This content was published 12 years ago. It may refer to a past edition of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.
After two years in the wilderness where she could barely string together two wins in a row, Ana Ivanovic looked back to her best on Monday night
She served with aplomb throughout, never having to face a break point, and dominated in world No.32 Elena Vesnina from start to finish, winning 6-1, 6-3.
The Serb’s struggles since winning the 2008 French Open and taking over the top spot in the WTA rankings two days after lifting the crown were so extreme that she now finds herself languishing at No.58 in the world, having failed to even come near to winning a tournament since Roland Garros almost two years ago. After a turbulent time on and off the court, she has been working with Swiss Davis Cup legend Heinz Gunthardt for the past season and on Monday, the relationship finally seemed to be bearing fruit.
She dropped only three points on service in the first set, her first being a powerful weapon while her second was deep and kicked. Vesnina got into her game more in the second stanza but Ana was not to be denied, keeping rallies short, picking her spots with ease and finishing with two breaks of serve to conclude the match in little over an hour.
“I definitely feel that I’m playing better thanks to my new coach,” the Serb had said before the tournament began. “I’m more confident and I enjoy going onto the court. I try not to think about the past but I think it’s better to look towards the future. Maybe I will not be exactly what I was in the past but I will be a complete player thanks to the experience that I have built up in the past.”
She certainly looked a complete player on Monday night, but her path back to the top will not be an easy one. Defeating a player ranked 25 places above her in the world should give her confidence a boost, and she will need all the mental fortitude she can muster on Tuesday evening when she faces No.9 seed and 2009 semi-finalist Victoria Azarenka. After that, a potential third round tie with Elena Dementieva lies in wait. Not that Ana will be thinking that far ahead. One game at a time…