In one of the most dramatic matches of 2011, Ana Ivanovic wasted 5 match points and a commanding third set lead to lose to Kim Clijsters in the fourth round of Miami. Last night in Brisbane, Ana Ivanovic suffered another painful defeat at the hands of the Belgian as she wasted a 3-0 final set lead to lose 6 straight games to Kim Clijsters in a 6-1 1-6 6-3 scoreline. Clijsters dominated proceedings in the first set, crushing the Serb’s serve to pieces. Ivanovic immediately got her foot in the door at the start of the second set and didn’t let go as Clijsters went on one of her walkabouts, which is now becoming rather familiar in her game. It was a real topsy turvy encounter, which saw the first two sets split in just 44 minutes of play. Ivanovic carried the momentum into the third set and had a point for 4-0 and the double break in the final set. However she could not convert and Clijsters raised her level to that of the first set as she attacked her way to the victory with some devastating groundstrokes.
Ivanovic showed some good fighting spirit during the match; however she will be disappointed to lose from such a strong position in the final set and she has shown to have a real mental weakness against Kim, which continues to grow with each match that they play. Clijsters showed her good and bad sides today, but in only her second match of the season, this was a very good win. It is likely that Kim will be tested even more in her comeback to the tour as she could face Sam Stosur in the quarter-finals, but more of that tomorrow if that does happen! The highlights from the match between Ivanovic and Clijsters can be found below. In other matches, my prediction went down the drain as Francesca Schiavone overcame Galina Voskoboeva in a tight two-setter, 6-4 6-4. Daniela Hantuchova and Andrea Petkovic also won through to the quarter-finals with uninspiring victories, but at this stage of the season, a win is a win and everyone is still playing their way into form.
In Auckland, all of the eight seeds made it into round two. The only two seeds to lose sets were Peng Shuai and Julia Goerges. Peng recovered from the loss of the first set to fight her way past Aravane Rezai and Julia Goerges fought off illness to knock out the defending champion, Greta Arn. In the second round, there are a number of interesting matches to look out for. Svetlana Kuznetsova will have to be at her best if she is to record her first ever win over Christina McHale… i’m still going for a McHale win in this one. There are two intriguing all German clashes between Sabine Lisicki and Mona Barthel, and Julia Goerges and Angelique Kerber. I fancy a mini-upset in the latter of those clashes with Kerber winning through.