WTA Cincinnati, Quarter-Final Preview: Serena Williams v Ana Ivanovic

IvanovicAfter playing each other five times in 2014, it’s take until August of 2015 for another Serena-Ana match. For a time this didn’t look likely… Ivanovic made a woeful start to her third round match against Sloane Stephens, quickly going down 4-0 and losing the first set, 6-2. Stephens didn’t do anything special but played a smart set. The fact that Ivanovic hadn’t played in Cincy yet was certainly telling in the first set. Ivanovic settled into a rhythm on her serve in the second set and stayed ahead up to the talking point of this match. Ivanovic and Stephens played out a fantastic 14-deuce game where Ivanovic had NINE break points. After the match, she giggled with the interviewer and said “I do not want to know how many break points I had in that game!”.

Although Sloane was clutch to hold that game it was Ivanovic who powered through afterwards, winning eight of the next nine games to seal a 2-6 6-4 6-1 victory. Ivanovic played well in the third set, finally getting her game going. Based on how the match unfolded, i’d go as far to say this was one of her best wins of the year. For Sloane, that third set went by far too fast. She was passive, kept going long when she tried to take the ball on and there was nothing on the serve. I admit that i’ve been on a bit of a bandwagon with Sloane… it pretty much just careered off the tracks into the abyss! Hopefully she will learn from this one and although it didn’t really happen on this occasion, Stephens has shown a lot more fight in matches this year. Even against Mona Barthel in the second round (won 3-6 7-6 6-2), that was a probably a match that she would have lost last year. There’s still plenty to work on but the signs are still promising.

Serena Williams has had a drama-free week so far with straight set wins over Tsvetana Pironkova (7-5 6-3) and Karin Knapp (6-0 6-2). It’s impossible to call Serena’s next move… i’ve been waiting for a withdrawal but who knows what will happen. Serena leads the head-to-head against Ana, 8-1. They played some good matches last year; Ivanovic claimed a monumental win at the Australian Open and although Serena won their next four clashes, two of them did go the distance. Ivanovic’s flat out aggression on the return has helped to make these matches intriguing

Serena and Ana played in the Cincy final last year where Serena prevailed, 6-4 6-1. I’d expect something similar with this one unless Peak Ana makes an appearance. Hopefully it will be a good one as it’s at a reasonable time for me at 6pm UK time!

15 thoughts on “WTA Cincinnati, Quarter-Final Preview: Serena Williams v Ana Ivanovic

  1. Honestly the ‘old Sloane resurfaced in that 3rd set against Ana’ just when I thought she had turned the corner:) Serena in straight sets over Ana.


    • Yeah she gave up a bit too early-should’ve improvised and made it closer. But she has gotten much better. This one was tough facing Ana in her zone.


      • She relies solely on her game to beat her opponents. And she switches off if it doesn’t work. Reminds me of Berdych and Anderson and Bellucci.


      • Funnily enough I’d say that could apply to Ana too. This win could give her heaps of confidence but Serena seems he’ll bent on winning this tournament, presumably so she can win the US Open series bonus.


      • agree with you there Andrew-appllies to Ana too. Didn’t think of her that way but..
        well Ana has other issues…like her talent for keeping that wonderful native smile while after all these years she still doesn’t have a professional ball toss.


  2. Sorry, this is off topic. Anyone knows what illness does Vika has lately? She won the first set and then retired in the second set against Pav. I hope she is fine.


      • Haha, I really dont think Serena will put everything she has into winning this match. She’s played more than enough matches to be ready for the U.S. Open, and does, more often than not, pull out of the tournament when a grand slam is nigh. Plus, Ana must be feeling confident after that win over Sloane, which wasnt really a surprise to me, as her hard court season has been pretty decent. With that being said, it really is up to Serena, because if she does want to win this tourney, she most definitely will.


  3. I really do hate watching Ivanovic play. She is just infuriating. She’s played some great shots, but the things she’s done wrong have been just as striking as always. And that ball toss. What on earth is the story there. How can she not have sorted it out, or even improved it slightly, over the past 6 years. Every other serve she throws it wildly to the right and hits a serve she should never hit or catches it. My ball toss isn’t always perfect, but only around 1 in every several hundred serves do I actually competely throw it off target or have to catch it. You to think her coach wasn’t earning his wage. If she doesn’t best Serena, it will be a poor effort from Ana. Rarely seen her so there for the taking


      • Two more double faults to gift it to Serena. Shocking from Ana. And I refuse to give her any credit for getting into a winning position! I could’ve managed that the way the no1 was playing.


    • Horrible ball toss is a lack of confidence. Her ball toss on second serves is painful to watch. She has no confidence in herself. She has a great game but she is not going to win another slam with this mental strength.


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