MARY FALLS TO IVANOVIC IN THRILLING ENCOUNTER
Another day, another 3 set marathon for number 1 seed Ana Ivanovic and unseeded Frenchwoman Mary Pierce.
Both players notched up fantastic victories a day prior to the match - Pierce defeating (4)Venus Williams and Ivanovic stumbling past (3)Agnieska Radwanska. Nevertheless, there were absolutely no signs of fatigue and all three sets proves closely battled affairs.
Set one saw power vs power throughout, with Ivanovic managing a decisive first break at 5-5 before serving out the set 7-5 with 4 inexplicable forehand bullet winners.
The Serb then made the most of her clear momentum to race to a 5-0 lead in the second, making the match look all but over. However, Mary Pierce, tour veteran at 31 years of age was not about to let this match slip through her fingers so easily. She broke the world number 1's serve after saving 6 match points, and never looked back. Breaking a further 3 times with comfortable service holds in between made Ivanovic look helpless, a snatched forehand falling into the net for Pierce to go up 6-5. The Serbian finally managed to hold serve, forecing a tiebreak which saw Mary Pierce sport floorless groundstrokes and 2 booming aces to take it to love.
The third set began after the match was already 2 hours and 27 minutes old and again proved very even. After exchanging breaks to level the set at 1 all, both players held serve a further 3 times. In the penutimate game of the match, Ivanovic suddenly pounced on Pierce's tired looking 2nd serve to convert her 2nd break point of the game, and served 4 aces to close out the incredible match 7-5 (0)6-7 6-4 in 3 hours and 14 minutes.
It is undisputable that this match was a highlight of the year.
Mary Pierce walked off the court looking extremely fatigued but confirmed with a smile that she is determined to play next week in Wellington.