training-sessions weren't structured by court-booking time-sheets, but by the air-raid and the all-clear sirens. "A few years ago, we used to have problems with our passports when we travelled to tournaments. It was hard for us," Ivanović said. "I used to have to line up from 7am to get the visas to go to countries to play tournaments. And then we wouldn't have direct flights from Belgrade, so many times we had to travel to Budapest by car. Now it's much easier, but we still have to wait at passport-control, as our passports still say Yugoslavia."

But Serbia is now the toast of the tennis-world, after Đoković won the men's Australian Open title in January, and then Ivanović emulated him in Paris. "I really hope that Serbia's image is changing around the world. I think sport and music bring people together. For us, it's a great honour to be the ambassadors of our country, because we know that these have been hard times for Serbia. When we travel, people still say to us, 'It's dangerous in Serbia,' and I say, 'No it's not.' People in Serbia are friendly, and very communicative. Now I think that, through us, people can be more open to Serbia as a country," she said. "I can't wait to go to the Olympics this summer to represent my country. I am getting excited just talking to you about it now. I will stay in the village with all the other athletes."

No wonder Ivanović, although now based in Switzerland, is so popular back in Belgrade. "It can be hard for me in Belgrade as everyone knows tennis now. Everyone follows it, and knows about me. It's nice that people are following me and supporting me, but on the other hand, you lose your private life," she said. "I don't go out too much to nightclubs, I go to dinner with my family. It can be tricky when you get recognised. I was in a restaurant recently, and they had a live band, and the singer suddenly said to everyone, 'We have Ana here with us.' I was thinking, 'Oh no'. I was so embarrassed."

Ivanović's closest friendships are with the girls she has known for years. "All my friends are from back home; I have true friendships. Even if we don't speak for weeks, I call and everything is good," said Ivanović, who is keeping up her studies by doing a correspondence-course in economics.

One friend is Avram Grant: the former Chelsea manager, who has been passing on tips via text-message to Ivanović on how to deal with big-match pressure. They met in London last year through a mutual friend, and Grant was at Roland Garros last week to watch Ivanović win the French title.

"Ana is an exceptional person: so strong and determined," Grant has said of Ivanović, who made the semi-finals at Wimbledon last year, losing to Venus Williams. This year, during those inevitable rain-delays, she will be thinking about sour cabbage. When she is away from Serbia, she misses a Serbian dish called sarma, which is cabbage stuffed with rice and meat. Perhaps she will also be thinking about London's shops. "It's a fashion-city, and like any girl, I love to shop in London: I go to Harrods and Harvey Nichols," Ivanović said.

But her mind will be mostly on the tennis. "Wimbledon is important for me. It's very different and very traditional. Last year, I had a great experience, playing for the first time on Centre Court. I have some great memories. I love all the traditions. It's great to play tennis dressed all in white; you don't get a chance to do that anywhere else on the Tour," she said. "I believe I have the game to do well at Wimbledon."
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--
Dr. Andrew Broad
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