Ana Ivanovic
Serbian Goddess
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Ana Ivanovic
Height: 6' (1.83 m)
Weight: 152 lbs. (69 kg)
Birth Name: Ana Ivanovic
Birth Date: November 6, 1987
Birth Place: Belgrade, Serbia
Married To: Bastian Schweinsteiger (July 12, 2016) Home: Basel, Switzerland
Plays: Right-handed (two-handed backhand)
Status: Pro (August 2003)
Racquet: Yonex RQ iS 1 Tour
Clothing: Adidas
Shoes: Adidas Barricade V
Charity: UNICEF National Ambassador for Serbia

2016 At A Glance

Current WTA Rank: 65
WTA Tournaments Played: 15
WTA Record: 15-13
Hardcourt: 8-9
Clay: 5-2
Carpet: 0-0
Grass: 2-2

Tournaments Won in 2016

None
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Ana Ivanovic

Ivanovic hits the ski slopes for the first time

(1/18/17) (Pic1, Pic2) Recently retired Ana Ivanovic is taking advantage of her drastically increased time off, and her new freedoms. The Serbian hit the slopes for her first-ever attempt on skis, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

There's little doubt that skiing or snowboarding while making your living as professional tennis player is frowned upon, and often times forbidden, due to the risk of injury. It looks like winter sports adventures are just one more thing Ivanovic has to look forward to in her post-tennis life.

The 29-year-old's former colleagues are enjoying an opposite climate down in Melbourne. Ivanovic is missing the Australian Open for the first time since 2004.

The former No. 1 was an Australian Open finalist in 2008, and won her sole Grand Slam title at Roland Garros later that year.

My heart wasn't in it anymore, says Ivanovic

(12/31/16) Former women's tennis world number one Ana Ivanovic admitted Saturday she retired this week because she felt both physically and mentally unfit to carry on after years of battling injuries.

The 29-year-old Serbian -- whose sole Grand Slam success came in the 2008 French Open one of her 15 WTA titles -- added she wanted to retire while she still loved the sport.

"The last few years have been a struggle with injury," Ivanovic told The Times newspaper on Saturday.

"It was always a fight coming back and so much work on the court, off the court, and then not sometimes being in the best shape.

"For me, the IPTL (International Premier Tennis League who hosted events in Singapore and India recently) was a last test.

"I didn't have the feeling in my body and in my heart that I should push more.

"It's never easy to step back from something you love, but I wanted it to remain my love rather than something that I have to do or end up despising because it hurt."

Ivanovic, who also reached the 2007 French Open and the 2008 Australian Open finals, said she would not classify her career as being one of under-achievement.

"I think it's hard to say that someone has overachieved or underachieved," said Ivanovic, who won the season-ending WTA Tournament of Champions title twice.

"Even though I look back and think maybe I could have done a little bit more, it all happens for a reason."

Ivanovic, who first took up tennis aged five after watching Yugoslavian star Monica Seles play, conceded she had been overwhelmed by the attention focused not just on her ability but looks.

"I felt quite flattered," said Ivanovic.

"The only thing was that it was very overwhelming for me because I was so young.

"All I had done was play tennis because I loved it so much. To deal with all those responsibilities was difficult, because I was very shy growing up."

Ivanovic, who married German World Cup winning midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger in Venice earlier this year, says she will not return to the circuit even as a coach.

"I do not have ambitions of coming back as a coach," said Ivanovic.

"I'm really happy with the career I've had. Now it's time to try different things."

Former No. 1 Ivanovic retires from tennis

(12/30/16) Ana Ivanovic is retiring from tennis at age 29, ending a career in which she was ranked No. 1 in 2008 but can no longer play at the highest level because of injuries.

In a live broadcast on Facebook, Ivanovic said Wednesday "it was a difficult decision, but there is so much to celebrate." The Serb won 15 tour titles, including the 2008 French Open, and is now ranked No. 63.

"It's been well-known that I've been hampered by injuries. ... I can only play if I can perform up to my own high standards and I can no longer do that," she said. "So it's time to move on."

Ivanovic became a UNICEF national ambassador for Serbia in 2007 and says that position will figure in her plans.

"I will become an ambassador of sport and healthy life. I will also explore opportunities in business, beauty and fashion among other endeavours," she said on her Facebook page. "I will also have more time for my philanthropic activities with my work with UNICEF. I've lived my dreams and I really hope to help others do so as well."

A finalist at Roland Garros in 2007 and the Australian Open in 2008, Ivanovic lost in the first round of this year's U.S. Open to 89th-ranked Denisa Allertova of the Czech Republic. It was her second consecutive exit in the first round at Flushing Meadows.

Ivanovic announced a week later she would take the rest of the season off because of wrist and toe injuries, saying she had a recurring wrist injury and would also have surgery on a toe she broke at the Australian Open in January 2015.

"Ana is a true champion and a great ambassador for the sport of women's tennis," WTA CEO Steve Simon said in a statement on the tour's website. "She has contributed greatly to the entire sport, both in her home country of Serbia and across the globe."

Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep are the fastest players in tennis, find out who made the list

(11/30/16) Tennis players are known for their high levels of intensity and speeds as their game is based on how they combine both of them into one perfect package. Speed is measurable and according to a new study from Tennis Australia's Game Insight Group, Serbian Novak Djokovic and Romanian Simona Halep are the world's fastest tennis players.

The Game Insight Group (GIG) undertook a study that measured players while running across a distance of 3m or more, involving the use of statistics from the Australian Open over the years. The study found that Djokovic has the highest top speed (36.0km/h) while current world number one Andy Murray has a higher average top speed (15.89km/h) as compared to the Serb.

Tennis legends Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal came in second and third in the list of the average top speed with timings of 15.55km/h and 15.38km/h respectively. Their top speed figures were not too flattering though, with Federer coming 17th in the list and Nadal finishing in 12th position.

In the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) circuit, Angelique Kerber had the highest average top speed with 14.27km/h while Julia Goerges (13.85km/h) came in second followed by Agnieszka Radwanska (13.79km/h) and Simona Halep (13.69km/h).

Halep finds herself on top of the list when it comes to highest top speed with 23.04km/h with Carla Suarez Navarro (22.48km/h) coming in second and Dominika Cibulkova finding herself in third place. Research on two of the most popular players on the circuit, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, was also done, with the Russian surprisingly posting better numbers in both higher top speed and average top speed.

List of Top Speed and Average Top Speed timings of players (in km/h)

ATP (Men's)

1) Novak Djokovic (36.02/14.89)

2) Andy Murray (34.87/15.89)

3) Lleyton Hewitt (31.24/15.24)

4) Gilles Simon (30.76/14.93)

5) Grigor Dimitrov (28.91/15.05)

6) David Ferrer (27.82/14.71)

7) Stan Wawrinka (27.66/15.17)

8) Tomas Berdych (27.28/14.49)

9) Milos Raonic (27.28/15.36)

10) Kei Nishikori (27.17/14.52)

12) Rafael Nadal (26.84/15.38)

17) Roger Federer (26.03/15.55)

WTA (Women's)

1) Simona Halep (23.04/13.69)

2) Carla Suarez Navarro (22.48/13.56)

3) Dominika Cibulkova (21.98/13.43)

4) Agnieszka Radwanska (21.82/13.79)

5) Eugenie Bouchard (21.82/12.95)

6) Ajla Tomljanovic (21.69/13.33)

7) Angelique Kerber (21.46/14.27)

8) Garbine Muguruza (21.32/13.21)

9) Ana Ivanovic (20.9/13.64)

10) Julia Goerges (20.75/13.85)

11) Maria Sharapova (20.61/13.6)

13) Serena Williams (20.52/13.5)

Ana Ivanovic out in 1st round of US Open again

(8/30/16) Ana Ivanovic is out of the U.S. Open in the first round for the second straight year after a 7-6 (4), 6-1 loss to Denisa Allertova of the Czech Republic.

Ivanovic is a former No. 1 player and 2008 French Open winner who has slipped to No. 31 in the rankings.

The Serb was serving for the first set at 6-5 but struggled with her serve and faltered in the tiebreaker. She finished with seven double-faults and 41 unforced errors.

At the Open, she has reached the fourth round or better five times, including a career-best quarterfinal run in 2012.

The 89th-ranked Allertova improved to 7-1 in first-round matches in majors, making her second main-draw appearance at the Open.

Williams withdraws, Ivanovic ousted at Cincinnati Masters

(8/16/16) Top seed Serena Williams gave up a wild card entry into the ATP-WTA Cincinnati Masters tournament after complaining of a shoulder injury.

The world number one, who is being chased in the rankings by German Angelique Kerber, took a free entry only last week and was seeded atop the draw.

But the 34-year-old American reversed course abruptly and withdrew from the tournament on Monday.

"I'm very disappointed I'm not able to compete as I was really looking forward to defending my title," Williams said.

"My shoulder inflammation continues to be a challenge, but I am anxious to return to the court as soon as possible."

The absence of Williams now opens the door to Kerber to make a run at the WTA top ranking. Williams has been No. 1 for 183 straight weeks and 306 overall.

But Kerber can become number one if she wins the Cincinnati title.

Williams took a wild card spot to get into the draw. She will be replaced by lucky loser Misaki Doi of Japan.

Doi moved into the second round and will face American Christina McHale, who beat Zheng Saisai of China 6-2, 6-2.

Australian Daria Gavrilova defeated Caroline Garcia of France 7-5, 6-3; Latvian Jelena Ostapenko stopped Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia 1-6, 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/5).

Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko defeated China's Zhang Shiau 6-3, 6-3 while American CoCo Vandeweghe put out Italian Sara Errani 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. Croatian Donna Vekic shocked newly married former world number one Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 6-2.

In men's play on a day interrupted by rain, France's Julien Benneteau earned the first upset win of the week as he put out Spanish 10th seed David Ferrer 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.

Injury comeback hope Kevin Anderson of South Africa reached the second round when Alexandr Dolgopolov -- a semi-finalist here last year from a qualifying start -- was unable to carry on after losing the first set 7-5.

Uruguay's Pablo Cuevas beat Californian Sam Querrey 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, finishing just before the rain arrived.

Marin Cilic reached the second round by beating Serb Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-4, while Atlanta tournament champion Nick Kyrgios saw off Frenchman Lucas Pouille 6-2, 7-5.

Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov shrugged off a first-round Olympic loss to defeat Gilles Simon 6-1, 6-3 while US teenager Reilly Opelka put out Jeremy Chardy 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (11/9).

Former world No. 1 Ivanovic crashes out in windy Rio

(8/6/16) Former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic exited the Olympic Games in the first round on Saturday, though the Serb refused to blame the wind or soaring temperatures that some players said were making it tricky to play in Rio.

Ivanovic went one set up against world No. 12 Carla Suarez Navarro before losing the next two error-strewn sets to the Spaniard. Ivanovic lost 2-6 6-1 6-2.

"It was a tough draw for the first round," said Ivanovic, the former French Open winner currently ranked as world No. 26.

"I had a chance to come back in the third set but every time I came close to pegging her back, I missed the opportunity," she added.

Ivanovic's match, like all the others on center court, was played in a stadium that was more than half empty, something likely to disappoint organizers.

But the size of crowds didn't bother Japan's Kei Nishikori, who opened the men's singles tennis tournament on center court by knocking out Spain's Albert Ramos-ViŮolas with ease, winning 6-2 6-4 in two sets.

Nishikori said he didn't care if stadium was full or empty as long he kept winning. "Thatís the most important (thing)," he added.

Though one issue that impacted Nishikori's contest and most of the matches on a hot and humid day was wind, with breeze drifting across from the ocean making conditions tricky.

"Here itís very difficult to play because itís fairly open, there is constantly some kind of wind," said Croatia's Marin Cilic, who beat Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov 6-1 6-4.

One person who thrived in the Rio sun was Australia's John Millman, becoming the first Olympian ever to win a men's singles match without losing a game.

Millman's "double-bagel" 6-0, 6-0, victory against Lithuania's Ricardas Berankis came after several shoulder surgeries that threatened his career. The Australian also took part in the late-night opening ceremony, which many other Olympians competing early on Saturday skipped.

"I couldn't miss the (parade). That was a really stirring moment for me. It's hard to explain the emotions I got walking into that stadium, and obviously that carried over to today," said Millman, 27.

"I was pumped up from the word go."

Wedding bells for Rio tennis love matches

(8/2/16) Play the French Open and Wimbledon? Check. Plan for the Olympic Games in Rio? Check. Squeeze a wedding date in the weeks between? Check.

Early days of wedded bliss have been cut short for a host of top tennis stars during a hectic summer on and off the court.

Former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic, one-time Wimbledon semi-finalist Tsetvana Pironkova and colourful Italian Fabio Fognini who all said 'yes' before saying their goodbyes and reaching for the passports once again.

Ivanovic, 28, married German football star Bastian Schweinsteiger in a lavish ceremony in Venice in the week after Wimbledon last month.

The Serbian star, a former world number one and the 2008 French Open champion, has been dating the Manchester United player since 2014.

She had been previously romantically linked with Australian golfer Adam Scott.

"I am completely overwhelmed by all the beautiful wishes and congratulations posts. Thank you all! We are very happy and excited for future!," tweeted Ivanovic after her wedding which was also splashed over German Vogue.

A week later, and with the honeymoon over, it was business as usual.

"OK Back to work," she tweeted.

Ivanovic will be hoping for a better start to married life on the court than Schweinsteiger, who had his locker in United's first-team dressing room cleared out and ordered to train with the reserves by new boss Jose Mourinho on his 32nd birthday on Monday.

Bulgaria's world number 76 Pironkova married her long-time boyfriend Mihail Mirchev, a former Bulgarian footballer also in July.

Pironkova is one of two Bulgarians in the Olympics tennis event alongside Grigor Dimitrov in the men's singles.

Unlike, the social media savvy Ivanovic, the private Pironkova made no mention of her nuptials on either her Twitter feed or Facebook page.

Fiery Italian Fognini also arrives in Rio as a newlywed.

Fognini, who famously dumped Rafael Nadal out of the US Open in five sets last year, married long-time girlfriend Flavia Pennetta in June in Brindisi.

Pennetta won her only Grand Slam title in New York in 2015 and promptly announced her retirement.

"More than yesterday, less than tomorrow," gushed Fognini beside a photo of him and Pennetta sitting in their wedding car.

World number 11 Dominika Cibulkova would have been another newlywed at the Games before injury intervened.

The 27-year-old married Miso Navara in her hometown of Bratislava on the day of the women's singles final at Wimbledon.

But she had been prepared to cancel her big day when she defied her own doubts to make the quarter-finals.

She eventually lost to Russia's Elena Vesnina -- who tied the knot herself in November last year -- on the Tuesday before the final, leaving her just over three days to make it back to Slovakia and put the final touches on her big day.

"I can finally start to think about the wedding. I'm really looking forward to it," said Cibulkova, who was forced out of the Olympics on Monday with a calf injury.

Ana Ivanovic Marries Bastian Schweinsteiger!

(7/13/16) (brides.com) (Pic1, Pic2, Pic3, Pic4, Pic5) Wedding bells are ringing in the sports world! Serbian tennis star Ana Ivanovic and Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, who is also the captain of the German national soccer team, married at Venice's Palazzo Cavalli ó the same location of George and Amal Clooney's famous nuptials. And the photos of the pro athletes' Italian wedding are just lovely.

The pro athlete couple just experienced their fair share of losses as of late ó sports team losses, that is ó so their nuptials came as much-needed happy celebrations for the two. Having just waived the white flag at the Wimbeldon tournament to Ekaterina Alexandrova, 28-year-old Ivanovic was defeated from the renown tennis tournament on June 27. Schweinsteiger, 30, had a similar experience during the Euro Cup semifinals when his Germany team lost to France.

Luckily for the newlyweds, their wedding brought a little joy into their lives following their career setbacks ó and they tied the knot Tuesday morning at Palazzo Cavalli (also known as the Venice City Hall) in Italy. The bride wore a floor-length, ruffled column gown with a keyhole opening ó designed by the brand Parker ó that cost a whopping $298, according to WWD. This just goes to show that you don't always need to spend a ton of money to seriously slay you big-day look even when you're a celebrity or pro athlete (just ask Kelly Ripa). The stunning bride wore her hair down in a simple do, showing off her gorgeous locks in an understated, loose style, and she rocked a natural makeup look.

The groom wore a dark navy suit with a white button down and patterned pocket square (with no tie to be found!), and he donned a white boutonniere ó to match his new wife's white bouquet of roses. The two left the ceremony at Palazzo Cavalli beaming from ear to ear and then headed out to catch a boat ride to their reception, according to The Daily Mail (because when in Venice...).

Well-wishers and tourists flocked to congratulate the couple as they walked to their getaway boat. Word on the street is that the couple kept their nuptials and location pretty hush-hush, only telling their guests to show up at the airport with little info besides the date and time to arrive. Later on, the bride and groom enjoyed a formal reception with their guests ó in which the bride shared some sneak peeks ofon her Instagram. In the photos she's wearing a more formal dress, an A-line silhouette with a sweetheart neckline. The bride wore her hair back in a sleek, low ponytail and looked effortlessly chic.

The guest list for the reception is said to include Germany coach Joachim Low, Schweinsteiger's teammate Thomas Muller, and Munich president Uli Hoeness. While their ceremony was small and consisted of mainly family members and close friends, many of their colleagues and friends took to social media to publicly share well-wishes. Football friend Robert Lewandowski wrote "Congratulations! Wishing you a marriage filled with love and happiness @AnaIvanovic & @BSchweinsteiger," while the Women's Tennis Association shared "Congrats to newlyweds @AnaIvanovic and @BSchweinsteiger" on Twitter. Lots of love and emojis for these newlyweds on the interwebs!

With Italian nuptials this chic and intricate, we can only imagine their honeymoon plans. Of course, we're assuming they won't be going to France for their first vacay stop. Definitely too soon for Schweinsteiger. Congrats, lovebirds!

Garcia defeats Ivanovic to reach semis at Mallorca Open

(6/17/16) Sixth-seeded Caroline Garcia advanced to the semifinals of the Mallorca Open by beating former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic 7-6 (9), 5-7, 6-3 Friday.

Garcia, who is from France, had nine aces in the match. Ivanovic had eight aces and double-faulted 10 times.

Garcia will next face Kirsten Flipkens. The Belgian beat qualifier Veronica Cepede Royg of Paraguay 7-5, 6-3.

Ivanovic sets up Mallorca Open quarterfinal with Garcia

(6/16/16) Former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic cruised into the Mallorca Open quarterfinals by beating Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain 6-1, 6-0 on Thursday.

Ivanovic conceded only seven points on her first serve, and set up her second quarterfinal of the season against another local, Caroline Garcia.

Garcia has beaten Ivanovic in their last three matches, all a year ago, but this will be their first meeting on grass.

Garcia beat Anna-Lena Friedsam of Germany 6-4, 7-6 (8).

Also advancing were Veronica Cepede Royg of Paraguay, and Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium.

Tips from Henin helps Svitolina to oust Ivanovic

(5/28/16) Ana Ivanovic's hopes of adding to her 2008 French Open success ended rather tamely on Saturday as she was beaten by Justine Henin's new charge, Ukrainian 18th seed Elina Svitolina, in the third round on Saturday.

A year ago, it seemed as if Ivanovic may be emerging from a prolonged slump after making it to the Paris semi-finals for the first time since her title run.

However, the Serbian 14th seed's form has nosedived over the past 12 months and she has since failed to progress past the third round of the subsequent four major tournaments.

Saturday's 6-4 6-4 defeat was particularly disappointing for Ivanovic since she had won all seven of her previous meetings against Svitolina, including last year's quarter-final.

In fact, the 21-year-old from Odessa had taken only one of the 15 sets contested.

"It's really disappointing to finish in this manner," a glum Ivanovic, who was broken seven times and produced 29 unforced errors, told reporters.

"My forehand wasn't really working today. I was making a lot of errors. My forehand let me down today."

The 28-year-old Ivanovic recovered from 4-1 down in the second set to level at 4-4 but the brief fightback only delayed the inevitable.

A forehand slapped into the net ended her ordeal and she pulled her white sun visor over her eyes as she made a quick exit from the Court One bullring.

"I managed to get back into match and then few disappointing errors always came in the wrong time," added Ivanovic.

Svitolina arrived at Roland Garros with only one claycourt win all season but her gamble to add four-times Roland Garros champion Henin to her coaching team earlier this year is starting to pay off.

"First win against Ana, it's huge for me. I had a better mentality today than other seven matches before," said Svitolina, who will next play either defending champion Serena Williams or French hopeful Kristina Mladenovic.

"I was really confident today. Just everything was right.

"Justine understands what I feel and that's the main key. Because for coaches who didn't play on such a high level, it's tough. She's (helping me) more on the mental (side of) things."

Why the worldís hottest tennis players are dressed as zebras

(5/27/16) (Pic) The pros are embracing their animal instincts at the French Open this year.

From Serbian beauty Ana Ivanovic to German bombshell Angelique Kerber, the ladies ó as well as a few gents ó are sporting zebra print styles on the court. The fashion statement is bold to say the least, and Adidas is to blame for the patterned madness.

In collaboration with Japanese designer Yohji Yamamotoís Y-3 label, the sportswear powerhouse crafted a collection that isnít easy on the eyes.

ďThis sporty chic collection takes its inspiration from haute couture and meets the the strictest demands of sportsmen and women while cutting a striking dash,Ē Adidas said of the line. ďThe collectionís eye-catching style is inspired by zebra print to evoke a feeling of movement and fluidity.Ē

Despite praise from the company behind the collection, social media has had a field day with the tacky pieces.

It remains to be seen if dalmatian-inspired spots are being considered for the US Open.

Ivanovic enters a twilight zone, aka the French Open press room

(5/26/16) As a former champion, Ana Ivanovic was all smiles as she sauntered in for her French Open press conference, expecting to get questions about her 7-5 6-1 second-round win over Kurumi Nara on Thursday.

If only.

She looked rather bemused when she was asked by one reporter: "We have a question for you regarding Serbia's result at the Eurovision Song Contest. What do you think of the 18th position?"

Ivanovic negotiated that curve-ball by declaring: "I thought our song was great ... we deserved a much, much better position."

But Ivanovic was taken aback when another reporter said, "It is your last tournament as a `Miss'. Can you tell us something about the wedding?"

Rumours are circulating that the 28-year-old plans to marry Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger before the Euro 2016 finals start on June 10. But a startled Ivanovic, shaking her head vehemently, reacted by saying "What?"

The exchange was cut short by the moderator, who barked "Next question".

Surely things would now get back to tennis?

No chance.

"So about your outfit. It looks really good on you. Could you talk about that? How do you like that outfit?

As she digested this latest question, the glazed look in Ivanovic's eyes said it all -- it was just one of those days in the life of a globe-trotting tennis professional.

Kvitova sweeps past Chirico in Porsche Cup

(4/19/16) Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova swept past qualifier Luisa Chirico 6-0, 6-0 on Tuesday to reach the second round of the WTA Porsche Grand Prix.

The fifth-seeded Kvitova needed only 55 minutes to dismiss the American, winning 17 of 19 first-serve points. The Czech also faced only one break point.

Ana Ivanovic of Serbia rallied to beat German qualifier Carina Witthoeft 7-6 (3), 6-0. Ivanovic was down a break and the German served for the first set but could not hold and her game collapsed.

Two other Germans advanced to the second round of the indoor clay tournament with straight-set wins.

Annika Beck beat "lucky loser" Camila Giorgi 6-4, 6-2 and qualifier Laura Siegemund defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia 6-0, 7-5, coming back from a break down in the second set.

Giorgi had replaced Italian countrywoman Sara Errani, who pulled out with a right-leg injury.

KVITOVA AND IVANOVIC SAY GOODBYE

(3/27/16) Kvitova missed out on a spot in the fourth round, upstaged by fellow seed Ekaterina Makarova 6-4 6-4.

Trailing 4-1 to the eighth seed, Makarova - the 30th seed - reeled off five successive games as she rallied to win the opening set before closing out the match after breaking for a 3-2 lead in the second.

Serbian 16th seed Ana Ivanovic was eliminated by fellow seed Timea Bacsinszky, who won 7-5 6-4, while Elina Svitolina prevailed against Caroline Wozniacki 5-7 6-4 7-6 (7-1).

Bencic, Ivanovic stunned in third round at Indian Wells

(3/14/16) Swiss seventh seed Belinda Bencic was stunned by Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova while former champion Ana Ivanovic was also sent packing in third-round action at the BNP Paribas Open in California on Monday.

The 97th-ranked Rybarikova, who eliminated 31st seed Daria Gavrilova in her previous match, got by the powerful Bencic 6-4 3-6 6-3 while Czech Karolina Pliskova dumped former Serbian world number one Ivanovic 6-2 6-0 in a fleeting 49 minutes.

After an uneven start at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, 18th seed Pliskova's game clicked into gear in spectacular fashion, reeling off 10 consecutive games to close out her one-sided victory.

Ivanovic entered the tournament fresh off a run to the quarter-finals and semi-finals in Dubai and St. Petersburg, respectively, while Pliskova had suffered a couple of early exits in the Middle East.

Pliskova, perhaps, perked up in seeing Ivanovic across the net. She had won all three of her previous encounters with Ivanovic, including earlier this year in Sydney.

"We've played a few times already and I've always won. But I think I played really good tennis today and I'm happy that I made (the next round) so fast," said Pliskova, who powered in 18 winners.

Next up for Pliskova will be Britain's Johanna Konta, who advanced 6-4 6-1 over Czech Denisa Allertova, who had conquered second-seeded Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber in the previous round.

Rybarikova advanced to another challenging test against U.S. Open runner-up Roberta Vinci.

The ninth-seeded Italian hurried past Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 6-1 6-3 to book her spot in the fourth round.

Strycova advances at Dubai Tennis Championships

(2/18/16) Barbora Strycova of Czech Republic advanced to the Dubai Tennis Championships semifinals by outlasting former world No.1 Ana Ivanovic of Serbia 7-6 (5), 6-3 on Thursday.

The 47th-ranked Strycova lost the three previous times she played against the 17th-ranked Ivanovic.

"I believed in myself," said Strycova. "I was 5-3 down (in the tiebreaker) and I was playing a little bit like didnít believe that I can do it.

"I played very well the last four balls. That gave me so much confidence for the second set."

Strycova will play Caroline Garcia of France, who reached the semifinals with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Andrea Petkovic of Germany.

Strycova holds a 3-1 career edge over Garcia and won their last encounter in straight sets at the Australian Open last month.

Elina Svitolina of Ukraine advanced to her first semifinal of the season with a 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 win over American CoCo Vandeweghe.

The 21st-ranked Svitolina is playing her first tournament with former world No. 1 Justine Henin, a seven-time Grand Slam champion, joining her team as a coaching consultant. Her day-to-day coach remains Iain Hughes.

"My coach, heís more (the) technical part, and sheís more mental, I think," said Svitolina. "For me, for now, they complete all the things which I need."

Svitolina will play Sara Errani of Italy, who defeated Madison Brengle of the United States 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.

Brengle, leading 4-1 in the third set, called her coach, former French player Julie Coin, to the court during the changeover. Brengle fell apart from that point on, losing the next five games and the match.

"It was a really strange match," Errani said. "I couldíve lost easily.í

Top-seeded Simona Halep ousted by Ana Ivanovic in Dubai

(2/17/16) Defending champion and top-seeded Simona Halep of Romania was ousted by Ana Ivanovic of Serbia 7-6 (2), 6-2 at the Dubai Tennis Championships on Wednesday.

The third-ranked Halep had a set point when serving at 5-4 for the first set, but netted a backhand to squander the opportunity.

The 17th-ranked Ivanovic broke Halep's serve in the first game of the second set to reach the Dubai quarterfinals for the fourth time in her career.

Halep is the sixth straight seeded player to lose their opening match in Dubai this year.

Carla Suarez Navarro, Belinda Bencic, Karolina Pliskova, Roberta Vinci and Svetlana Kuznetsova have already lost.

France's Caroline Garcia upset Suarez Navarro of Spain 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 earlier Wednesday.

Garcia was four points from victory at 5-3, 15-15 in the third set when a hailstorm swept the area, suspending play for 3 hours, 39 minutes.

Garcia ate and slept during the delay and closed out the match when they returned.

''I stay positive all the match,'' said Garcia. ''It works well. Very happy to finish it.''

Barbora Strycova of Czech Republic trailed by a set and a break before defeating Julia Goerges of Germany 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 to advance to the quarterfinals.

''I can't believe how slow I started, but I'm happy that I got the win,'' Strycova said. ''I wasn't feeling well at the beginning but I pulled though in my head. It was tough.''

Ivanovic rolls to 1st-round win at Dubai Champs

(2/16/16) Former top-ranked Ana Ivanovic swept past Daria Gavrilova 6-1, 6-0 on Tuesday to advance to the second round of the Dubai Tennis Championships.

The 17th-ranked Ivanovic came to Dubai after having reached the semifinals in St. Petersburg, Russia, where she lost to eventual champion Roberta Vinci.

Ivanovic will play defending champion and top-seeded Simona Halep in the second round.

"You want to play against the best, and next match is going to be a tough one for me," Ivanovic said. "Simona is a very tough, consistent player. She strikes the ball well. She moves well. So itís going to be a good challenge."

The 21st-ranked Elina Svitolina advanced with a 6-3, 6-1 win against Slovakian qualifier Jana Cepelova. It was the first match Svitolina played with coaching consultant Justine Henin, a seven-time Grand Slam champion, in attendance.

"Itís great to have Justine in my team, and I worked with her in off-season for a little bit, and now sheís going to join us for some tournaments," Svitolina said. "Iím looking forward to hard work. We are trying to do something new (to) refresh my game."

Svitolina plays second-seeded Garbine Muguruza of Spain in the second round.

Fifth-seeded Belinda Bencic, who broke into the top 10 rankings this week at No. 9, was scheduled to play former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic later Tuesday.

Bencic to play Vinci in St. Petersburg final

(2/13/16) Belinda Bencic of Switzerland beat Daria Kasatkina of Russia 6-4, 6-3 in a battle of 18-year-olds to book a St. Petersburg final against Roberta Vinci of Italy, who earlier in the day downed Serbia's Ana Ivanovic in straight sets.

Bencic came under pressure from Kasatkina but secured a win that ensures she will debut in the WTA top 10 Monday regardless of the result of Sunday's final.

''This is a huge moment for me. To be in the top 10 is always like a dream for every small kid,'' Bencic, currently ranked 11th in the world, said in televised comments.

She said she enjoyed her first professional match against Kasatkina, a longtime friend from their juniors days.

''Dasha is a very good friend and I'm happy we can still be friends off the court,'' Bencic said, using Kasatkina's nickname.

The Russian had played a tough three-set quarterfinal against Dominika Cibulkova the day before, as well as a doubles match that lasted until 1 a.m., and needed treatment on her back and stomach muscles in the second set. However, she fought back, repeatedly coming close to breaking Bencic before the Swiss closed out the match on Kasatkina's serve.

The final pits the top two seeds, with Bencic in her first tournament as the first seed.

Earlier in the other semifinal, Vinci topped Ivanovic 7-5, 6-4. Vinci, ranked 16th in the world, was 3-0 down in the first set before recovering to win both sets, recording just 12 unforced errors to 29 for Ivanovic.

Vinci said it was ''an incredible match'' and that she was ''so happy'' to make the final of the inaugural St. Petersburg tournament.

Vinci is 9-5 in career tour singles finals but has lost four since her last win in Palermo in 2013, including last year's U.S. Open final. Bencic is 2-3 in WTA finals.

The Interview: Ana Ivanovic

(2/12/16) (http://www.sportsnet.ca) Ana Ivanovic
Age: 28 | Height: 6 feet | Weight: 152 lb.
Hardware: French Open 2009; 15 WTA titles

As a kid you watched Monica Seles and decided you wanted to be a tennis player. What was it about her?

I loved the way she held herself on the court; she always had an aggressive style of game, and that really appealed to me. It looked like so much fun. I tried to copy her, to be aggressive.

Did you copy her high-pitched grunt, too?

No. Not at all. [Laughs.] And I never tried double-handed forehands, either.

So you took it upon yourself to join the local club.

I was watching tennis on TV, and between games they were showing a commercial for a tennis school. I wrote down the number, gave it to my mom and said, ĎThis is what I want to do.í She thought it was a joke, but I was very stubborn and I kept bringing it up. For my fifth birthday, I got a small tennis racket. Thatís how I started.

Did you have an overpowering forehand even as a kid?

Yes, it was always my weapon. I think itís the most natural shot for me and itís always been my best. I think itís just how it comes off my racket.

Growing up in Serbia when you did, was it more difficult to develop as a tennis player?

Coaches were all saying that I was really talented and I had potential, but coming from Serbia, it wasnít easy. The í90s were the hardest years for our countryówe went through two wars. It was very hard for us to train and to travel and support ourselves, especially because tennis wasnít a very popular sport at home. But my love of the game drove my parents to support me fully, and I was very fortunate to get sponsors at a young age, and that helped me to play more tournaments and go abroad a bit, which helped me establish myself as a professional player.

How did you train during wartime?

When the bombing was happening, from about noon to about 6 a.m., we had these sirens that indicated the danger of attacks, basically. So we would train from 7Ė9 a.m. then go back home and stay home most of the day. But after a few months, they started to try to run everything like normal. So we had tournaments. Between bombings, we used to play tournaments and compete.

That must have been terrifying.

Yes, and we had these rules: The matches would start, and if the sirens came on, the matches would end and no new ones would start. Looking back, it was so silly to try to force that, especially because we were all kids. But it was our way of surviving, too.

Tennis as a means of survival.

Exactly. That was all I wanted to do.

I heard you trained in a swimming pool.

Yeah. It was an indoor Olympic swimming pool, and they had no money to heat it up, so there werenít many people using it. Because we were lacking indoor tennis courts, they decided to empty the pool and put carpet inside to make two singles courts, which were about 10Ė20 centimetres from the wall. And thatís where we trained during wintertime, because that was all we had.

Would your racket hit the side of the pool?

Yes, sometimes. So when we played points, we had rules that you were not allowed to play cross-court, because it would make the ball run into the wall and the point would be over.

That must have been hard when you went back to regular courts.

Yes, definitely. But I was very fortunate: I got sponsors when I was pretty young. When I was about 14 or 15, we got better facilities, which was very helpful.

Youíve said if you could play doubles with anyone, living or dead, youíd pick Roger Federer. Good choice.

Yes, Roger is obviously one of the greatest players of all time, maybe the best ever. Like everyone else, I am amazed by his beautiful style of play, and heís a great person, too, so it would be a big honour to play doubles with him.

Your looks are much talked about. Do you get tired of that?

I think anyone who is in the public eye is under more pressure to look good. The media and press can be relentless, especially with women. Personally, while I take pride in my appearance and enjoy the compliments, when Iím on court, it is all about my game.

Do you think people realize how difficult it is to remain among the best in the world in your sport?

Probably not. When you see players winning often, itís easy to take for granted all the hard work that goes into those achievements. Itís normal for every athlete to have ups and downs in their career, and itís very, very difficult to stay at the top for a long time. Things can happen: injury, loss of confidence, changes in your team. Itís very rare for a player to stay in the top 10 for their whole career after they first got there. I canít think of anyone who has done that since Iíve been on the Touróeven Serena was down in the rankings some years ago.

What is the hardest part about climbing back up once you fall in the world rankings?

It was hard not to panic: I so wanted to get back to the top, I was maybe rushing to do it and not realizing that it was going to be more of a process. I changed too many things when I should have been faithful to what got me to the top in the first place. And then the longer you go without showing your best form, the more confidence you lose. The way I was able to play my best tennis again was to be more relaxed and not put so much pressure on myself. I was able to stop thinking about the rankings.

Not a lot of people start their careers as a teenager. Whatís that like?

That was the dream, and thatís something that was driving me. Thatís why I am really happy and I never regret it. I know that I didnít have enough time with my friends during holidays, but that was what I gave up, because I loved to compete.

Winning the French Open at 20 must have been incredible.

That was an amazing experience. Itís something Iíll never forget. I dreamt so long of winning Grand Slams and being in that situation, and to achieve it at such a young age was really amazing. I did appreciate it a lot, but I donít think I was aware at the time how big it was.

If and when you get back in the Grand Slam winnerís circle, will it mean more?

Definitely. I think Iíd approach it completely differently. When youíre young, you take many things like theyíre normal, and as you get older, you start to appreciate everything more because of all the experiences youíve had and the appreciation for what you work for. It would not be something Iíd take like itís normal. I know now just how difficult it is.

Vinci survives scare to reach St. Petersburg semis

(2/12/16) Roberta Vinci survived a scare from Timea Babos of Hungary to reach the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy semifinals on Friday.

Vinci broke Babos when the latter was serving for the match in the deciding set, and bounced back from 4-2 down in the tiebreak to win 7-6 (3), 4-6, 7-6 (4).

Vinci struggled throughout the first and second sets, landing fewer than half of her first serves.

"She served so good, but today I played so-so. Especially at the beginning, I was so tight, so nervous," Vinci said in televised comments. "I stayed focused and I won a great match."

The second-seeded Vinci meets fourth-seeded Ana Ivanovic in the semifinals after the Serb beat Ukrainian qualifier Kateryna Kozlova 6-1, 7-5. Ivanovic limited Kozlova to just 10 points in the whole of a rapid first set but faced a tougher task when Kozlova broke her serve twice in the second.

"She is a great young player, and in the second set she started to play more powerful," Ivanovic said. "I tried to step up a bit, be more aggressive, hold my court position, and it worked well."

Vinci, Ivanovic Win In St. Petersburg

(2/10/16) Roberta Vinci secured her place in the quarterfinals of the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy by beating Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer 6-2, 7-6 (2) on Wednesday.

Vinci, seeded second, served for the match at 6-5 in the second set but was broken by Wickmayer, who proved unable to put up the same resistance in the following tiebreak.

The Italian's quarterfinal opponent will be ninth-seeded Monica Niculescu of Romania or unseeded Timea Babos of Hungary.

Ana Ivanovic powered into the quarterfinals when her Russian opponent Margarita Gasparyan crumbled, winning 7-5, 6-2.

Ivanovic, seeded fourth, was 2-0 down in the second set before winning the next six games to take the match. Gasparyan had three break points on Ivanovic's serve at 2-2 but failed to take advantage, became frustrated, and never recovered.

''I really had to dig deep,'' Ivanovic said. ''I'm really happy with the way I played today, especially in my first match.''

Ivanovic, who had a bye in the first round, will face either Russia's Elena Vesnina or Ukrainian Kateryna Kozlova in the quarterfinals.

The seventh-seeded Kristina Mladenovic of France lost in the first round after a two-hour fight with Laura Siegemund of Germany.

Siegemund, who made the main draw as a lucky loser, took the initiative in the second set against Mladenovic to win 1-6, 7-5, 6-1.

Siegemund faces promising young Russian Darya Kasatkina in the second round after she beat Belgian Kirsten Flipkens 6-4, 5-7, 6-4.

Also, former Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia made short work of Evgenia Rodina of Russia in the first round, 6-3, 6-0.

Sears thanks 'incredible people' after dramatic collapse

(1/24/16) Tennis coach Nigel Sears was cleared to leave hospital on Sunday and fly home after a dramatic mid-match collapse at the Australian Open which sent his son-in-law, Andy Murray, racing to his bedside. The 58-year-old Briton, who coaches Ana Ivanovic, thanked the "incredible people" who rushed to his aid when he collapsed at Rod Laver Arena late on Saturday while watching the former women's number one play. "My medical advice is that I will be allowed to leave the hospital shortly and I have been cleared to fly back to the UK in the next day or so," Sears said in a statement released by tournament organisers. "I just wanted to express my sincerest thanks to the incredible people who came to my aid, as well as the brilliant staff both at the Australian Open and the Epworth Hospital. I feel truly grateful to everyone involved for the manner in which this has been handled."

Murray advances, Ivanovic loses amid medical distraction

(1/23/16) A medical emergency overshadowed matches on adjoining courts at the Australian Open when Nigel Sears, who is Ana Ivanovic's coach and Andy Murray's father-in-law, was rushed to a hospital while both of their third-round matches were in progress.

Four-time finalist Murray beat No. 32 Joao Sousa 6-2, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 and signed some autographs but skipped the customary on-court interview before leaving Margaret Court Arena on Saturday night to check on the welfare of Sears, the father of his pregnant wife.

Ivanovic was leading Madison Keys 6-4, 1-0 when her match was stopped. She could be seen saying ''That's my coach,'' before both players left the court. It was the second time in three days that Ivanovic's progress was interrupted for a spectator needing medical aid - her second-round match was delayed for a half-hour when a woman fell on the stairs at Rod Laver Arena.

This time, the 2008 finalist didn't come back to win. Despite having breaks in the second and third sets, Ivanovic lost six of the last seven games to lose 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 to No. 15-seeded Keys.

Australian Open organizers didn't provide any confirmation on Sears or his condition, although stadium announcer Craig Willis told the Rod Laver Arena crowd: ''Nigel Sears had a turn, as we all saw. He's in the hospital cracking terrible jokes he cracks all the time, and a TV was wheeled into his room so he could watch the match. He's OK.''

Murray's match wasn't stopped, but word filtered through as he finished. His brother, Jamie Murray, was keeping track of Sears' health, British media reported.

Tournament organizers said Murray, Ivanovic, and Keys wouldn't be available for interviews, leaving Sousa as the only one of the four players involved in those night matches who commented on the episode.

''I just heard that Andy went direct to the hospital. Good thing is (Sears) is conscious, he's speaking,'' Sousa said. ''So we hope there's nothing bad and, of course, first is the family and the health.''

Murray's wife, Kim, is due to give birth to their first child next month, and the two-time major winner said he'd miss a match in any round to be there if she goes into labor. His next match is scheduled for Monday against No. 16-seeded Bernard Tomic.

Earlier, two-time champion Victoria Azarenka dropped her opening service game without winning a point, but recovered quickly to beat Japanese qualifier Naomi Osaka 6-1, 6-1. Azarenka is emerging as a favorite in the bottom half of the draw after No. 2 Simona Halep went out in the first round and No. 3 Garbine Muguruza lost in the third.

Azarenka will next play No. 48-ranked Barbora Strycova, who upset 2015 Wimbledon finalist Muguruza 6-3, 6-2.

Sydney-born Johanna Konta became the first British woman to reach the fourth round at the Australian Open since 1987 when she beat Denisa Allertova 6-2, 6-2. Her next match is against 2015 semifinalist Ekaterina Makarova, who ousted No. 9 Karolina Pliskova.

Muguruza's loss left No. 7 Angelique Kerber as the highest-ranked player in the bottom half of the women's draw. Kerber beat Madison Brengle 6-1, 6-3 to move into a fourth-round match against fellow German Annika Beck, and a potential quarterfinal with Azarenka.

Milos Raonic dedicated his third-round victory, a 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 win over Viktor Troicki, to victims of a shooting in a remote community in Saskatchewan, Canada, which left four people dead and at least two injured.

''Today, before I stepped out on court it was a difficult day back home,'' the Canadian told the crowd. ''I want to take a moment and give thoughts to that community. Today's victory was for that community, and a quick recovery and all of Canada, and I'm sure the world is behind you.''

Raonic faces a tough fourth-rounder against Stan Wawrinka, the 2014 Australian and 2015 French Open champion, who advanced past Lukas Rosol 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (3).

No. 8-seeded David Ferrer overwhelmed Steve Johnson 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 and set up a meeting with another American in the next round, No. 10-seeded John Isner, who fired 44 aces against Feliciano Lopez in winning 6-7 (8), 7-6 (5), 6-2, 6-4.

Ivanovic coach in hospital after Rod Laver Arena collapse

(1/23/16) Nigel Sears, the coach of Ana Ivanovic and father-in-law of men's world number two Andy Murray, was taken to hospital after collapsing in the stands on Rod Laver Arena during a match at the Australian Open on Saturday.

Tournament organizers said Sears was "breathing, conscious and talking" and being examined by a cardiologist at a nearby hospital after being carried out of the showcourt on a stretcher.

Sears had been watching Ivanovic's third round clash against American Madison Keys when he was taken ill and the match was halted for nearly an hour after the incident.

The Serb was leading 1-0 in the second set after taking the first 6-4 when play was suspended but eventually went down 4-6 6-4 6-4 to exit the tournament.

Organizers said the players had been given the opportunity to consult with their teams before play was resumed.

Murray, oblivious to the development, continued to play his third round match against Portugal's Joao Sousa on Margaret Court Arena, winning 6-2 3-6 6-2 6-2.

He was ushered away after the victory without the usual courtside interview.

Sears is the father of Murray's wife Kim, who is expecting their first child in mid-February and has not traveled to Melbourne.

TREATED

Television microphones picked up Ivanovic talking to chair umpire Felix Torralba that she thought the person being treated was her coach before play was eventually suspended.

Ivanovic still appeared distressed when returning to court almost an hour later but tournament organizers said a discussion had taken place with both players before play resumed.

The 58-year-old Sears had previously coached Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova, leading her to a top-10 ranking. He joined Ivanovic in June 2011 after almost five years with the Lawn Tennis Association and Britain's Fed Cup team.

They parted company after Wimbledon in 2013 but he rejoined her team last year.

It is the second time this tournament that one of Ivanovic's matches had been suspended after her second round match against Anastasija Sevastova was held up for 26 minutes when a woman fell in the stands at the same showcourt.

Ivanovic reaches third round at Australian Open

(1/21/16) Ana Ivanovic was concerned when she heard a loud noise as a spectator fell on some stairs at Rod Laver Arena, an accident that delayed her second-round match for almost a half hour at the Australian Open.

The 2008 finalist was leading qualifier Anastasija Sevastova 4-3 in the first set when medical personnel rushed to the womanís aid in the upper level of the 15,000-seat stadium. The players stayed on the court during the break, getting regular updates from tournament officials, before Ivanovic returned to win 6-3, 6-3.

"First I felt really bad. I was really shaking, because the sound of the lady falling was really loud," she said. "I stopped immediately."

Ivanovic said she feared the worst for the spectator, "So I just hope the lady was fine."

"It was actually good that we had to wait a little bit because I was really shaking, because I could imagine and it was not so nice. I hope sheís well."

Tournament organizers said the spectator was treated in the stadium before being taken by stretcher for observation and more treatment.

Players regularly have breaks for rain and other reasons during matches, so Ivanovic said she didnít let the distraction put her off her game.

"I was really happy I happened to win that service game, because didnít have much warmup and had to start serving straight up," she said. "I was very happy to close that first set."

With No. 2-ranked Simon Halep and No. 7 Venus Williams already out, No. 20 Ivanovic is the most experienced player in her quarter.

Third-seeded Garbine Muguruza is in the same half of the draw, and the 2015 Wimbledon finalist moved into the third round for the third straight year at Melbourne Park with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Kirsten Flipkens. Muguruza will next play Barbora Strycova, who beat Vania King 7-6 (5), 6-4.

Two-time champion Victoria Azarenka returned from an injury layoff to win the Brisbane International title leading into the Australian Open and continued her winning run with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Danka Kovinic. Japanese qualifier Naomi Osaka beat No. 18 Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-4.

Fist-pumping Ivanovic gets first win of year

(1/19/16) Former world number one Ana Ivanovic conquered her nerves to beat unheralded Tammi Patterson and keep her Australian Open hopes alive with her first win of the season Tuesday.

The Serb, a perennial crowd favourite in Australia, where she has family, crashed at the first hurdle at both the Auckland Classic and Sydney International this month but finally got off the mark against wildcard Patterson.

She came through the test on Hisense Arena 6-2, 6-3 and has a good chance of pushing on to the third round with a qualifier, Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova, awaiting her next.

"You know, first rounds are always tricky against opponents you don't know," she said after a fist-pumping display.

"But you really have to take care of your own game and yourself out there. For me it was just a matter of focusing.

"Of course you're going to have nerves for every match because it means so much to you. But it's about just trying to handle them. I did that well today."

Her progress to the second round is one better than last year, when she suffered a humiliating defeat to a player ranked 137 places below her.

That loss stymied her plans to rebuild a career that had stalled since she won the French Open as a 20-year-old in 2008.

Undeterred, she bounced back to make the Roland Garros semis but flopped again at Wimbledon and the US Open.

Seeded 23 in Melbourne, Ivanovic was too good for Australian Patterson, pummelling 15 winners with her pinpoint forehands doing the damage.

She said her serve was also improving.

"I think I served well. I think my serve can be a weapon. That's my aim," she said, adding that she was "thrilled" to get through her first match successfully.

"It means a lot to me and hopefully I can improve in my second match."

Australian Open Seeds

(1/14/16) 1. Serena Williams, United States
2. Simona Halep, Romania
3. Garbine Muguruza, Spain
4. Agnieszka Radwanska, Poland
5. Maria Sharapova, Russia
6. Petra Kvitova, Czech Republic
7. Angelique Kerber, Germany
8. Venus Williams, United States
9. Karolina Pliskova, Czech Republic
10. Carla Suarez Navarro, Spain
11. Timea Bacsinszky, Switzerland
12. Belinda Bencic, Switzerland
13. Roberta Vinci, Italy
14. Victoria Azarenka, Belarus
15. Madison Keys, United States
16. Caroline Wozniacki, Denmark
17. Sara Errani, Italy
18. Elina Svitolina, Ukraine
19. Jelena Jankovic, Serbia
20. Ana Ivanovic, Serbia
21. Ekaterina Makarova, Russia
22. Andrea Petkovic, Germany
23. Svetlana Kuznetsova, Russia
24. Sloane Stephens, United States
25. Samantha Stosur, Australia
26. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Russia
27. Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, Slovakia
28. Kristina Mladenovic, France
29. Irina-Camelia Begu, Romania
30. Sabine Lisicki, Germany
31. Lesia Tsurenko, Ukraine
32. Caroline Garcia, France.

I beat Ivanovic - you know, Schweinsteiger's girlfriend

(1/6/16) Ana Ivanovic may be one of tennis's brightest stars but to Naomi Broady's friends, she's better known as the girlfriend of Manchester United star Bastian Schweinsteiger.

After upsetting Ivanovic at the Auckland Classic for her first win over a top-20 player, friends of Britain's Broady struggled to place the former world number one.

"Some of my friends don't follow tennis at all," Broady, who comes from Stockport near Manchester, told the New Zealand Herald.

"I have messaged them 'I won, I won' but it's like eating humble pie... I have to explain to them that I have won a good match and they just don't get it."

She added: "They are more bothered that I played Schweinsteiger's girlfriend I think. They don't get tennis whatsoever."

Broady, 25 and ranked 122nd, came through qualifying to make the main draw in Auckland where she beat Ivanovic, the Serbian second seed, 7-5, 6-4 in the first round.

Broady fired down 14 aces to overpower Ivanovic, and another 21 when she beat Latvian Jelena Ostapenko in the second round 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 7-5 on Wednesday.

Broady said that before playing Ivanovic, she was inspired by the 18-year-old Russian Daria Kasatkina's win over top seed Venus Williams in the first round.

"My coach said before the match the biggest thing would be believing you could win," Broady said.

"The fact that the young girl went out before me and beat Venus gave me a boost. If she could take out Venus, why couldn't I take out the number two seed?"

Williams, Ivanovic crash out in Auckland

(1/5/16) Defending champion Venus Williams and second seed Ana Ivanovic were shock first-round casualties at the WTA ASB Classic in Auckland on Tuesday.

Much had been expected of top seed and seven-time grand slam champion Williams, who boasted a 9-1 win-loss record at the tournament after taking out last year's final.

But Williams and her bid for back-to-back titles came unstuck in an error-riddled performance against unheralded 18-year-old Daria Kasatkina.

The American was beaten 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 6-3 by the Russian teenager, who is ranked 75th in the world.

Williams won a first-set tie-break, but it was all downhill from that point as Kasatkina regrouped to triumph in two hours and 17 minutes at the International series event.

"She is an amazing tennis player and I respect her so much," said Kasatkina, who will meet Nao Hibino for a place in the quarter-finals. "It was an unbelievable match for me."

The shocks continued later in the day, as British qualifier Naomi Broady ousted world number 16 Ivanovic in straight sets.

Broady, ranked 106 places below the former French Open winner, broke the Serbian four times throughout and did not give up her crashing serve once in the second set, as she sent down to 14 aces in total to dispatch the 2014 champion 7-5 6-4 in one hour and 23 minutes.

Bucking the trend of big-names upsets, third seed and former world number one Caroline Wozniacki managed to win through to the second round after seeing off Danka Kovinic 6-4 6-4.

Wozniacki, who lost to Williams in last year's decider, was forced to dig deep against the combative Kovinic, having trailed 4-0 before winning six consecutive games to claim the first set.

The two-time US Open runner-up and Kovinic exchanged breaks late in the second stanza before the former eventually closed out the match.

Next up for Wozniacki is Christina McHale, who defeated Misaki Doi 6-2 6-4.

Fellow seed Barbora Strycova advanced courtesy of a 6-2 6-4 win over Kiki Bertens, former French Open champion Francesco Schiavone bowed out of the tournament, beaten 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 6-3 by Austrian qualifier Tamira Paszek, qualifier Kirsten Flipkens edged Bethanie Mattek-Sands 3-6 6-4 6-3, while Lucie Hradecka fell 6-0 6-3 to Julia Goerges.

In the final match of the day, home favourite Marina Erakovic overcame Yulia Putintseva 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-3).

Ivanovic beats Sharapova as Royals thrash Warriors

(12/3/15) UAE Royals thrashed Japan Warriors 30-15 on day two of the International Premier Tennis League in Kobe, while Singapore Slammers narrowly overcame Philippine Mavericks.

The Warriors failed to win any of their five one-set matches, with Maria Sharapova, who took part in their 6-0 mixed doubles defeat, defeated 6-4 by Ana Ivanovic, while Goran Ivanisevic and Tomas Berdych were both victorious for the Royals.

Victory sent them to the top of the standings with a second straight win, but the Warriors have now experienced successive defeats.

In the day's other contest, the Slammers secured a narrow 26-24 triumph over the Mavericks despite losing the men's doubles and men's legends singles.

Serena Williams lost 6-4 to Karolina Pliskova, but the score was level at 20 apiece before Milos Raonic and Nick Kyrgios met in the final set.

The Australian's 6-4 win ensured it was the Slammers who emerged victorious for the first time in the competition.

Raonic admitted it will take time for him to adapt to the format in his debut campaign.

He said: "It's a good format, fans enjoy it. For me, I'm somebody who usually likes to take his time in between points, so it will take a little getting used to, but I'm sure it'll get better by tomorrow."

'Humble' Ivanovic coy on WTA Finals hopes

(10/3/15) Ana Ivanovic didn't dare to discuss her chances of reaching the end-of-season WTA Finals on Saturday despite making a rip-roaring start to the China Open.

After a slow opening, the former world number one reeled off 10 games in a row to beat a shell-shocked Casey Dellacqua 6-4, 6-0 and set up a second-round match with Venus Williams.

A raft of late-season injuries and retirements have raised the chances of ninth-ranked Ivanovic reaching the year-ender in Singapore but she refused to jinx herself by discussing it publicly.

"To be honest I'm not looking that far ahead. Every time you think about that it kind of backfires," she said.

"You have to really stay humble and work hard for each match. We see there are so many tough opponents out there... so you really have to keep your head in the right place and play like you practice."

Ivanovic is currently about 800 points adrift in the race for the eight-player WTA Finals later this month, with 1,000 points going to the winner in Beijing.

However, several players including Maria Sharapova are carrying injuries, and top-ranked Serena Williams has already withdrawn for the rest of the season seeking extra rest.

Against 112th-ranked Dellacqua, sixth seed Ivanovic made life hard for herself when she was twice broken in the first set although she soon hit back with breaks of her own.

A pep talk from her trainer at 4-3 down proved the turning point and the former world number one swept through the next 10 games to win in just over an hour.

"I think I calmed down a bit and take more time, and I started to do things a little bit better," she said.

"I thought that I was playing well but I was rushing... but then after I really tried to be patient and make her move, and I started to serve better too."

Earlier two-time Beijing champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, 30, found age was no barrier when she won 6-4, 6-4 win against Germany's Carina Witthoeft, who is 10 years her junior.

Brazil's Teliana Pereira, winner of two titles this year, beat Alexandra Dulgheru 7-5, 6-2, and Timea Bacsinszky came from a set down to oust Camila Giorgi 1-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Elsewhere world number one and five-time winner Novak Djokovic entertained the crowds in broken Chinese as he led children in a public coaching clinic, before the men's main draw starts on Monday.

Ivanovic easily reaches second round of China Open

(10/3/15) Sixth-seeded Ana Ivanovic beat Casey Dellacqua of Australia 6-4, 6-0 Saturday to advance to the second round of the China Open.

Ivanovic was broken twice in the first set, but Dellacqua won less than half the points on her own serve as the Serb wrapped up the victory in little more than an hour.

Madison Keys of United States also advanced by beating Kristina Mladenovic of France 7-5, 6-2, breaking her opponent five times.

In other first-round matches, 12th-seeded Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland, Wang Qiang of China, Teliana Pereira of Brazil, and Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia all advanced.

Bacsinszky rallied to beat Camila Giorgi of Italy 1-6, 6-4, 6-3, while Wang ousted American Varvara Lepchenko 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.

Cibulkova reaches Pan Pacific Open semifinals

(9/25/15) Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia beat defending champion Ana Ivanovic of Serbia 7-6 (5), 6-3 Friday to reach the semifinals of the Toray Pan-Pacific Open.

She will next face seventh-seeded Agniezka Radwanska of Poland, who beat Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 7-5, 6-2. The other semifinal will feature top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark and Belinda Bencic of Switzerland.

Cibulkova, the only unseeded player to reach the last eight, showed no sign of the stomach bug that forced her withdrawal from the doubles on Thursday.

She broke back twice in the first set before taking the tiebreaker and then broke twice more in the second to repeat her victory over Ivanovic in the first round of the U.S. Open.

"I had a lot of chances, I just couldn't convert the points today," Ivanovic said. "I felt in both matches she was reading my serve really well, and it was very hard at times to know where to serve, so that's something I'll definitely have to improve on the next time we play."

Earlier, Wozniacki overcame No. 5 Angelique Kerber of Germany 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 after saving five break points in the fifth game of the deciding set.

"That was a long game, and holding that definitely gave me some confidence," Wozniacki said.

Bencic defeated third-seeded Garbine Muguruza of Spain 7-6 (1), 6-1. Bencic saved three straight break points in the fourth game of the second set to hold for a 3-1 lead and swept the next three games to close out the win.

Ivanovic reaches Toray Pan-Pacific Open quarters

(9/24/15) Defending champion Ana Ivanovic of Serbia came from a break down in both sets to defeat Camila Giorgi of Italy 7-5, 6-2 Thursday and reach the quarterfinals of the Toray Pan-Pacific Open.

Ivanovic, who received a bye to the second round, was broken in the first game of the match but broke right back and took Giorgi's serve again to close out the first set.

The second-seeded Ivanovic then bounced back from 2-0 down in the second, winning the next six games to set up a quarterfinal with Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia. Cibulkova beat Ivanovic in the first round of the U.S. Open this year, and beat sixth-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 6-4, 6-4 on Thursday.

However, she then withdrew from a doubles match with an acute gastrointestinal illness and an official WTA injury report rated her chances of being ready for the singles quarterfinal as ``questionable.''

Ivanovic, appearing in Tokyo for the 10th time, said she is hoping her opponent will be fit.

``Definitely I would prefer a match, especially having a tough match against her in the U.S. Open,'' Ivanovic said. ``I really feel like I'm ready for revenge.''

Cibulkova improved her record to 3-0 against Suarez Navarro, who had not won a match in seven tournaments before beating Kateryna Bondarenko here in the first round.

Seventh-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska also reached the final eight by beating Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 6-4, 6-1 and will play Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, who eliminated the last remaining Japanese player by defeating Kurumi Nara 6-2, 6-4.

The 11th-ranked Pliskova served 10 aces and rallied from 4-1 down in the second set to clinch the match.

Ivanovic falls in US Open first round

(9/1/15) Ana Ivanovic crashed out of the US Open first round on Monday, losing 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 to Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova and giving Serena Williams a helping hand in her Grand Slam history bid.

Serbian seventh seed Ivanovic, a quarter-finalist in 2012, was in Williams's half of the draw, a section which had already lost Maria Sharapova through injury even before the tournament started.

World number one Williams is bidding to become the first woman since Steffi Graf in 1988 to complete a calendar Grand Slam.

Cibulkova, ranked 50th in the world after sitting out three months to undergo surgery on her left foot, will face American qualifier Jessica Pegula for a place in the last 32.

"It feels real cosy," said the 26-year-old Cibulkova of the huge superstructure which towers over the Arthur Ashe Stadium and has been built to hold a retractable roof which will be in operation next year.

The pint-sized Cibulkova made the quarter-finals in New York in 2010 but had fallen in the first round in the last two years.

Monday's win, her third in five meetings against former French Open champion Ivanovic, opened play at the 2015 tournament.

But it was not the greatest of encounters, with the fractured affair featuring 11 breaks of serve while Ivanovic required treatment on her left foot after slipping 4-1 down in the decider.

"I knew I had to bring my best tennis today. I had to stay tough as I knew she would not give me a single ball," said Cibulkova.

With Ivanovic and Sharapova no longer involved, Williams finds eighth-seeded Czech Karolina Pliskova as the highest-ranked player in her half.

US OPEN 2015: Capsules on top women's players

(8/30/15) ANA IVANOVIC

Seeded: 7

Age: 27

Country: Serbia

2015 Match Record: 20-14

2015 Singles Titles: 0

Career Singles Titles: 15

Major Titles: 1 ó French Open ('08)

Last 5 U.S. Opens: '14-2nd, '13-4th, '12-QF, '11-4th, '10-4th

Topspin: A former No. 1 player, major champion and two-time Grand Slam runner-up. ... U.S. Open is only Grand Slam tournament where she hasn't made at least one semifinal appearance.

US Open women's draw

(8/29/15) Women's draw for the US Open, the year's final Grand Slam tournament that begins Monday on the Flushing Meadows hardcourts (x denotes seed):

Serena Williams (USA x1) v Vitalia Diatchenko (RUS)

Kiki Bertens (NED) v Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (CRO)

Kateryna Kozlova (UKR) v Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA)

CoCo Vandeweghe (USA) v Sloane Stephens (USA x29)

Madison Keys (USA x19) v Klara Koukalova (CZE)

Tereza Smitkova (CZE) v Andreea Mitu (ROM)

Magda Linette (POL) v Urszula Radwanska (POL)

Katerina Siniakova (CZE) v Agnieszka Radwanska (POL x15)

Belinda Bencic (SUI x12) v Sesil Karatantcheva (BUL)

Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) v Misaki Doi (JPN)

Irina Falconi (USA) v Samantha Crawford (USA)

Monica Puig (PUR) v Venus Williams (USA x23)

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS x31) v Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK)

Anett Kontaveit (EST) v Casey Dellacqua (AUS)

Zheng Saisai (CHN) v Madison Brengle (USA)

Ana Tatishvili (USA) v Karolina Pliskova (CZE x8)

Maria Sharapova (RUS x3) v Daria Gavrilova (AUS)

Ana Konjuh (CRO) v Tatjana Maria (GER)

Lara Amuabarrena (ESP) v Bojana Jovanovski (SRB)

Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) v Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS x30)

Elina Svitolina (UKR x17) v Elizaveta Kulichkova (RUS)

Ana-Lena Friedsam (GER) v Kaia Kanepi (EST)

Lauren Davis (USA) v Heather Watson (GBR)

Teliana Pereira (BRA) v Ekaterina Makarova (RUS x13)

Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP x10) v Denisa Allertova (CZE)

Vania King (USA) v Roberta Vinci (ITA)

Sofia Kenin (USA) v Mariana Duque-Marino (COL)

Oceane Dodin (FRA) v Jelena Jankovic (SRB x21)

Eugenie Bouchard (CAN x25) v Alison Riske (USA)

Polona Hercog (SLO) v Zarina Diyas (KAZ)

Jessica Pegula (USA) v Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL)

Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) v Ana Ivanovic (SRB x7)

Petra Kvitova (CZE x5) v Laura Siegemund (GER)

Lourdes Dominguez Lino (ESP) v Nicole Gibbs (USA)

Aleksandra Krunic (SRB) v Danka Kovinic (MNE)

Julia Goerges (GER) v Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK)

Andrea Petkovic (GER x18) v Caroline Garcia (FRA)

Laura Robson (GBR) v Elena Vesnina (RUS)

Louisa Chirico (USA) v Johanna Konta (GBR)

Carina Witthoeft (GER) v Garbine Muguruza (ESP x9)

Sara Errani (ITA x16) v Mayo Hibi (JPN)

Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) v Annika Beck (GER)

Evgeniya Rodina (RUS) v Tereza Mrdeza (CRO)

Timea Babos (HUN) v Samantha Stosur (AUS x22)

Flavia Pennetta (ITA x26) v Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS)

Alexandra Panova (RUS) v Monica Niculescu (ROM)

Christina McHale (USA) v Petra Cetkovska (CZE)

Jamie Loeb (USA) v Carolina Wozniacki (DEN x4)

Lucie Safarova (CZE x6) v Lesia Tsurenko (UKR)

Varvara Lepchenko (USA) v Kirsten Flipkens (BEL)

Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) v Mona Barthel (GER)

Olga Govortsova (BLR) v Irina-Camelia Begu (ROM x28)

Victoria Azarenka (BLR x20) v Lucie Hradecka (CZE)

Francesca Schiavone (ITA) v Yanina Wickmayer (BEL)

Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) v Karin Knapp (ITA)

Alexandra Dulgheru (ROM) v Angelique Kerber (GER x11)

Timea Bacsinszky (SUI x14) v Barbora Strycova (CZE)

Maria Sakkari (GRE) v Wang Qiang (CHN)

Camila Giorgi (ITA) v Johanna Larsson (SWE)

Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) v Sabine Lisicki (GER x24)

Alize Cornet (FRA x27) v Kurumi Nara (JPN)

Shelby Rogers (USA) v Sachia Vickery (USA)

Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) v Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR)

Marina Erakovic (NZL) v Simona Halep (ROM x2)

Cincinnati Seeds

(8/15/15) Women: Serena Williams (USA x1) Maria Sharapova (RUS x2) Simona Halep (ROM x3) Petra Kvitova (CZE x4) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN x5) Ana Ivanovic (SRB x6) Lucie Safarova (CZE x7) Karolina Pliskova (CZE x8) Garbine Muguruza (ESP x9) Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP x10) Angelique Kerber (GER x11) Timea Bascinszky (SUI x12) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL x14) Elina Svitolina (UKR x15) Andrea Petkovic (GER x16) Sara Errani (ITA x16)

Ivanovic, Halep advance with Rogers Cup wins

(8/12/15) Ana Ivanovic knows all about the kind of struggles that have hampered Canadian Eugenie Bouchard this season.

The 27-year-old Serb was still a teenager when she first made her mark on the WTA Tour. She won her first tournament in 2005 and was one of the top players on the circuit just a few years later.

But Ivanovic had to endure a nasty slump after getting that early taste of success. Bouchardís young career has taken a similar trajectory and her current season looks a lot like the one Ivanovic would rather forget.

Ivanovic, who beat Belarusian qualifier Olga Govortsova 6-4, 7-6 (4) on Wednesday at the Rogers Cup, struggled mightily in 2010 before rebounding once the hardcourt season began. She fell to 65th in the world rankings that year but regained her confidence with a semifinal appearance in Cincinnati.

Ivanovic rose to No. 17 by the end of that season and has been a regular in the top 10 in recent years. She has 15 career WTA titles on her resume and is proof that perseverance is key.

"I went through that and it's not easy," Ivanovic said of her slump. "And every person or player goes through it differently because of their character. And (Bouchard) is very young. I think it's important to go back to her basics and what works for her and to work hard and actually listen to herself. (Do) what she needs to do rather than being too much influenced by outside people.

"Surround herself with the right people and then stick with it."

Bouchard, a former top-five player, had a breakout season in 2014 but this year has been disastrous.

The 21-year-old from Westmount, Que., fell to Switzerland's Belinda Bencic on Tuesday night and has now lost her opening match at six of her last eight tournaments. She's on her third coach in the last year and has dropped to No. 25 in the world rankings.

Bouchard looks nothing like the player who reached the Wimbledon final a year earlier. It's a position that Ivanovic was all too familiar with at one time.

"I really wasn't finding the purpose in working or playing," she recalled. "And I sort of turned that around a little bit and tried to find fun in the small things because I just felt like everything was about tennis and I just wanted to go to the cinema, to have dinner with my girlfriends on the tour, and (things) that I wasn't really allowed to do before.

"So I was like trying to find the balance and trying to actually learn what I needed as a person."

Ivanovic battled windy conditions and a sore back in her early afternoon match Wednesday on the grandstand court at Aviva Centre. She'll play Polona Hercog in the third round after the Slovenian qualifier surprised 11th-seeded Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 6-2, 6-7 (2), 7-5.

There were some other upsets on a warm, sunny afternoon on the York University campus. Ukrainian qualifier Lesia Tsurenko topped eighth-seeded Garbine Muguruza of Spain 7-5, 6-1 and seventh-seeded Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic dropped a 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 decision to Russia's Daria Gavrilova.

In other early matches, second-seeded Simona Halep of Romania downed Serbia's Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 6-4 and Alize Cornet of France beat Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia 6-3, 6-2.

German qualifier Carina Witthoeft defeated American Alison Riske 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 and Sabine Lisicki of Germany got by Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic 7-6 (3), 6-4. Roberta Vinci of Italy defeated Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia 6-3, 6-3 and Italy's Sara Errani beat American Madison Brengle 6-3, 2-6, 6-3.

Tsurenko, the world No. 54, needed 77 minutes to complete her victory over one of the rising stars on the WTA Tour. The 21-year-old Muguruza has risen to ninth in the world rankings after her surprise run at Wimbledon last month.

Muguruza beat four top-15 players before falling to American Serena Williams in the final at the All England Club.

Williams is the top seed at this week's US$2.38-million hardcourt event. She's scheduled to play her third-round match on Thursday night.

WTA: Where The Top 20 Are Playing This Summer

(7/30/15) 1. Serena Williams: Stanford, Toronto, Cincinnati, US Open
2. Maria Sharapova: Toronto, Cincinnati, US Open
3. Simona Halep: Toronto, Cincinnati, New Haven, US Open
4. Petra Kvitova: Toronto, Cincinnati, New Haven, US Open
5. Caroline Wozniacki: Stanford, Toronto, Cincinnati, US Open
6. Ana Ivanovic: Toronto, Cincinnati, US Open
7. Agnieszka Radwanska: Stanford, Toronto, Cincinnati, US Open
8. Lucie Safarova: Toronto, Cincinnati, US Open
9. GarbiŮe Muguruza: Toronto, Cincinnati, US Open
10. Carla SuŠrez Navarro: Stanford, Toronto, Cincinnati, US Open
11. Ekaterina Makarova: Washington DC, Toronto, Cincinnati, New Haven, US Open
12. Karolina Pliskova: Stanford, Toronto, Cincinnati, New Haven, US Open
13. Angelique Kerber: Stanford, Toronto, Cincinnati, US Open
14. Timea Bacsinszky: Toronto, Cincinnati, New Haven, US Open
15. Venus Williams: Toronto, Cincinnati, US Open
16. Andrea Petkovic: Stanford, Toronto, Cincinnati, US Open
17. Sara Errani: Toronto, Cincinnati, New Haven, US Open
18. Madison Keys: Stanford, Toronto, Cincinnati, New Haven, US Open
19. Victoria Azarenka: Washington DC, Toronto, Cincinnati, US Open
20. Elina Svitolina: Stanford, Toronto, Cincinnati, New Haven, US Open

Ivanovic dumped out of Wimbledon by American qualifier

(7/1/15) Ana Ivanovic became the highest-profile casualty of Wimbledon's opening days as the seventh seed fell to 158th-ranked qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands in a second round clash on Wednesday.

Ivanovic, a former French Open Champion and world number one, lost 6-3 6-4 to become the second-highest seed to exit the women's draw after Simona Halep was beaten on Tuesday.

While it is seven years since the Serb clinched the title at Roland Garros, she had appeared to be on her way back to her best after reaching the last four on the Paris clay a month ago.

Yet she was put under pressure from the start by the tattooed American Mattek-Sands, who was playing in the second round at Wimbledon for only the third time.

"She was aggressive. She was coming in a lot. I thought she was hitting lots of winners off the forehand side," said the Serb whose boyfriend, Germany soccer international Bastian Schweinsteiger, was cheering her on in the crowd.

"She made some errors, but there was not really a rhythm out there, for example, like I had in my first match. I kind of expected that. She played well. She served well."

Ivanovic's career has been somewhat turbulent after she won the French as a 20-year-old in 2008.

Soon after that success, the results dried up as injuries and emotional instability on court took their toll, with her ranking dropping as low as 65 in 2010.

On the back of her Wimbledon exit, however, she said she will now take some time off to try and improve her fitness levels before returning to court in August.

"I'm looking forward to having some time off and do proper preparation because that's what I've been lacking," she said.

"I've been playing catch-up in that area for a while. I have lots of changes within the team. Now I feel like I have a solid base. But I just need time to first rest, refresh, and then work hard for it."

List of women's seeds at Wimbledon

(6/24/15) List of women's seeds for the Wimbledon tennis championships which begin on Monday:

1 Serena Williams (U.S.)

2 Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic)

3 Simona Halep (Romania)

4 Maria Sharapova (Russia)

5 Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark)

6 Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic)

7 Ana Ivanovic (Serbia)

8 Ekaterina Makarova (Russia)

9 Carla Suarez Navarro (Spain)

10 Angelique Kerber (Germany)

11 Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic)

12 Eugenie Bouchard (Canada)

13 Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland)

14 Andrea Petkovic (Germany)

15 Timea Bacsinzky (Switzerland)

16 Venus Williams (U.S.)

17 Elina Svitolina (Ukraine)

18 Sabine Lisicki (Germany)

19 Sara Errani (Italy)

20 Garbine Muguruza (Spain)

21 Madison Keys (U.S)

22 Samantha Stosur (Australia)

23 Victoria Azarenka (Belarus)

24 Flavia Pennetta (Italy)

25 Alize Cornet (France)

26 Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia)

27 Barbora Strycova (Czech Republic)

28 Jelena Jankovic (Serbia)

29 Irina-Camelia Begu (Romania)

30 Belinda Bencic (Switzerland)

31 Camila Giorgi (Italy)

32 Caroline Garcia (France)

Injured Azarenka withdraws from Aegon Classic, Ivanovic Ousted

(6/18/15) Former world No. 1s Victoria Azarenka and Ana Ivanovic departed from the Aegon Classic singles draw on Wednesday, with only Ivanovic confident of being ready for Wimbledon in 11 days.

Azarenka suffered another blow to her chances of reviving her faltering career when she was forced to withdraw with a left foot injury, while Ivanovicís title defence was ruined in the second round by Portuguese qualifier Michelle Larcher de Brito 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (6).

Azarenkaís foot injury is similar to the ailment which contributed to her fall from the worldís top 20 more than 10 months ago, something which has prevented her from adding to her 17 titles in almost two years.

Although the forceful Belarussian is still only 25, with time in which to rebuild a top-level game which has so far earned her two Grand Slam titles, this latest setback will both cast doubt on her chances of doing well at Wimbledon, and add to her long-term worries.

Azarenka, nevertheless, tried to put a brave face on it.

"Itís very disappointing for me to make this decision, but I tried to practice, and it just doesnít feel 100 per cent," she said. "I donít think it is the right time for me to take a risk right now, especially right before Wimbledon, and I need to make sure I have the best preparation possible."

With little time before Wimbledon, Azarenka looked like she would do well to be fit enough for the American hard-court season which follows a month later.

De Brito appeared to benefit from having played two matches already on grass, often hitting fiercely and with good timing, but Ivanovic seemed to have weathered the storm when she broke serve early in the final set and went to close the match out at 5-4.

However, de Brito played a fine game to break back, and thereafter discomforted the champion by swinging more freely. It earned her two match points at 6-4 in the tiebreaker, both of which Ivanovic saved well, only to double fault on the third at 7-6 down to lose her title.

"So many times I tried to do too much because I felt like, OK, itís fast, I have to do more, instead of just staying calm and executing my shots," the second-seeded Ivanovic said.

Eugenie Bouchard, the Canadian who reached the Wimbledon final last year, became the seventh of the 16 seeds to fall when she was beaten by Kristina Mladenovic of France 6-3, 4-6, 6-0.

"I felt very frustrated," Bouchard said. "But they told us that if we smack our rackets on the court we would get a huge fine Ė so perhaps thatís why I kept my cool."

Safarova beats Ivanovic, into French Open final

(6/4/15) Lucie Safarova advanced to her first Grand Slam final with a 7-5, 7-5 win over former champion Ana Ivanovic at the French Open on Thursday.

The 13th-seeded Czech player, who upset defending champion Maria Sharapova in the fourth round, has not dropped a set in the tournament.

She will be up against either 19-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams or 23rd-seeded Timea Bacsinszky in Saturdayís final.

Safarova is the first Czech woman to make it to the final at the French Open since Hana Mandlikova in 1981.

French Open Lookahead: ANA IVANOVIC VS. LUCIE SAFAROVA

(6/3/15) ANA IVANOVIC VS. LUCIE SAFAROVA

Seven years ago, Ana Ivanovic raised aloft the French Open trophy.

It remains the only Grand Slam title the seventh-seeded Serb has ever won, and she is back in the semifinals of a major tournament for the first time since then when she takes on 13th-seeded Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic.

Safarova plays in only her second Grand Slam semi after advancing that far at Wimbledon last year.

It will be their ninth career meeting, with Safarova enjoying a 5-3 lead ó including in the third round here in 2014.

But Ivanovic will remember her run to the title in 2008, when she beat Safarova in the second round.

There is another omen, too.

Ivanovic will again be cheered on by Bastian Schweinsteiger, the Bayern Munich soccer star who helped Germany win the World Cup last year.

Perhaps some of his luck is now rubbing off on Ivanovic.

Ana Ivanovic returns to French Open semifinals

(6/2/15) Ana Ivanovic advanced to the semifinals of a major tournament for the first time since winning her only Grand Slam title at the French Open seven years ago with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Elina Svitolina on Tuesday.

The seventh-seeded Ivanovic played aggressively throughout and compensated for her many mistakes with 37 winners to extend her unbeaten record against her 20-year-old opponent to seven.

After sealing her win with a forehand passing shot ó her 28th forehand winner of the match ó the 2008 champion at Roland Garros said: "I donít know if I should feel very old or very happy."

With windy conditions on Court Philippe Chatrier, a large piece of paneling later fell off a giant TV screen, holding up the quarterfinal match between Kei Nishikori and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after the Frenchman took a 6-1, 5-2 lead.

First-aid workers assisted a spectator who appeared to have been lightly injured and was evacuated holding his right wrist. The man grinned and waved to the crowd as he left the court.

The piece of paneling crashed down with a bang from a giant screen that overlooks the court. It was unclear what caused it to detach.

The match was suspended and both players left the court to return to the locker room.

There were no twists and turns of that sort in Ivanovicís match. She started with a double-fault but once she found her range she was in complete control. The Serb was also the best player on important points, saving three of four break points.

The 27-year-old Ivanovic will next face 13th-seeded Lucie Safarova, who defeated Garbine Muguruza 7-6 (3), 6-3 to advance to her second Grand Slam semifinal. Safarova, who upset defending champion Maria Sharapova in the previous round, also made it to the semifinals at Wimbledon last year.

Safarova was made to work hard by Muguruza in a tight first set but converted her two break points in the second set and closed out the match with a clean forehand winner.

After trading breaks early on, Ivanovic raced through the opener, securing another break in the fourth game, and sealed the set by holding at love.

She kept hammering Svitolina with her big forehands to break at the start of the second set and quashed her opponentís comeback attempt in the second game when she saved a break point at 30-40 following a 17-shot rally.

With sudden gusts of wind blowing the red clay into the playerís eyes, Ivanovic ended the match with 30 unforced errors but her all-risk approach worked. The former top-ranked player broke again for a 5-2 lead and served out the match on her third occasion.

"The ball was going all over the place," Ivanovic said. "Iím really happy that I stayed calm despite the mishits."

The other menís quarterfinal match pitted second-seeded Roger Federer against Swiss Davis Cup teammate Stan Wawrinka.

Ivanovic, Svitolina into last-eight, Sharapova rained off

(5/31/15) Ana Ivanovic made the French Open quarter-finals for the first time since her 2008 title run Sunday where she'll face Elina Svitolina, the first Ukrainian to make the last eight.

But defending champion Maria Sharapova's scheduled last-16 clash against Lucie Safarova was pushed back until Monday after rain caused a lengthy stoppage at a chilly Roland Garros.

The Russian second seed now faces the prospect of playing matches on two successive days with the first two women's quarter-finals already programmed for Tuesday.

Seventh-seeded Serb Ivanovic defeated Russian ninth seed Ekaterina Makarova, a semi-finalist at the Australian Open in January, 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 to book her eighth career Grand Slam quarter-final.

Watched again by German World Cup winning football star Bastian Schweinsteiger, the 27-year-old Ivanovic shrugged off a two and a half hour rain stoppage to secure her third three-set win in four rounds in Paris.

The 20-year-old Svitolina beat fellow former Roland Garros junior champion Alize Cornet on a windy, chilly Court Philippe Chatrier 6-2, 7-6 (11/9).

"It's amazing to be in the quarter-finals again. To be honest, coming into the tournament I didn't really expect that at all," said Ivanovic.

"But I really worked hard for each match. I worked hard even before the tournament to reach the quarter-final again."

Svitolina, seeded 19, is only the second Ukrainian woman to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final after Kateryna Bondarenko made the last eight at the 2009 US Open.

It was Svitolina's first win over Cornet in three meetings and the result ended French hopes in the women's singles for another year.

She displayed nerves of steel to achieve victory, failing to serve out the tie in the 10th game of the second set and then allowing five match points to slip through her fingers.

However, she secured victory on her sixth match point when Cornet went long with a backhand, her 42nd unforced error of the windswept tie.

Svitolina will take a 6-0 losing record into her clash with Ivanovic, a run that includes a second round loss in Paris last year and again on clay in Madrid earlier this month.

"I hope I can serve better, of course, because I was serving not so good against her in Madrid," said Svitolina.

With four men's last-16 ties still to be played on Court Philippe Chatrier and Court Suzanne Lenglen, it was decided that Sharapova and Safarova will play their fourth round on Monday instead.

Sunday's other fourth round clash between 33-year-old Italian Flavia Pennetta, who has never played in the French Open quarter-finals, and Garbine Muguruza, the Spanish 21st seed, was also shelved.

Muguruza, the 2010 junior champion, had a breakthrough Roland Garros in 2014 when she defeated Serena Williams on her way to the last-eight.

"The scheduled 4R matches between Sharapova-Safarova & Muguruza-Pennetta have been cancelled for today," tweeted the organisers.

Ivanovic eases into the 4th round at French Open

(5/29/15) Stepping on centre court to take on 88th-ranked Damir Dzumhur, Roger Federer was on his guard.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion had been caught cold at a previous French Open by a player ranked as low as the 23-year-old Bosnian, and he made sure that did not happen again. Federer advanced to the fourth round for the 11th straight year with a clinical 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 win Friday.

"Iíd never played him before, he moves well, heís very quick. I didnít know him and I didnít know how heíd play on the key points," said Federer, who lost in the first round in Paris to the 88th-ranked Luis Horna 12 years ago.

"Mentally Iím not always as relaxed as people might think, there is so much at stake," Federer said.

The 33-year-old Swiss, who is seeded second at the tournament, won his only French Open title in 2009. After winning his first two matches in straight sets, Federer put on another aggressive and solid display, saving four of the five break points he faced.

Federer hit a superb forehand passing shot to earn a match point and sealed it when Dzumhur sent a backhand into the net. Federer will next be up against either 13th-seeded Gael Monfils or No. 21 seed Pablo Cuevas.

After struggling in her first two matches at the French Open, Ana Ivanovic eased past Donna Vekic 6-0, 6-3 in the womenís side of the draw to book a spot in the second week.

On a cold morning in the French capital, it took the former champion just 53 minutes to return to a fourth round at a major tournament for the first time in more than a year.

Ivanovic, who won the French Open in 2008 after losing in the final a year before, wrapped up the first set in 23 minutes and finished with 19 winners.

"After the first two matches, I really started to get a little bit of feeling and groove," said the Serb, who was pushed to deciders in the first and second rounds after twice losing the opening set.

The last time Ivanovic made the fourth round of a major was at the Australian Open in 2014. She was eliminated by 142nd-ranked Lucie Hradecka in Melbourne earlier this year after playing with a broken toe.

Since winning the title seven years ago, Ivanovic has never progressed past the fourth round in Roland Garros. Her next opponent on the Parisian red clay will be No. 9 seed Ekaterina Makarova, who defeated Elena Vesnina 6-2, 6-4.

Also advancing were No. 13 Lucie Safarova and No. 19 Elina Svitolina.

"The first two matches I really felt like I had kind of a slow start," Ivanovic said. "This is something I really wanted to change today."

Playing on Court Suzanne Lenglen, Ivanovic was broken in the third game of the second set. She recovered quickly though, winning five of the next six games.

Also, local favourite Alize Cornet advanced to her maiden fourth-round match in 11 attempts at her home tournament with a 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 hard-fought win over Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who finished with 59 unforced errors after her all-risk approach backfired.

Cornet celebrated her victory as if she had won the tournament, falling onto her back, letting out a scream and then bursting into tears.

"At last, Iím into the second week at Roland," Cornet said. "Iíve been waiting for this for 11 years."

In the menís event, 20th-seeded Richard Gasquet needed 32 minutes to complete a 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 win over Carlos Berlocq and advance to the third round after an encounter that spanned over two days. The players were locked at two sets apiece when their match was stopped Thursday evening.

"My preparation will be shortened, but everythingís fine for me, Iím physically well," said Gasquet, who will face 15th-seeded Kevin Anderson in his next match and has just one day to recover.

Also, 74th-ranked Teymuraz Gabashvili equaled his best Grand Slam result, reaching the fourth round with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 defeat of Lukas Rosol.

Ivanovic survives scare as Keys, Makarova fall in Madrid

(5/2/15) World number seven Ana Ivanovic fought back from a set down to move into the second round of the Madrid Open on Sunday after Alexandra Dulgheru retired when trailing 4-0 in the decider.

The Romanian wildcard shocked Eugenie Bouchard on Fed Cup duty last month and looked on course to produce another upset as she eased through the first set 6-2 and then broke the Serbian to serve for the match at 6-5 in the second.

However, Ivanovic broke straight back and then romped through the tie-break 7/1 to force a deciding set.

An ailing Dulgheru then withdrew after Ivanovic took a commanding 4-0 lead in the third set.

Eighth seed Ekaterina Makarova was a high-profile exit, though, as she was routed by fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 6-1.

Australian Open semi-finalist Madison Keys also crashed out as she was beaten by Estonia's Kaia Kanepi 6-4, 6-3.

Agnieszka Radwanska won her first match since ending a brief five-month spell with Martina Navratilova as coach in comfortable fashion as she eased past Spaniard Lara Arruabarrena 6-4, 6-3.

And Sloane Stephens set up a potential second round encounter with Serena Williams as she came from a set down to beat fellow American Bethanie Mattek-Sands 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.

Ana Ivanovic reaches Monterrey Open semifinals

(3/6/15) Top-seeded defending champion Ana Ivanovic of Serbia advanced to the Monterrey Open semifinals Friday night, beating Kristina Mladenovic of France 6-3, 6-2.

On Saturday in the hard-court event at Club Sonoma, Ivanovic will face third-seeded Caroline Garcia of France. Garcia, the runner-up last week in the Mexico Open in Acapulco, led eighth-seeded Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia 7-5 when Rybarikova retired.

In the other quarterfinals, second-seeded Sara Errani of Italy topped fifth-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia 7-5, 6-4, and fourth-seeded Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland beat Urszula Radwanska of Poland 6-4, 6-2. Bacsinszky won in Acapulco for her second WTA Tour title.

Top-seeded Ivanovic reaches Monterrey quarters

(3/5/15) Top-seeded defending champion Ana Ivanovic of Serbia advanced to the quarterfinals in the Monterrey Open on Wednesday night, beating Pauline Parmentier of France 6-3, 6-2.

Ivanovic will face Franceís Kristina Mladenovic, a 6-4, 6-2 winner over Russiaís Vera Zvonareva in the hard-court event at Sierra Madre Tennis Club.

Second-seeded Sara Errani of Italy and eighth-seeded Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia also won second-round matches. Errani beat Timea Babos of Hungary 6-3, 6-3, and Rybarikova outlasted Polona Hercog of Slovenia of 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (9).

Williams, Kvitova & Ivanovic ousted in Dubai

(2/18/15) Second-seeded Petra Kvitova and fourth-seeded Ana Ivanovic followed defending champion Venus Williams to an early exit at the Dubai Tennis Championships on Wednesday.

In all, five of the top eight seeded players failed to reach Thursdayís quarterfinals: Kvitova, Ivanovic, No. 5 Agnieszka Radwanska, No. 7 Angelique Kerber and No. 8 Williams.

Kvitova, the reigning Wimbledon champion, went down 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 to 13th-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro, while Ivanovic fell to 17th-seeded Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.

Suarez Navarro pulled out of the Antwerp final this past Sunday with a neck injury, but appears in fine form this week.

Top-seeded Simona Halep and third-seeded Caroline Wozniacki will be in third round action later.

Williams, with three career titles in Dubai, lost 6-4, 6-2 to 11th-seeded Lucie Safarova.

The eighth-seeded Williams looked listless in the humid 93 degree F (34 C) temperatures.

"I think she played awesome," Williams said. "There were a couple of games there that I didnít even get my racket on the ball. What can I say to that?"

Williams offered Safarova six opportunities to break serve and the Czech player took advantage four times, twice in each set.

"I was firing the ball, serving really well," Safarova said. "I put the pressure (on) right away from the first point. My lefty serve into her body and mixing the lefty serve with the really flat and fast serves, that seems (to) give her a little trouble."

Joining Williams on the sidelines was fifth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, who lost to unseeded Garbine Muguruza of Spain 6-4, 6-2.

Radwanska was broken five times.

"I think when youíre not playing your best tennis then itís hard to compete with those kind of players," Radwanska said. "I think I didnít serve well enough to win that."

Elsewhere, seventh-seeded Angelique Kerber was ousted by 10th-seeded Flavia Penetta 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 and sixth-seeded Ekaterina Makarova of Russia defeated Zarina Dyas of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-4.

'It has to hurt': Ivanovic falls in Aussie Open 1st round

(1/19/15) Coming off a resurgent season, Ana Ivanovic believed she could be one of the top contenders for the first Grand Slam of the year.

''I feel like I'm ready for the next step,'' she said on the eve of the Australian Open.

Instead, Ivanovic was sent packing in the first round Monday amid a flurry of double faults, falling to No. 142-ranked Czech qualifier Lucie Hradecka 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.

After a dominant first set, the fifth-seeded Ivanovic began to appear increasingly nervous and a longtime flaw in her game resurfaced - her shaky service motion. She repeatedly caught her wayward ball tosses and double-faulted three times in a single game to drop serve in the second set.

As her frustrations mounted and the errors piled up, Ivanovic swiped her racket at the court, causing the top part to splinter. She finished with 10 double-faults and 30 unforced errors in the match.

''It's really disappointing,'' a teary-eyed Ivanovic said afterward. ''You know, it's probably the worst thing (that) could happen.''

It was quite a departure from Ivanovic's career-reviving performance at the Australian Open last year when she stunned No. 1 Serena Williams in the fourth round to reach her first quarterfinal at Melbourne Park since her run to the 2008 final.

The Serbian star built on the momentum to capture four titles and win 58 matches - more match wins than any other woman on tour. She also finished the year at No. 5 in the rankings for the first time since 2008, the year she won her only Grand Slam title at the French Open.

Coming into 2015, Ivanovic wasn't satisfied with just going deep at the Australian Open again - she wanted to vie for the title. With a new coach on board, fellow Serb Dejan Petrovic, Ivanovic told a pre-tournament news conference that she was feeling comfortable with her team and playing with confidence again.

She was also coming off a run to the final of the season-opening tournament in Brisbane, where she lost a tight three-setter to No. 2-ranked Maria Sharapova.

All of which makes her defeat to Hradecka tougher to deal with. It was her earliest loss at a Grand Slam since falling in the first round of the 2011 French Open.

After hitting a forehand into the net on match point, Ivanovic gave Hradecka a perfunctory hand shake, quickly gathered her bags and rushed off the court without even a wave to the crowd.

''It's hard. There is no easy way to (get over it), but to get back on the court and back working really hard and try to see next challenge and next event,'' she said. ''It has to hurt, as well.''

Fifth-seeded Ivanovic upset at Australian Open

(1/19/15) Fifth-seeded Ana Ivanovic struggled with her serve and lost in three sets to Czech qualifier Lucie Hradecka in first big upset of the Australian Open.

The former No. 1-ranked Ivanovic, a finalist at the 2008 Australian Open, breezed through the first set in 21 minutes with three service breaks on Monday before No. 142-ranked Hradecka rallied to win their first-round match 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Ivanovic, who had a tour-leading 58 match wins in 2014 and started this season by reaching the final at the Brisbane International, had 10 double-faults and made 30 unforced errors and slumped to her earliest exit in a major since 2011.

"The whole match I didnít really feel like myself out there," Ivanovic said. "Itís probably the worst thing could happen. But still, the year is young and I really have to now sit and work on few things and just maybe try to have a different approach to this kind of event and try to see what was lacking."

For Hradecka, it made amends for a missed opportunity in her only previous meeting with Ivanovic, when she wasted a match point before losing in the first round at Wimbledon in 2009.

"I was so nervous in the beginning, same at the end," said Hradeck, who has never advanced past the second round at a major. "My hand was so shaky."

Three other seeded players were eliminated in early first-round matches in the womenís draw, while No. 3 Simone Halep advanced with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Karin Knapp of Italy.

Caroline Garcia beat No. 27 and two-time major winner Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 6-2, Kristina Mladenovic beat No. 28 Sabine Lisicki 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 and Julia Goerges routed No. 32 Belinda Bencic 6-2, 6-1.

Two-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray beat Indian qualifier Yuki Bhambri 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (3), beginning his quest for an elusive Australian Open title.

Murray, who won the 2012 U.S. Open and 2013 Wimbledon, has lost three finals at Melbourne Park.

No. 10 Grigor Dimitrov opened with a 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 win over Dustin Brown 6-2, 6-3, 6-2, No. 29 Jeremy Chardy beat Borna Coric 3-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 and No. 32 Martin Klizan had a 7-6 (6), 6-2, 6-4 win over Tatsuma Ito of Japan.

Confident Ana Ivanovic ready to fulfil tennis potential

(1/18/15) Former world number one Ana Ivanovic says she's finally ready to fulfil her undoubted potential as she gears up to contest the Australian Open at her "second home" Melbourne Park.

The Serb burst onto the scene when she won the French Open as a 20-year-old and appeared destined to claim multiple Grand Slams but struggled with overnight success and slid down the rankings.

A bubbly personality off the court, Ivanovic appeared mentally fragile under the spotlight in crunch matches and all-too-often allowed opponents who lacked her skills or physical attributes to dominate her.

Now aged 27, rebuilding has been a long process but Ivanovic said she had clawed her way back to become world number five in 2014 and was hungry for further Grand Slam success.

She said she has a new-found confidence after beating some top names last year.

"Confidence, preparation, everything comes into play," she said. "It's a lot to do with confidence. It takes time for certain things to fall into place.

"Last year I really felt I made big steps towards winning more matches, beating top players. These kinds of things you sort of have to have in place in order to do well at the big events. I feel like I'm ready for next step."

Since appointing new coach Dejan Petrovic in the middle of last year, she has been concentrating on enjoying her tennis rather than fretting over rankings and felt she had made "a fresh start".

"I really want to take it one step at a time and enjoy because I think my tennis is at a different level than it was last year," she said.

The relaxed approach saw her reach the final of the Brisbane International warm-up tournament, where she pushed Maria Sharapova to the brink.

Ivanovic has always been popular with the crowds in Melbourne, where she has family, making it a perfect venue to begin her renewed focus on Grand Slam success.

"They love sport. They love to cheer. They get loud, that's exciting," she said.

"There's lots of kids always out here that come and support us. It's their summer holidays so people are a little bit more relaxed. Since I don't have a tournament at home, this is like second home for me."

Serena seeded to face Wozniacki in Open quarters

(1/16/15) World number one Serena Williams faces a potential rematch of her US Open final against Caroline Wozniacki in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open following Friday's draw.

Williams, who is chasing her 19th Grand Slam title in Melbourne, beat Wozniacki in straight sets in New York last year.

The American meets Belgian Alison van Uytvanck in the first round, while second seed Maria Sharapova first faces a qualifier in the tournament beginning on Monday.

Fourth seed and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who is playing in the Sydney International final later Friday, is seeded to face Agnieszka Radwanska in the other quarter-final in the top half of the draw.

Sharapova is projected to face rising Canadian Eugenie Bouchard, while third seed Simona Halep could meet Ana Ivanovic in the other last eight clash in the bottom half of the women's draw.

The most interesting first-round match up will be between two-time Australian Open champion but unseeded Victoria Azarenka and American Sloane Stephens, a semi-finalist in Melbourne two years ago.

Women's singles

Serena Williams (USA x1) v Alison Van Uytvanck (BEL)

Vera Zvonareva (RUS) v Qualifier

Olivia Rogowska (AUS) v Nicole Gibbs (USA)

Jana Cepelova (SVK) v Elina Svitolina (UKR x26)

Garbine Muguruza (ESP x24) v Marina Erakovic (NZL)

Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) v Zheng Saisai (CHN)

Kimiko Date-Krumm (JPN) v Qualifier

Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) v Jelena Jankovic (SRB x15)

Dominika Cibulkova (SVK x11) v Kirsten Flipkens (BEL)

Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) v Heather Watson (GBR)

Romina Oprandi (SUI) v Qualifier

Zhang Shuai (CHN) v Alize Cornet (FRA x19)

Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE x25) v Timea Babos (HUN)

Zheng Jie (CHN) v Kai-Chen Chang (TPE)

Sloane Stephens (USA) v Victoria Azarenka (BLR)

Taylor Townsend (USA) v Caroline Wozniacki (DEN x8)

Petra Kvitova (CZE x4) v Qualifier

Donna Vekic (CRO) v Mona Barthel (GER)

Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) v Madison Keys (USA)

Yvonne Meusburger (AUT) v Casey Dellacqua (AUS x29)

Samantha Stosur (AUS x20) v Monica Niculescu (ROM)

Francesca Schiavone (ITA) v Coco Vandeweghe (USA)

Irina Falconi (USA) v Kaia Kanepi (EST)

Madison Brengle (USA) v Andrea Petkovic (GER x13)

Flavia Pennetta (ITA x12) v Camila Giorgi (ITA)

Tereza Smitkova (CZE) v Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (CRO)

Lauren Davis (USA) v Aleksandra Krunic (SRB)

Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor (ESP) v Venus Williams (USA x18)

Varvara Lepchenko (USA x30) v Vitalia Diatchenko (RUS)

Shelby Rogers (USA) v Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS)

Alla Kudryavtseva (RUS) v Johanna Larsson (SWE)

Kurumi Nara (JPN) v Agnieszka Radwanska (POL x6)

Ana Ivanovic (SRB x5) v Qualifier

Polona Hercog (SLO) v Wang Qiang (CHN)

Storm Sanders (AUS) v Klara Koukalova (CZE)

Julia Goerges (GER) v Belinda Bencic (SUI x32)

Karolina Pliskova (CZE x22) v Qualifier

Alison Riske (USA) v Oceane Dodin (FRA)

Roberta Vinci (ITA) v Bojana Jovanovski (SRB)

An-Sophie Mestach (BEL) v Ekaterina Makarova (RUS x10)

Sara Errani (ITA x14) v Grace Min (USA)

Silvia Soler-Espinosa (ESP) v Annika Beck (GER)

Qualifier v Lara Arruabarrena (ESP)

Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) v Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS x23)

Sabine Lisicki (GER x28) v Kristina Mladenovic (FRA)

Duan Ying-Ying (CHN) v Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA)

Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS) v Alexandra Dulgheru (ROM)

Karin Knapp (ITA) v Simona Halep (ROM x3)

Eugenie Bouchard (CAN x7) v Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER)

Kiki Bertens (NED) v Daria Gavrilova (AUS)

Stefanie Voegele (SUI) v Pauline Parmentier (FRA)

Caroline Garcia (FRA) v Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS x27)

Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP x17) v Carina Witthoeft (GER)

Qualifier v Christina McHale (USA)

Elena Vesnina (RUS) v Katerina Siniakova (CZE)

Irina-Camelia Begu (ROM) v Angelique Kerber (GER x9)

Lucie Safarova (CZE x16) v Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ)

Monica Puig (PUR) v Arina Rodionova (AUS)

Ana Konjuh (CRO) v Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK)

Qualifier v Peng Shuai (CHN x21)

Zarina Diyas (KAZ x31) v Qualifier

Anna Schmiedlova (SVK) v Chanelle Scheepers (RSA)

Qualifier v Sorana Cirstea (ROM)

Qualifier v Maria Sharapova (RUS x2)

Djokovic, S. Williams top seeds at Australian Open

(1/14/15) World number ones Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams were named the top seeds on Wednesday for next week's Australian Open, but two-time champion Victoria Azarenka did not make the top 32.

Djokovic is bidding for a fifth title at Melbourne Park after crashing in the quarter-finals last year to eventual champion Stan Wawrinka, while Williams is gunning for a sixth Australian crown.

Evergreen Roger Federer, who has a record 17 Grand Slam titles, is the second seed ahead of injury-plagued Rafael Nadal, Wawrinka and Japan's Kei Nishikori.

Maria Sharapova, who won the Brisbane International last weekend, takes the number two seeding among the women, ahead of Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova and Ana Ivanovic.

Last year's champion Li Na has retired.

Azarenka ended 2014 ranked 32 in the world, but a first-round loss at the Brisbane International saw her drop to 41, outside the cut-off for seedings at Melbourne Park.

The Belarussian won back-to-back Australian Open titles in 2012 and 2013, but battled a string of fitness and personal issues last year.

Men: 1. Novak Djokovic (SRB), 2. Roger Federer (SUI), 3. Rafael Nadal (ESP), 4. Stan Wawrinka (SUI), 5. Kei Nishikori (JPN), 6. Andy Murray (GBR), 7. Tomas Berdych (CZE), 8. Milos Raonic (CAN), 9. David Ferrer (ESP), 10. Grigor Dimitrov (BUL), 11. Ernests Gulbis (LAT), 12. Feliciano Lopez (ESP), 13. Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP), 14. Kevin Anderson (RSA), 15. Tommy Robredo (ESP), 16. Fabio Fognini (ITA), 17. Gael Monfils (FRA), 18. Gilles Simon (FRA), 19. John Isner (USA), 20. David Goffin (BEL), 21. Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR), 22. Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER), 23. Ivo Karlovic (CRO), 24. Richard Gasquet (FRA), 25. Julien Benneteau (FRA), 26. Leonardo Mayer (ARG), 27. Pablo Cuevas (URU), 28. Lukas Rosol (CZE), 29. Jeremy Chardy (FRA), 30. Santiago Giraldo (COL), 31. Fernando Verdasco (ESP), 32. Martin Klizan (SVK)

Women: 1. Serena Williams (USA), 2. Maria Sharapova (RUS), 3. Simona Halep (ROM), 4. Petra Kvitova (CZE), 5. Ana Ivanovic (SRB), 6. Agnieszka Radwanska (POL), 7. Eugenie Bouchard (CAN), 8. Caroline Wozniacki (DEN), 9. Angelique Kerber (GER), 10. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS), 11. Dominika Cibulkova (SVK), 12. Flavia Pennetta (ITA), 13. Andrea Petkovic (GER), 14. Sara Errani (ITA), 15. Jelena Jankovic (SRB), 16. Lucie Safarova (CZE), 17. Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP), 18. Venus Williams (USA), 19. Alize Cornet (FRA), 20. Samantha Stosur (AUS), 21. Peng Shuai (CHN), 22. Karolina Pliskova (CZE), 23. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS), 24. Garbine Muguruza (ESP), 25. Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE), 26. Elina Svitolina (UKR), 27. Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS), 28. Sabine Lisicki (GER), 29. Casey Dellacqua (AUS), 30. Varvara Lepchenko (USA), 31. Zarina Diyas (KAZ), 32. Belinda Bencic (SUI)

Sharapova wins Brisbane title

(1/11/15) Maria Sharapova claimed her 34th career title with a victory at the Brisbane International on Saturday, hours after Roger Federer moved within one win of a triple-zero milestone.

Top-seeded Sharapova had a 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-3 win over Ana Ivanovic in the women's final, letting a 4-1 lead and two set points slip in the first before coming back with early breaks in the second and third sets to secure the title.

It was an ideal warm-up for the first major of the season, and gave Sharapova the chance to overhaul Serena Williams for top spot in the rankings depending on results at the Australian Open, starting Jan. 19.

''I played four good matches against very different types of opponents. Couldn't have asked for better preparation,'' Sharapova said, playing down the importance of the rankings. ''Now that I won a tournament, maybe I have a better chance of going higher in the rankings. Right now I am No. 2; the next spot is 1.''

Sharapova, Ivanovic to clash in Brisbane final

(1/10/15) Former world No. 1s Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic will do battle in Saturday's final at the season- opening $1 million Brisbane International tennis event.

The final berths were secured when the top-seeded Sharapova defeated rising Ukrainian Elina Svitolina 6-1, 6-3 and the second-seeded Ivanovic held off game American Varvara Lepchenko 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 at this Australian Open tune-up on the hardcourts at Queensland Tennis Centre.

Sharapova dropped just nine games in her three matches to get to the final and was ruthless against Svitolina, the 2010 junior French Open titlist.

"I expected her to play well. I think I did a lot of things good to try to take away her game," Sharapova said.

"In the end, it became a little bit more difficult. She became more free, went for her shots a little bit, a few unforced errors from my end, but overall I'm happy I stuck with it and finished the last point."

When the reigning French Open champion Sharapova and Ivanovic meet on Saturday, it will mark their 14th encounter on the WTA, with the Russian leading the lifetime series 9-4. They split four meetings last season.

Sharapova is 33-22 in her career finals, including a perfect 4-0 mark last year.

Her fellow 27-year-old Ivanovic is 15-7 in her career title tilts, including 4-2 last year.

Sharapova beat Ivanovic in the 2008 Aussie Open final.

WTA sets up $525M-plus, 10-year media rights deal

(12/9/14) The WTA agreed to a media rights contract it says will be worth more than $525 million over 10 seasons from 2017 to 2026, with plans to produce all 2,000 or so singles matches on the women's tennis tour each year.

The deal, announced Tuesday, keeps the WTA's international television rights with its current broadcast distribution partner, PERFORM, but expands the scope of the relationship. Their current agreement runs from 2013-16.

WTA Chairman and CEO Stacey Allaster called the new deal ''a game-changer,'' and said it will ''give fans more access to the players they want to watch.''

Under the existing contract with PERFORM, Allaster said, only about a third of the singles matches at WTA events were produced for broadcast around the world.

''What league in North America only broadcasts a third of their games?'' Allaster said in a telephone interview.

Now the tour and PERFORM are forming WTA Media, which will produce all main-draw matches in singles, along with the semifinals and finals in doubles, at every tour event, plus develop content for the web and magazine shows for TV.

Allaster said the new deal includes guaranteed annual TV rights fees of $33 million from PERFORM, nearly double the $17 million per year currently. It also includes what she said was ''eight figures'' a year in ''production investment.''

''Their investment at this level makes a very significant statement about the value they see in the WTA,'' Allaster said about PERFORM. ''This comes at a time when we look at the horizon and we will have a changing of the guard of our current top stars, which shows the value and depth of our rising stars.''

The new package adds rights to the WTA's international tournaments; the previous contract covered only higher-level premier events.

In a statement, PERFORM's joint-CEO, Simon Denyer, said his group believes in the ''exceptional sport entertainment value of the WTA.''

New league offers a new look for tennis

(11/26/14) There's no rest for Roger. Back near the top of the rankings, and fresh from his long-awaited Davis Cup triumph with Switzerland, Roger Federer is getting ready for the International Premier Tennis League that gets under way on Friday.

Joining Federer in the franchise-based, short-format competition will be the top-ranked players in men's and women's tennis, with Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams also signed up to play.

The IPTL will launch with a tournament at Manila this week. Singapore, New Delhi and Dubai are the other stops for the $ 1 million event that runs till Dec. 13.

Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras are among the retired greats who'll feature in the tournament that will be contested by four teams - the Manila Mavericks, Singapore Slammers, Indian Aces and United Arab Emirates Royals.

''It is a revolutionary team tennis event breaking through the boundaries of traditional tennis formats,'' IPTL founder and former doubles star Mahesh Bhupathi said ahead of the tournament, which he hopes to convert to an eight-team league by 2020. ''But we need to be sustainable and we don't want to be too aggressive - we want to make sure that along the lines other people also see it as a viable business model.''

The format includes men's and women's singles, men's doubles, mixed doubles and legends singles matches. Essentially, it's an exhibition with a competitive streak.

Each fixture will consist of five one-set matches, which could be decided by a four-minute shootout at 5-5 rather than a traditional tiebreaker. There will be no advantage scores and the outcome will be decided by aggregating games won from all five matches rather than the match results.

There will also be 'power points' which will give players a chance to double up on a point in each match by nominated it before receiving serve. Other additions include time-outs.

Williams, who won the season-ending WTA title in Singapore last month, said ''I'm looking forward to coming back to Singapore and playing for the Singapore Slammers. I hope you'll ... enjoy a new format of tennis.''

No. 9-ranked Marin Cilic said playing in Asia was part of the appeal.

''When I'm in Asia, I always have good experiences and I always feel welcome,'' Cilic said. ''Asian fans are very faithful and I appreciate that a lot.''

Federer is an advocate of shorter formats in the game. He'll also be playing former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt in another shortened, faster form of the game in Sydney ahead of the Australian Open.

Players fought long and hard for more time off to rest and recuperate between seasons, and the official off-season now extends for more than a month on the men's and women's tours. So participation of the star players in the IPTL has raised some questions about scheduling and fatigue management.

The 33-year-old Federer helped Switzerland clinch its first Davis Cup title last weekend in France, and the 17-time major winner will start his 2015 at the Brisbane International on Jan. 5, a key warm-up tournament to the Australian Open.

ATP president Chris Kermode last month described the IPTL as ''just a series of glorified exhibitions.''

''I actually don't have a problem with it,'' he told reporters in Shanghai. ''It isn't the ATP's business what the players did in the off-season, even if they criticize the duration of the tour and then jet away to play exhibition events when the curtain falls on the calendar.''

The IPTL is another addition to a growing list of franchise-based leagues run out of India following the massive success of cricket's Twenty20 Indian Premier League.

There is an Indian Soccer League involving players such as Nicolas Anelka, Alessandro Del Piero, Robert Pires and Luis Garcia, as well as similar competitions in field hockey and kabadd

----------------------

Top players in the IPTL:

Manila Mavericks: Andy Murray, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Maria Sharapova, Carlos Moya.

Singapore Slammers: Serena Williams, Tomas Berdych, Lleyton Hewitt, Patrick Rafter.

Indian Aces: Roger Federer, Ana Ivanovic, Pete Sampras, Sania Mirza.

UAE Royals: Novak Djokovic, Marin Cilic, Caroline Wozniaki, Goran Ivanisevic.

Ivanovic bows out despite beating Halep at WTA Finals

(10/24/14) Serbia's Ana Ivanovic just missed out on a place in the semi-finals of the season-ending WTA Finals despite beating Simona Halep in the final group match on Friday.

Under the rules of the round-robin competition, Ivanovic needed to win in straight sets to leapfrog Serena Williams in the group standings and snatch the last available semi-final spot.

But after coming from 5-2 behind to win the first set in dramatic fashion, she was unable to finish off Halep in the second, and had to settle for a 7-6(7) 3-6 6-3 consolation win.

"It was a very tough match, she's a great player and the first set was really hard. I had plenty of opportunities even at 2-5 down that I didn't really take," Ivanovic said in a courtside interview.

"But I really tried to fight hard from that point on and it was amazing to turn it around. The second set was also a battle, so to prevail in the end was amazing."

The result was a bittersweet outcome for Ivanovic. Although she won two of her three group matches and handed Halep her only defeat, she missed out on the semis because she lost one more set in her three matches than both the Romanian and Williams.

"You know it's always a process and it didn't happen overnight, I worked really hard for it," she said.

"I started to enjoy life more on and off the court and over the last year, I have worked harder and it's starting to show now and I am enjoying competing."

Halep, runner-up at this year's French Open, faces Agnieska Radwanska in Saturday's semi-finals while Williams, who is chasing a hat-trick of WTA Finals titles, meets Caroline Wozniacki in a rematch of last month's U.S. Open final.

Halep went into the match against Ivanovic with her semi-final spot already sewn up after she won her two previous group matches, including a 6-0 6-2 demolition job on Williams, and said she felt like she had nothing to lose.

"I'm in the semi-finals for first time at WTA Finals, so I have to feel happy," she said.

"I did everything and I played really well here. I beat the number one in the world, so I have no reasons to be sad.

"I will try to win tomorrow, and, yeah, of course this week I will never forget."

Bouchard falls, Serena routed at WTA Finals

(10/23/14) Eugenie Bouchardís struggles continued at the WTA Finals on Wednesday.

The Westmount, Que., native lost 6-1, 6-3 to Serbiaís Ana Ivanovic to drop to 0-2 in her group. She will face Serena Williams in her final round-robin match Thursday but has only a very slim mathematical chance of advancing to the semifinals.

Williams was hammered 6-0, 6-2 by Simona Halep on Wednesday in one of the most lopsided losses of the star Americanís career.

The fifth-ranked Bouchard played outstanding tennis in the first half of 2014, advancing to the semifinals of the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon. But she has struggled since August, losing in the first round of the Rogers Cup in Montreal and making an early exit at the U.S. Open.

She came into this tournament having played only two tour matches in a month due to injuries, and during a discussion with her coach Nick Saviano after the first set Wednesday, she even questioned whether she was capable of competing at the required level.

"I still had the belief I can try to work my way into it, which is what Iíve done in the past," Bouchard told reporters after the loss. "Youíre never 100 per cent perfectly prepared for every event. Just unfortunate that it would happen at a big event like this one.

"Routine balls are flying on me and little things like that. Thatís just consistency, practising, playing matches, which I havenít done so much."

Ivanovic had lost both her previous matches against Bouchard, at Wimbledon last year and this yearís Australian Open quarter-final. However she cruised through the first set, winning all but two points when getting her first serve into play.

Savianoís pep talk seemed to have an effect on Bouchard as she responded with a much more competitive showing in the second frame.

The key moment arrived in the seventh game, when Bouchard saved five break points but double faulted on the sixth, handing Ivanovic the break. The Serb went on to take the victory.

"I felt today I had advantage at different situations because itís her first Championships," said Ivanovic. "Also, this is the first time that sheís ranked higher than me in all of our matches, so pressure was on her."

Bouchard but she said wasnít intimidated.

"Iíve been asked a few times about it being my first time here," she said. "That never crossed my mind. Iíve done a lot of first things this year. You have to do everything first at some point in your life. I just was excited to come here. I see it as the fifth Grand Slam.

"I wish I could have had better results so far, but itís a great experience. Itís learning. Hopefully I can be back many more times."

Bouchard is at the bottom of the Red Group standings while Ivanovic and Williams are each 1-1. Halep is leading the group at 2-0 and is all but guaranteed a spot in the semifinals. The top two from each group advance to the semifinals.

Williamsí defeat jeopardized her chances of finishing the year as the top-ranked player. Had she won Wednesday, the only way she could have lost the No. 1 spot is if Maria Sharapova won the title.

Now, just reaching the final may be enough for the Russian, depending on the result of Williamsí match against Bouchard on Thursday.

Halep has been careful not to raise her sights too high at this tournament. She remained cautious even after two dominant victories.

"I have confidence I can get to the semifinals," Halep said. "First I have to forget this day, but it will be hard to forget. I am so happy."

Williams served six double-faults in the opening set and had 36 unforced errors ó three times Halepís total. But the key to the result was the performance on break points. Both players had six: Williams took none of them while Halep converted five.

Williams was surprised by Halepís performance, saying "she has never played like this before."

"To be frankly honest, I am looking forward to our next meeting because she is going to make me go home, train hard and particularly train for her," Williams said.

In Thursdayís matches in the White Group, Carolina Wozniacki meets Agnieszka Radwanska in a clash of two players who won their opening matches, while Sharapova faces Petra Kvitova.

Bouchard is hoping for a better day Thursday.

"I kind of got killed by the two players in my pool not named Serena, so I think it can only get better from here," said Bouchard.

Serving stigmas still haunting resurgent Ivanovic

(10/20/14) When Ana Ivanovic crunched Serena Williams's opening serve back past the world number one for a venomous winner it suggested she wasn't going to be overawed by her illustrious opponent. The Serb's own serve, however, told a different story.

The duo traded crunching groundstrokes in an entertaining opening match at the WTA Finals on Monday but Ivanovic's old Achilles' heel, her ball toss, once again returned to haunt her as she crumbled to defeat on Singapore's purple hardcourt.

Some wayward throws and wispy second serves led to the world number seven being broken at the end of each set as Williams claimed a 6-4 6-4 victory to make it eight wins in nine meetings with the Serb.

"Yeah, definitely very disappointed that both sets I made few easy errors in the last service game," Ivanovic told reporters at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

"Especially in the first set, you know, I had a break point at four-all which I didn't use and kind of got down a little bit on myself.

"Then I rushed a little bit that service game, so that was a little bit disappointing. I felt I created lots of chances...but the serve made a big difference today."

Ivanovic briefly became world number one in 2008 after winning her sole grand slam title at the French Open but she struggled to cope with the pressure and fell out of the top 20 in the rankings.

This season, though, the 26-year-old has been able to force her way back to the prestigious season-ending eight woman event for the first time since her grand slam breakthrough after rediscovering her best, aggressive form.

She beat Serena's older sister Venus to win the Auckland Open at the start of the year, the first of four titles this season making it her most successful.

She also recorded a first win over Serena when she knocked out the American in the fourth round of the Australian Open.

Nobody has won more matches on the women's tour than Ivanovic this season, but Williams showed in their Red Group opener there is work still to do to get back to the very top.

The 33-year-old American, winner of 18 grand slam singles titles, recovered from a shaky start to find her feet and power as she chased down drop shots and blasted winners from both sides.

Ivanovic, who tossed in seven double faults, said she struggled to cope as Williams turned up the heat at the crunch moments.

"Yeah, I was rushing a little bit. She was putting a lot of pressure on my serve. She served really well today I thought and created more pressure on my service game," the Serb said.

"I didn't feel my rhythm, so I was trying to make more first serves. In the second set I did that, but against Serena sometimes that's not good enough, and it wasn't good enough today."

Williams beats Ivanovic, eases knee concerns

(10/20/14) Top seed Serena Williams survived a stern test from Ana Ivanovic and eased concerns over her injured knee as she opened the WTA Finals with a 6-4, 6-4 win on Monday.

The world number one settled after a nervous start to put in an ultimately clinical performance in Singapore in which she broke Ivanovic at crucial moments in both sets.

Williams also proved her fitness, in question after she withdrew from this month's China Open, by chasing down and sliding into points and at one point doing the splits.

"No one needs to drop-shot against me any more," she said afterwards. "I was just trying to fight as hard as I could, as you could see. I think I've been losing my voice from saying so many 'Come-ons'."

Williams recovered to earn the first break, but Ivanovic saved more break points at 4-1 before a net cord helped her break back and win three games in a row for 4-4.

However, the Serb wasted another break point when she volleyed long and as she served to stay in the set, Williams made her pay when she grabbed her second break and the first set 6-4.

An attritional second set came alive in the seventh game when Ivanovic's baseline smash winner was answered by Williams' fabulous cross-court drop-shot as the American went 4-3 ahead.

And with Ivanovic serving at 4-5 down, Williams again raised her game as she drilled a backhand down the line before converting the first of two match points when the Serb went long.

Williams is trying to become the first woman to win the season finale three times in a row, as well as secure her fourth year-end world number one ranking ahead of Maria Sharapova.

Ivanovic, a former world number one, is playing the year-ending tournament for the first time since 2008.

Monday's second round-robin match in the eight-woman event features Romania's Simona Halep against Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard.

Bouchard to play Serena in WTA final round-robin

(10/18/14) Serena Williams will play two of the tourís young rising stars in the round-robin stage of this yearís WTA finals in Singapore.

The draw Saturday placed top-seeded Williams in the Red Group with 23-year-old Simona Halep and 20-year-old Eugenie Bouchard as well as the more experienced Ana Ivanovic, who has beaten the American only once in eight matches.

"I donít care who I play, to be perfectly honest with you. You can put me against anybody at this point, Iím ready," said the top-ranked Williams, whose appearance in Singapore was in doubt after she pulled out of the China Open tournament earlier this month with a knee injury. "I really canít wait for my match. I wish I had a match tomorrow."

The tournament starts Monday at the 10,000-capacity Singapore Indoor Stadium.

The 33-year-old Williams won this yearís U.S. Open and has won the past two WTA finals.

The White Group sees second-seeded Maria Sharapova, the French Open champion, joined by Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova, Caroline Wozniacki and Agnieszka Radwanska.

"Iím quite happy with my group," said Sharapova, who is coming into the tournament after winning the China Open.

"I think every match will be a challenge. There are some players that Iíve lost to this year, and some players that I beat, so itís a little bit of everything. I hope to start on a good note."

Denmarkís Wozniacki has had a resurgent season, climbing back inside the worldís top 10 and reaching her second US Open final before losing to Williams.

"Iím just excited to be here. Itís tough competitors Iím against. Iím looking forward to the challenge and getting some great matches."

Third-ranked Halep is in search of her first major title after making several semifinals this year.

"Itís not an easy draw," said the Romanian. "But everyone here is strong and a great player. Iíll enjoy my matches and try my best to win"

The draw was made at a shopping mall.

Ivanovic pulls out of Austria with hip injury

(10/8/14) Anna-Lena Friedsam of Germany rallied to defeat third-seeded Dominika Cibulkova 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the first round of the Generali Ladies on Wednesday, while No. 2 Ana Ivanovic pulled out injured.

The 94th-ranked Friedsam missed two match points while serving at 5-2 but converted the fourth chance in her next service game.

Two-time former champion Ivanovic withdrew with a hip complaint one day after receiving medical treatment during her first-round win over Pauline Parmentier of France.

"This injury has been plaguing me the whole summer, and it got worse during the recent tournaments in Asia," Ivanovic said in a statement on the tournament website. "I am sorry but I can't play on."

The eighth-ranked Ivanovic, who won the indoor hard-court event in Austria in 2008 and 2010 and reached the final last year, has qualified for the WTA Finals in Singapore.

Her withdrawal advanced Madison Brengle of the United States to her first career quarterfinals.

2-time former champion Ivanovic wins Linz opener

(10/7/14) Ana Ivanovic overcame a left thigh injury to beat Pauline Parmentier of France 6-3, 6-2 in the opening round of the Generali Ladies on Tuesday.

Ivanovic, who won the event in 2008 and 2010 and reached the final last year, lost her opening service game. But the second-seeded Serb went on to dominate the match until asking for medical treatment while trailing 2-1 in the second set.

The eighth-ranked Ivanovic, who is chasing her fifth title of the season, didn't concede a game afterward.

Earlier, Camila Giorgi routed fourth-seeded Andrea Petkovic 6-1, 6-2. The 42nd-ranked Italian had four aces and saved all four break points against her serve to clinch her third win of the season against the German, who is ranked 16th.

Giorgi next plays Ons Jabeur of Tunisia, who beat Donna Vekic of Croatia 7-5, 6-1.

Also, seventh-seeded Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic defeated Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium 6-2, 6-4, while Mona Barthel of Germany eased past Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands 6-3, 6-1. Bertens lost in qualifying but replaced Carla Suarez Navarro in the main draw after the Spaniard pulled out with a right elbow injury.

Sharapova Wins in Beijing

(10/4/14) French Open and Wimbledon champions Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova will battle for the China Open title after they both powered through their semi-final matches Saturday.

Meanwhile, world number one Novak Djokovic continued his brilliant 100 percent record in Beijing, overpowering Andy Murray to set up a men's final against Tomas Berdych.

Kvitova remains on course for a second consecutive women's title in China after she defeated Samantha Stosur 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 in her match.

The world number three appears to have taken to Beijing the form she showed winning the Wuhan Open last Saturday.

But the Czech player's victory came after she survived a scare against Stosur, with the Australian taking the second set as she broke serve in the final game.

The 2011 US Open winner and former world number four appeared to be capitalising on a lack of rhythm in Kvitova's play after the game was halted because of rain, meaning the court had to be dried and the roof closed.

But the third seed in Beijing fought back in the third set, saving three break points in the second game before breaking in the fifth and seventh to make her first final in Beijing.

"You know, when we had the 30 minute break, it's difficult," Kvitova said.

"I won the first set and I was playing very good. Then they stopped me."

Sharapova stormed through the first set in her match with Ana Ivanovic, before the Serbian world number nine staged a brave fightback which culminated in a dramatic final game.

The pair traded breaks in the first two games of the second set, before Ivanovic lost serve again, giving Sharapova a 5-4 advantage as she served for the match.

Both players were then locked in a tussle, which saw four break points for Ivanovic and an equal number of match points for Sharapova.

But the Russian fourth seed in Beijing came through the battle of nerves and sealed a 6-0, 6-4 victory in just under 90 minutes.

Ivanovic said she did not play at her usual standard during the game.

"It was not about the last challenge. It was just very tough match for me today. I felt really flat on the court," she said.

"I was trying to come back in that second set. That point was very important. But still I had to do lot of work. I didn't feel at my best today."

Both Sharapova and Kvitova will be hoping to clinch their fourth title of the year in Beijing. Sharapova has won the last four meetings between the pair.

Quartet complete WTA Finals lineup after rivals lose

(10/3/14) Eugenie Bouchard, Agnieszka Radwanska, Caroline Wozniacki and Ana Ivanovic have completed the lineup for the WTA Finals in Singapore later this month after their closest challengers were knocked out early at the China Open.

Germany's Angelique Kerber and Ekaterina Makarova of Russia lost in the third round in Beijing on Thursday to send the quartet through to the Oct. 20-26 tournament alongside Serena Williams, Simona Halep, Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova.

Seventh seed Kerber, who is ninth in the Road to Singapore, tossed away a one set lead to lose to Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova, while U.S. Open semi-finalist Makarova, 11th in the standings, also lost in three sets to Italian Roberto Vinci.

Dominika Cibulkova (10th) was not competing in Beijing after retiring from her first round match against Madison Keys in Wuhan last week.

Italian Vinci had already knocked out Pole Radwanska in the previous round, with former world number one Ivanovic the only one of Thursday's four Singapore qualifiers still involved in the Beijing event.

"It's been my big goal since the beginning of the year," the Serb said. "Everyone really earns a spot there, and I feel like I've been playing so well the whole year. I was working really hard towards this."

Ivanovic, who won in Japan last month, will take on Halep in the last eight in China on Saturday, while Canadian Bouchard is already in Austria preparing for her next event after being bundled out by Sabine Lisicki in the second round in Beijing.

"I'm excited to compete in my first WTA Finals," Wimbledon finalist Bouchard said. "I have worked hard all year on and off the court to qualify for the WTA Finals in Singapore."

World number one Williams is the defending WTA Finals champion having beaten China's recently retired Li Na in last year's final in Turkey.

GARCIA UPSETS RADWANSKA IN AT WUHAN; IVANOVIC OUT WITH INJURY

(9/22/14) Caroline Garcia followed up her first-round win over Venus Williams with a 3-6, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (7) upset win over fifth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska on Monday at the inaugural Wuhan Open.

The 20-year-old Frenchwoman went for broke, continuing to hit big ground strokes despite piling up unforced errors as she tried to keep Radwanska on the back foot.

"It's pretty different game between Venus and Radwanska, but I did the same game for myself," Garcia said. "Against these kind of girls like Radwanska you have to do (this kind) of game ... sometime you can miss, but I knew it was the only way I can win this today."

In first-round matches, No. 10 Jelena Jankovic beat Christina McHale of the United States 6-4, 6-4 and No. 11 Sara Errani of Italy reeled off the last six games to beat Heather Watson of Britain 7-5, 6-4.

Ninth-seeded Ana Ivanovic, who won the title in Tokyo on the weekend, was among the four seeded players who lost on Monday. She retired with a thigh problem when Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova was serving for the match at 7-5, 6-5, while No. 12 and Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova retired with a left ankle problem at the start of the third set after splitting the first two sets with American Madison Keys. Sabine Lisicki of Germany beat No. 14 Lucie Safarova 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 and Australian qualifier Jarmila Gajdosova ousted No. 15 Flavia Pennetta 6-1, 6-4.

Mona Barthel of Germany beat crowd favourite Peng Shuai of China 6-2, 7-6 (1) and Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic had a 6-4, 6-4 win over former U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur.

Among those advancing were Alize Cornet of France, Casey Dellacqua of Australia, Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain and U.S. player Coco Vandeweghe, who beat Annika Beck of Germany 6-3, 6-2.

Almost all the WTA's top 20 players are in Wuhan, with the notable exception of hometown player Li Na, who announced her retirement last Friday.

The strength of the field and the more than $2 million on offer in prize money reflect the importance the women's tour continues to place on the booming Asian tennis market.

Wuhan is one of three new WTA-level tournaments added in China this year, along with Hong Kong and Tianjin. The newcomers bring the total number of tournaments in China to six -- behind only the United States, which has eight.

The season-ending WTA Championship was also moved this year to Singapore through 2018.

All the additions mean that the elite players are spending a considerable amount of time in Asia in coming months.

Maria Sharapova, who was due to play her opening match later Monday against fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova, credited the success of two-time major winner Li and her massive appeal in China for the WTA's push into Asia.

"I think she was one of the biggest reasons why there is such an international tournament in Wuhan. She brought all of us here, so I think it's a little extra sad that she won't be participating this year," Sharapova said.

IVANOVIC DEFEATS WOZNIACKI TO CAPTURE TOKYO TITLE

(9/21/14) Ana Ivanovic defeated Caroline Wozniacki to win the title at the Pan Pacific Open on Sunday.

In a matchup of former world No. 1s, Ivanovic took down Wozniacki 6-2, 7-6 (7-2) to capture her 15th singles title and fourth this year. Ivanovic didn't drop a single set in this event.

Ivanovic fired four aces and improved to 5-2 lifetime against Wozniacki, with this match being the first time the two had met in a final.

The 26-year-old Serb beat Venus Williams in Auckland to start the season and topped Jovana Jaksic in Monterrey in April before losing to Maria Sharapova in Stuttgart a few weeks later. Ivanovic then beat Barbora Zahlavova Strycova at the Wimbledon tune-up in Birmingham before falling to Serena Williams in the Cincinnati final prior to the U.S. Open.

Wozniacki won this event in 2010, while Ivanovic had lost to Martina Hingis in the final in 2007.

This was Ivanovic's first event since a stunning second-round exit at Flushing Meadows, while Wozniacki was also playing for the first time since the U.S. Open, when she fell to Serena Williams in the final.

Ivanovic collected $196,670 for the victory.

Ivanovic downs Kerber, to meet Wozniacki in Tokyo final

(9/21/14) Ana Ivanovic overcame a slow start to beat top seed Angelique Kerber 7-5 6-3 in the semi-final of the Pan Pacific Open on Saturday to set up a title clash with second seed Caroline Wozniacki.

World number 10 Ivanovic, seeded third in the $1 million event, was down 5-3 in the opening set but went on to win 10 of the next 13 games to seal her victory against her eighth ranked German opponent.

"In the beginning it really took me some time to adjust to her game. It wasn't like my previous matches," Ivanovic said.

"But once I adjusted and got more aggressive it started to go my way, and I'm really happy with the win today because she's always such a tough and challenging opponent."

The win boosts the former world number one's bid to qualify for the season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore as it did for her opponent in Sunday's final.

Wozniacki, also a former top-ranked player, was the first to book her spot for the final after a tough match against an aggressive Garbine Muguruza.

The Danish player saved 19 of the 23 break points she faced in the match, including all nine in the first set, to win 6-4 2-6 6-2 against the 20-year-old Spaniard.

Muguruza gave it her all, hitting 53 winners in the match but was hurt by the 50 unforced errors she committed.

"She was playing really, really well and very aggressively, but I just kept fighting and staying in there, and I think at the end I had just a little bit more energy than she did," Wozniacki said.

Ivanovic is currently number eight in the race for Singapore, ahead of Wozniacki, and both are leading contenders for a spot in the five places left for the event.

Wozniacki, Ivanovic into Pan Pacific semis

(9/19/14) Ana Ivanovic beat Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-2 for the first time since 2008 to reach the Pan Pacific Open semifinals on Friday.

Ivanovic had lost five straight to Safarova, but with an early break was in control of their quarterfinal at Ariake Coliseum.

Ivanovic moved on to face top-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany, who beat sixth-seeded Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia a third straight time this year, 6-3, 6-0.

Kerber beat Ivanovic last year in the second round.

Second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki defeated eighth-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 6-3, 6-3.

"It was a little like playing chess," said Wozniacki, the champion in 2010. "We opened up the court and tried to outplay each other."

The U.S. Open finalist will play Garbine Muguruza of Spain on Saturday.

"Sheís been playing well all week," Wozniacki said of Muguruza. "I need to make her run, take the ball early, need to serve and return well."

Muguruza, despite 10 double-faults, defeated Casey Dellacqua of Australia 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3.

Ivanovic makes quarterfinal at Pan Pacific

(9/17/14) Ana Ivanovic stalled Victoria Azarenkaís comeback from a foot injury with a 6-3, 6-4 win to make the Pan Pacific Open quarterfinals on Wednesday.

In the match between the former major champions and No. 1s, Azarenka committed seven of her nine double faults in the first set and her serve was easily read by Ivanovic.

Ivanovic prevailed for her first win over Azarenka since 2010, after losing four straight. She lined up seventh-seeded Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic, who hit 10 aces in beating wild card Belinda Bencic of Switzerland 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Top-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany beat Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 6-4, 6-4. Kerber, who is seeking her fourth career WTA singles title, converted both break points in the second set at Ariake Coliseum.

On Friday, she will play sixth-seeded Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia, who ousted Coco Vandeweghe of the United States, 7-6 (5), 7-5, in a match of 15 broken serves.

Ivanovic falls to 42nd-ranked Czech at U.S. Open

(8/29/14) Ana Ivanovic, who had been having her best season since winning the French Open in 2008, lost to Karolina Pliskova 7-5, 6-4 in the second round of the U.S. Open on Thursday.

Ivanovic, seeded eighth, had won 47 matches coming into Flushing Meadows, the most of any woman on the tour this year. But she never found her rhythm against Pliskova, a 6-foot-1, big-hitting Czech ranked No. 42. Ivanovic struggled to consistently make her first serves and sprayed 29 unforced errors, including seven double-faults.

"It was just really bad day," said Ivanovic, who was once ranked No. 1 and whose three titles this season equal the career high she set in 2008.

But she hasnít matched that success in Grand Slam tournaments. She made the quarterfinals of the Australian Open but fell in early rounds at Roland Garros and Wimbledon.

"This is exactly what I think I have to reassess," she said. "I had great lead-ups to every Grand Slam. I played a lot of matches and won lot of matches. Ö At the Grand Slams I just havenít performed that well. "

Ivanovic is the highest seed to fall behind No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska, who lost to Peng Shuai in the second round Wednesday. None of the top 10 men seeds has lost.

After celebrating the biggest victory of her career, the 22-year-old Pliskova said she didnít really have a strategy for attacking Ivanovic.

"I just played my game and was focusing on me," she said.

No. 16-seeded Victoria Azarenka, a finalist at the U.S. Open the past two years, dropped the first three games before coming back to beat 44th-ranked American Christina McHale 6-3, 6-2 in another second-round match.

Azarenka, a two-time Australian Open champion who once held the No. 1 ranking, has been hampered by injuries, including one to her left foot that kept her out for much of the season and a knee problem that led her to pull out of the tuneup event in Cincinnati.

"I donít want to talk about frustration. Ö I just want to talk about positives," Azarenka said. "I love tennis so much and I couldnít wait to get back on the court."

On the menís side, American Sam Querrey downed 28th-seeded Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in straight sets and two seeds, No. 10 Kei Nishikori and No. 22 Philipp Kohlschreiber, advanced to the third round when their opponents retired because of injury. Top-seeded Nojak Djokovic, No. 5 Milos Raonic, No. 8 Andy Murray and No. 9 Jo-Willfried Tsonga were all in action later.

Other anticipated matches Thursday included the return of 15-year-old American CiCi Bellis, two days after becoming the youngest player to win a match in the tournament since 1996. Bellis, ranked 1,208th and playing in her first tour-level event, faces 48th-ranked Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan.

Serena Williams took a 15-match Flushing Meadows winning streak into the second round against another American, 81st-ranked Vania King.

Williams has won five U.S. Open titles, including in 2012 and 2013. She is trying to become the first woman to win the tournament three consecutive years since Chris Evert had a four-year run from 1975-78.

Light Reading

(8/26/14) Ana Ivanovic is an avid reader - maybe a bit too much, sometimes.

As she struggled with her game in the years after her 2008 French Open title, the Serbian star cracked open more than a few psychology books, searching out the mental keys to regaining her edge.

She eventually had to force herself to cut back.

''I'm sure when you study to be a doctor, you probably start to feel all these pains in your body,'' Ivanovic said Tuesday. ''So it's the same. I started to read psychology, and I started to feel all of that in myself.''

Now 26, Ivanovic finally seems to have her head in the right place. This month, she returned to the top 10 for the first time in more than five years.

''I really enjoy psychology - I think it's amazing what the human mind can or cannot do depending on how you perceive a situation,'' Ivanovic said.

But, now, she added: ''I try to read something on the light side.''

Stosur, Sharapova unite in clampdown on time wasters

(8/26/14) Samantha Stosur joined fellow former US Open champion Maria Sharapova in calling for a clamp down on tennis time-wasters on Tuesday.

Australian 30-year-old Stosur demanded that the '20-seconds between points' rule be strictly observed regardless of the status of players within the sport who may be tempted to abuse it to gain an edge.

Stosur's demands came just a day after Sharapova only half-jokingly said that all players insisting on medical timeouts should be charged $2,500 as a test of the severity of their ailments.

"Maybe this 20 second rule needs to be implemented fairly for all players on all courts. I guess the umpires have really got to look at what's going on on every single situation," said Stosur, who believes she has been a victim of an over-zealous approach in recent times.

"Let's just say the last few slams I keep getting called for these soft warnings, and I've never been called for a time violation in my life, and I get told to hurry up while my opponent is in the back fence."

The women's tour has a 20-second limit while the men's game insists on a slightly more generous 25 seconds. The four Grand Slam events, however, are in the 20-second camp.

Stosur added that the installation of a "shot-clock" on court to remind players of their obligations both to the fans and to the sport could be a step in the right direction.

It was an approach aired by Roger Federer at Wimbledon this year after Rafael Nadal had been accused -- not for the first time -- of taking more than 20 seconds.

His accuser this time was Lukas Rosol who claimed the notoriously slow-going Nadal was taking around 30 seconds.

"I think it's important that we, as players, play up to speed and don't exceed the time limit, because what I don't want is that we lose viewers because we play too slow," said 17-time major winner Federer.

Stosur revealed that players had met recently and the issue of having clocks on all courts had been raised in a drive to keep the action ticking over.

"I don't think that would be a bad idea. You know where you stand. I think everyone was kind of for it. As long as it's fair -- no matter where you are and who you're playing, I think all players would be fine with it."

On Monday, Sharapova had suggested a financial levy be introduced when medical timeouts are called.

"I think we'd all see who really uses them and who doesn't. Yeah, I don't know what we put on it, maybe like 2,500 (dollars) or something. That would be fun," said Sharapova after her first round opponent Maria Kirilenko had taken a timeout to treat a left ankle injury.

Ivanovic rolls over Riske to start U.S. Open

(8/26/14) Ana Ivanovic kept her hot streak rolling with a straight-set victory to start the U.S. Open.

The eighth-seeded Serb beat American Alison Riske 6-3, 6-0 in the first round Tuesday. Ivanovic has won 48 matches this year, more than anyone else on tour.

The 2008 French Open champion has struggled to get back to that level but finally seems to be inching closer. She returned to the top 10 this month for the first time in more than five years.

ďThe confidence is on a high level,Ē she said. ďI had a great season behind me.Ē

The 24-year-old Riske made a breakthrough at last yearís U.S. Open, reaching the fourth round after an upset of Petra Kvitova. She reached a career-high ranking of No. 40 this summer.

Ivanovic was broken in the first game Tuesday but quickly took control. Sheís won three tournaments this year, tied with Maria Sharapova for second behind Serena Williams.

Ivanovic upset Williams to reach the Australian Open quarterfinals. She was playing well heading to Roland Garros but lost in the third round to Lucie Safarova.

In her last tuneup before coming to New York, Ivanovic beat Sharapova in the semifinals in Cincinnati before losing to Williams in the title match.

Samantha Stosur, the 2011 U.S. Open champ, also quickly dispatched a young American, beating Lauren Davis 6-1, 6-4. The 49th-ranked Davis fell to 0-3 at her home Grand Slam event.

On the menís side, American Sam Querrey improved to 3-9 in five-set matches with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 win over Argentinaís Maximo Gonzalez.

Tenth-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan cruised to a 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 victory over American Wayne Odesnik, showing no apparent effects from a toe injury that hampered his preparations. The 176th-ranked Odesnik earned a wild card into the U.S. Open, his first appearance in five years. He served a yearlong ban after pleading guilty for importing human growth hormone into Australia.

Serena wins Cincinnati title in final U.S. Open tune-up

(8/17/14) Serena Williams finished her last U.S. Open tune-up in style by blowing away Serbian Ana Ivanovic 6-4 6-1 to win her first title at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati on Sunday.

For the top-seeded American, the triumph marked her first in six visits to Cincinnati and sent a message that she is in top form heading into the year's final grand slam, where she is the two-time defending champion.

"It's just amazing to finally win here," said Williams, who fired a dozen aces and broke her opponent four times. "The fans were amazing and it's so wonderful to be here."

After falling behind early, Williams broke her ninth seeded opponent's serve in the sixth game of the first set to pull even and then broke again four games later to wrap up the opener in 38 minutes after consecutive double faults from Ivanovic.

A year removed from losing the Cincinnati final in a third set tiebreak to Victoria Azarenka, the world number one left nothing to chance in a dominant second set.

Williams broke Ivanovic to open a 3-1 lead in the second set and then relied on her powerful serve to carry her the rest of the way.

It marked the fifth title of the year for the 32-year-old American following wins in Stanford, Rome, Miami and Brisbane.

The Cincinnati tournament is the last of the key tune-ups ahead of the Aug. 25-Sept. 8 U.S. Open in New York.

For 26-year-old Ivanovic, a former world number one who was chasing her fourth title of the year, her run to the Cincinnati final will put her back in the top 10 of the world rankings for the first time in five years.

"It's been a great week for me in Cincinnati," said Ivanovic, who was coming off a nearly three-hour win over fifth seed Maria Sharapova in Saturday's semi-final.

"I really want to congratulate Serena. I think I got a lesson on how to serve today. Maybe after you retire you can give me some tips."

Ivanovic ousts Sharapova in three-set thriller

(8/17/14) Ana Ivanovic overcame illness and nerves as she outlasted French Open champ Maria Sharapova 6-2, 5-7, 7-5 to reach the final of the WTA Tour's Cincinnati event.

The former world number one will face off for the title, at the last major tune-up prior to the US Open, when she plays Serena Williams on Sunday.

The American top seed Williams moved within one win of a second pre-Open hardcourt title as she beat Caroline Wozniacki 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.

Ivanovic led by a set and 5-2 but fell victim to nerves as the scrambling Sharapova, a five-time grand slam champion and fellow former number one, fought back. Sharapova levelled the sets at one each as she clinched the second set with an ace.

Ivanovic had to be seen by the doctor in the third set. The Serb suddenly stopped at 15-all in the second game. She went to the sidelines and lay down for a few moments to receive treatment and then the match continued.

Sharapova's frustration level appeared to grow as the Russian struggled to get a grip on a game which produced seven double-faults in the third set.

"It was just a matter of a couple points," Sharapova said. "There were certainly a lot of ups and downs. I wasn't happy with that."

Ivanovic saved a pair of Sharapova match points and finally held for five-all.

Ivanovic broke two games later to secure the emotional win with a backhand cross-court winner on second match point.

- Sharapova 'a fighter' -

"Up a set and 5-2, I got tight," said Ivanovic. "I was not moving my feet. She's a great champion and she used her opportunities.

"It was very important for me to get my composure back in the third set.

"My emotions were all over the place. There were a lot of breaks in the final set. Maria is a fighter and never gives up. But I stayed calm.

"It was hot and humid and I felt sick in the second set. But the tablets I got from the doctor worked and I feel better now."

Ivanovic and Williams will play for the fourth time this season, with the Serb earning a win at the Australian Open.

"It will be a very tough one, but first comes recovery," said Ivanovic. "It is fun to play her and test yourself against the best. It will be a quick turnaround."

Williams, who claimed her 61st career WTA title at Stanford two weeks ago, is playing a third tournament in a row for the first time since late 2007. She improved her 2014 match record to 37-6 with the win over Wozniacki.

The 32-year-old said that she needed a set to find her game after a slow start.

"I got off to a little bit of a slow start, but I was definitely in it," said Williams, who followed up her win in Stanford by reaching the semi-finals last week at Montreal, where she lost to her sister Venus. "I had to get out there and grind out everything."

Wozniacki came to the match after beating two top 10 players in a row for first time since the 2010 WTA Finals.

Despite the defeat, Wozniacki is ready for one last US Open tune-up next week in New Haven.

"I've had a lot of matches these couple of weeks," said the 24-year-old Dane. "But I'm good with playing New Haven. I'm going to use it as even better preparation."

SHARAPOVA TOPS FORBES LIST OF TOP-EARNING FEMALE ATHLETES

(8/15/14) For a 10th straight year, Maria Sharapova topped the Forbes list as the top-earning female athlete on the planet.

According to Forbes, the 27-year-old Sharapova pocketed $24.4 million on and off the court over the last 12 months.

Sure, some other women have earned more prize money, but when it comes to off- court earnings ... Maria's in a league of her own.

Hip and shoulder injuries sidelined the Russian superstar for the second half of last year, holding back her on-court winnings to a modest (for Shaza) $2.4 million, but they did little to detract from her off-court moneys.

Sharapova's tennis, charisma and photogenic quality have made her one of the most sought after names in all of sport and the face of brands ranging from Nike to Porsche. In June, fresh off her second career French Open title, Avon came calling and became the latest addition to her ever-expanding endorsement portfolio. Avon has Sharapova on-board as the face of its new fragrance for men and women, Avon Luck, in a deal worth more than $1 million a year.

And proving that she's more than just a pretty face, over the past few years, the five-time Grand Slam champion Sharapova has also tapped into entrepreneurship, launching her own brand of candy, Sugarpova, and more recently claiming a stake in a skincare company, Supergoop, where she will promote sunscreen and anti-aging goods.

Tennis dominated Forbes' female athletes list once again, with Li Na ($23.6 million), Serena Williams ($22 million), Victoria Azarenka ($11.1 million), Caroline Wozniacki ($10.8 million), Agnieszka Radwanska ($6.8 million) and Ana Ivanovic ($6.4 million) joining the former world No. 1 Sharapova in the exclusive top 10.

Serena battles past Ivanovic into Stanford semis

(8/2/14) World number one Serena Williams fought off a determined Ana Ivanovic 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 to reach the semi-finals of the WTA hardcourt tournament at Stanford.

The top-seeded American booked a Saturday showdown with eighth-seeded German Andrea Petkovic, who thwarted a possible all-Williams semi-final with a 6-1, 3-6, 7-5 triumph over Venus Williams.

Top-seeded Serena, playing her first tournament since she departed Wimbledon looking weak and woozy, said the one hour, 57-minute match against Ivanovic confirmed she had regained her fitness in the wake of the virus that hampered her at the All England Club.

"I'm feeling really good," she said. "I had some long rallies and I wasn't out of breath at all, so I was, like, 'Yay!'"

But former world number one Ivanovic, seeded fifth, didn't make things easy.

The Serbian took the opening set in just 25 minutes, but Williams had raised her level and taken a 5-2 lead with one break of serve in the second even before Ivanovic received on-court treatment for a tight hip after the seventh game.

Although she seemed to be in some discomfort Ivanovic held serve to narrow the gap to 5-3 before Williams pocketed the second set and broke Ivanovic to open the third.

"It wasn't very easy," Williams said. "Ana plays very well, this court is a little fast so she really was hitting a lot of shots. I just fought and stayed in there."

Trailing 3-1 in the third, Ivanovic won three straight games to take a 4-3 lead.

Williams broke Ivanovic for a 5-4 lead, but was broken herself in the next game before finally wrapping it up with one more break of Ivanovic's serve and a dominant service game of her own.

"It was really important for me," Williams said. "I wanted to come out with the win no matter what, and I'm really excited, actually, that I was able to win today."

She said she was expecting a tough match from Petkovic, who stormed through the first set over Venus Williams then held on in the face of the American's determined comeback attempt.

Williams, who had beaten fourth-seeded Victoria Azarenka on Wednesday night, won six of the last seven games of the second set to force a decisive third set.

Petkovic twice went up a break in the third only for Williams to break back, but Petkovic won the last two games to seal the win after one hour and 49 minutes.

"She played really well, and I wasn't as on today as in previous days," Williams said. "But you're going to have days like that and have to work through them."

Ivanovic advances to Bank of the West quarters

(8/1/14) Ana Ivanovic advanced to her first Bank of the West quarterfinal, beating qualifier Carol Zhao 6-1, 6-1 on Thursday.

The 11th-ranked Serb, looking for her fourth title of the year, will face top-ranked Serena Williams on Friday.

Zhao, a sophomore All-American at Stanford, appeared in her second WTA Tour event and gained her first career win at the level Tuesday when Yanina Wickmeyer retired because of a viral infection.

Ivanovic, a former No. 1, had three aces and won 75 percent of her first-serve points.

Ivanovic lone seeded player to win at Stanford

(7/29/14) Ana Ivanovic has a new coach and a better outlook.

The fifth-seeded Ivanovic won her first-round match in the Bank of the West Classic, defeating Sabine Lisicki 7-6 (2), 6-1 on Tuesday.

The former world No. 1 lost to Lisicki in three sets in their previous meeting at Wimbledon.

''My mentality has changed,'' Ivanovic said. ''Sometimes just a few points make a difference and it helps to be positive in a tight situation. I did that today in the tiebreak.''

She also hired Dejan Petrovic and was playing her first tournament with him.

''It was a lot of things on and off the court,'' Ivanovic said of her split with Nemanja Kontic following the loss to Lisicki at Wimbledon. ''He helped me a lot and sometimes these decisions are very hard.''

Ivanovic has won three tournament titles on the WTA Tour this season after failing to win a tournament in 2013. She owns 14 career titles.

''I don't think like that,'' she said. ''When I was being introduced, I heard that I won three titles and I thought 'I did?' I knew I had played a lot of matches, so maybe I should not have been surprised.''

Ivanovic fell behind in the first set and rallied to win it in a tiebreaker.

''It was a tough first match for both of us,'' Ivanovic said. ''She was playing very well. In the tiebreak I thought I had to be aggressive, so I came to the net. I felt confident in doing that.''

The Serbian next faces qualifier Carol Zhao, a sophomore at Stanford who was leading Yanina Wickmayer, 6-2, 1-0, when the Belgian retired because of a viral infection.

Lisicki holds nerve to sweep past Ivanovic

(6/30/14) Big serving from last year's runner-up Sabine Lisicki propelled the German into Wimbledon's fourth round on Monday, claiming a stop-go 6-4 3-6 6-1 victory over 11th seed Ana Ivanovic.

Lisicki, seeded 19, had the first set in the bag when the match was called off after much discussion between players and officials about the gathering gloom on Saturday evening.

Former world No.1 Ivanovic came out fighting as the match resumed on a chilly Monday morning, producing some telling returns on the Lisicki serve. But the duo were again forced off court for more than an hour by a shower, with Ivanovic leading 5-2 and deuce in the second.

The Serb kept her concentration to wrap up the set, but the ever-smiling Lisicki calmed her nerves and found range and power on her returns to break Ivanovic's serve twice and win the match with a seventh booming ace.

Lisicki meets Yaroslava Shvedova of Kasakhastan in the fourth round.

Singapore to host expanded WTA Finals in October

(6/29/14) The WTAís season-ending tennis championships will move to Singapore in October for at least five years, and WTA founder Billie Jean King will be the eventís official ambassador.

The WTA said Sunday that the expanded WTA Finals tournament will be held from Oct. 17-26 and include the top singles and doubles players from 2014 as well as competition among up-and-coming tour players and veterans.

Singapore will be the ninth city to host the WTA Finals since 1972. Most recently they were held in Doha, Qatar from 2008-2010 and Istanbul, Turkey from 2011 to last year.

King made the announcement near the All England Club, where she won a record 20 overall titles.

Ivanovic captures first grass court title

(6/15/14) Ana Ivanovic captured her first grass court title after almost a decade of trying on Sunday after a straight sets win over Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova at the Aegon Classic.

The former world number beat Zahlavova-Strycova, 6-3, 6-2, with her opponent also playing in her first major tournament final.

Although Ivanovic started shakily for the second day in succession, and dropped serve immediately, she recovered quickly, her heavy ground strokes and willingness to attack soon dominating her unseeded opponent.

It suggested that, at 26, not only can she adapt to a variable surface, but underlined this as her best year so far since 2008.

It was Ivanovicís 37th win and her third title of the year, putting her level with Serena Williamsí and Maria Sharapovaís three.

The Serb couldnít contain her happiness at conquering her doubts about playing on grass. "On grass you really donít have time to hesitate," she said.

"I tried to shorten my swing and move forwards. You really have to go after your shots. Itís important to be clear in your mind."

Ivanovic will move up to world number 11, well positioned to make another move during Wimbledon, which would lift her back into the top ten for the first time in five years.

If she needed an omen suggesting she might continue this streak into the grass court Grand Slam, which starts in eight days, it came with the holding her latest trophy Ė the Maud Watson Cup, the same one as that presented to the English woman after she won the first ever Wimbledon, in 1884.

Could Ivanovic actually win the gameís oldest title? She was understandably cautious. "Itís exciting and a new challenge," she said, "just knowing that itís never over and you always have a chance."

Ivanovic tops Zhang to make Aegon Classic final

(6/14/14) Ana Ivanovic, the unpredictable former world number one, has reached her first ever final on grass at the Aegon Classic, a Wimbledon warm-up tournament.

After beating the ninth-seeded Zhang Shuai of China 6-2, 6-2 on Saturday, Ivanovic described the prospect of winning as a "dream."

"Ten years on tour and I never have a title on grass," the 26-year-old Serb said. "That would be definitely something special."

Ivanovic had an different start and went 0-2 down as she struggled to land a first serve. However, she soon became too powerful for the 25-year-old Zhang, who was taking part in only the second grass court tournament of her career.

Ivanovic became more dangerous as she grew in confidence, and her timing on the slick surface belied her years of uncertainty on grass.

In Sundayís final, Ivanovic faces Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, who is also playing in the first grass court final of her career.

The unseeded Czech survived two rain delays to beat 16th-seeded Australian Casey Dellacqua 7-6 (5), 6-1.

In doubles semifinal action, Torontoís Daniel Nestor and partner Nenad Zimonjic fell 7-5, 6-3 to Austriaís Alexander Peya and Brazilís Bruno Soares.

Ivanovic reaches Aegon Classic semifinals

(6/13/14) Former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic, who admits to a dislike of competing on grass, moved within one win of her first final on the surface with her third confident win in a row at the Aegon Classic on Friday.

The top-seeded Serbian beat the sixth-seeded Czech, Klara Koukalova, 6-1, 6-4 to reach the semifinals of the Wimbledon warmup event.

Ivanovic has described playing on grass as "like being stuck to the ground all of a sudden," but there was little wrong with her movement nor any evident lack of self-belief as she forcefully completed her win in 72 minutes.

There was a 20-minute phase in the second set when Koukalova, who has a grass-court title to her name, seemed capable of regaining parity and held service up until 4-3.

But Ivanovic boldly attacked off the ground to break serve in the psychologically crucial moments of the ninth game, and closed out the match without fuss.

"Itís a tough transition, not only in the body and the movement, but also in the mindset," she said of her improved grass-court showing. She even agreed she was now able to believe she could win the tournament.

"I have more confidence. Itís about rhythm and getting ready for the next match. Now I have the flow," she said.

Ivanovic will meet surprise semifinalist Zhang Shuai, the ninth-seeded Chinese player, who patiently took advantage of an error-prone, self-critical Sloane Stephens, the third-seeded American, to win 6-3, 6-1.

There will not be a fairytale finalist in the bottom half. Kimiko Date-Krumm, the 43-year-old Japanese who sensationally ousted defending champion Daniela Hantuchova on Thursday, was unable to emerge fresh for a fourth consecutive day, lasting only three-quarters of an hour in a 6-1, 6-0 loss to Casey Dellacqua of Australia.

Top seed Ivanovic through in Birmingham but Stosur ousted

(6/12/14) Top seed Ana Ivanovic breezed into the quarter-finals of the Aegon Classic in Birmingham, England with a 6-1 6-1 victory over American Lauren Davis on Thursday but second seed Samantha Stosur was knocked out.

Ivanovic was joined in the quarter-finals by third seed Sloane Stephens and number four Kirsten Flipkens, who beat American Alison Riske 7-6 (4) 2-6 6-1 and Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak 1-6 7-5 6-4 respectively, but defending champion Daniela Hantuchova lost.

In the first game Serb Ivanovic trailed 0-40 on serve but that proved to a minor blip as the former French Open winner unleashed 28 winners in a dominant display.

"I just felt the ball really good, I timed it well," the 26-year-old told reporters. "I knew she's a player who stays low in the grass and it can work well sometimes so I really tried to stretch her and come forward."

Ivanovic's main rival at the grasscourt event was expected to be Stosur but the 2009 U.S. Open champion went down 2-6 6-2 6-2 against fellow Australian Casey Dellacqua.

Dellacqua next meets 43-year-old Japanese Kimiko Date-Krumm who proved age is just a number as she beat seventh seed Hantuchova 6-4 6-0.

"She was hitting lines, moving well, coming to the net, serving unbelievably well," Hantuchova said. "I thought I was always going to have chances on her serve but today just everything went her way".

Ivanovic breezes past Barthel at Aegon Classic

(6/10/14) Ana Ivanovicís winning start to the grass-court season was healthy enough to raise hopes that she will at last remedy her Wimbledon ills.

The former world No. 1 from Serbia looked worth her top seeding as she hurried past Mona Barthel, a tripwire opponent in the past, and into the third round of the Aegon Classic on Tuesday.

Ivanovicís hard-hitting 6-4, 6-1 win over the German had such a high ratio of winners it was hard to believe she has only once reached a Wimbledon semifinal and five times failed to reach the last 16.

ďI havenít had the most success on grass,Ē admitted Ivanovic, who has two weeks before Wimbledon to adapt herself to the vagaries of this surface.

ďI really hope I manage to turn that around. On grass courts itís a lot about mentality and also the gameplan, because everything happens so fast.

ďItís the first time I am working with my coach (Nemanja Kontic) on grass, so hopefully he can bring some innovations that will help me make that change.Ē

If he did, they certainly succeeded against Barthel, against whom Ivanovic had lost two of their three previous encounters. She worked hard to get lower on the green, lush surface, to hit flatter through the ball, and to move forward more often.

She also took more risks. These helped avoid going 3-0 behind, to recover well from 3-1 down, and take eight of the next nine games.

She next plays Victoria Duval, an American qualifier, and could play Sam Stosur, the former U.S. Open champion, in Sundayís final.

However, Ivanovic might have to survive a semifinal against Sloane Stephens, the U.S. Fed Cup player, while Stosur should have a quarterfinal with Daniela Hantuchova, the titleholder from Slovakia, who began impressively with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Belinda Bencic, the Wimbledon junior champion from Switzerland.

HALEP, JANKOVIC CRUISE AT FRENCH OPEN; IVANOVIC OUSTED

(5/31/14) Fourth seed Simona Halep and former world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic reached the fourth round, while one former champion moved on and another, Ana Ivanovic, exited the draw Saturday at the French Open.

The Romanian Halep, the highest-remaining seed among the women following an upset-filled first week, moved into the round of 16 with a 6-3, 6-0 victory over Spain's Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor.

Halep committed only 11 unforced errors and saved all eight break points she faced in the 64-minute match against Torro-Flor.

The 2008 girls' champion in Paris, Halep will next face 15th-seeded American Sloane Stephens, a 6-3, 6-4 winner over 22nd-seeded Russian Ekaterina Makarova on Day 7.

Stephens has reached the second week at a major for the sixth straight time.

"If I knew what the switch was or what I was supposed to do, I would probably do it every week," Stephens said. "I guess fortunately it's at the Slams I play well. Not too disappointed with that."

Meanwhile, Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova rallied to beat fifth-seeded Czech star Petra Kvitova 6-7 (3-7), 6-1, 9-7. Kvitova had a 49-26 advantage in winners, but piled up 65 unforced errors, compared to 20 for the 27th seed.

Kuznetsova is a former French and U.S. Open champ, with the victory here coming in 2009. She was a Roland Garros runner-up in 2006.

A sixth-seeded Jankovic rolled along with a 6-1, 6-2 pasting of 26th-seeded Romanian Sorana Cirstea, while 10th-seeded 2012 Roland Garros runner-up Sara Errani of Italy whipped Israeli Julia Glushko 6-0, 6-1.

Czech Lucie Safarova, seeded 23rd at this fortnight, prevented a fourth-round matchup between former French Open champions Kuznetsova and Ivanovic by defeating the 11th-seeded Ivanovic, 6-3, 6-3.

Ivanovic titled here in 2008 after finishing as the runner-up in 2007.

Ivanovic beats Svitolina to reach 3rd round

(5/29/14) Former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic of Serbia reached the third round by beating Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 7-5, 6-2 on Thursday.

The 11th-seeded Ivanovic dropped her own serve three times but broke Svitolina's serve six times. She clinched victory on her second match point with a forehand winner down the line on Svitolina's serve.

Since winning here in 2008 for her only Grand Slam title, the 26-year-old Ivanovic has reached only one quarterfinal at a major - the U.S. Open in 2012 - and has never been past the fourth round at Roland Garros.

She next faces No. 23 Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic, who won 6-1, 5-7, 6-3 against Casey Dellacqua of Australia.

IVANOVIC WINS OPENER AT ITALIAN OPEN

(5/12/14) Rome, Italy - Four seeded women, including No. 11 Ana Ivanovic and American Sloane Stephens, and former world No. 1 Venus Williams posted opening-round wins Monday at the $2.6 million Italian International tennis event, a clay court French Open tune-up at Foro Italico.

The former world No. 1 and former French Open champion Ivanovic whipped Italian Karin Knapp 6-1, 6-1, while the 16th-seeded Stephens overcame capable Serb Bojana Jovanovski 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

The seven-time Grand Slam champion Williams moved on by vaulting past German Annika Beck 6-3, 6-1.

SHARAPOVA, IVANOVIC EASE TO FIRST-ROUND WINS AT MADRID OPEN

(5/4/14) Maria Sharapova brushed aside Klara Koukalova 6-1, 6-2 in the first round of the Madrid Open on Sunday, while Ana Ivanovic beat Madison Keys 6-1, 7-6 (4).

Sharapova, who lost to Serena Williams in last year's final, converted six of eight break points to take advantage of Koukalova's eight double faults on the Caja Magica clay court.

The eighth-seeded Sharapova will play Christina McHale of the United States in the second round.

The 11th-seeded Ivanovic ousted Keys to set up a meeting with fellow Serb Bojana Jovanovski. Ivanovic overcame her shaky serve by saving three of four break points.

Top-ranked Williams opens her title defence later against Swiss Belinda Bencic.

Sharapova clinches 3rd straight Porsche GP title

(4/27/14) Maria Sharapova won her third straight Porsche Grand Prix title on Sunday by coming from behind to defeat Ana Ivanovic 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 in the final.

Sharapova won her first tournament of the year and clinched the 30th title of her career. She is now undefeated in 13 consecutive matches on the indoor clay in Stuttgart.

Ivanovic wasted a 3-1 lead in the second set as Sharapova raised her game to stay in the high-quality match between two former top-ranked players and French Open champions. Ivanovic was seeking her third title of the year.

"I just tried to hang in there," Sharapova said. "For the first half of the match I thought it might not be my day today, but somehow I turned it around."

Ivanovic got off to a flying a start and won the first five games of the match before Sharapova started fighting back.

Ivanovic wasted a set point and could not serve out the set at her first attempt. She gifted Sharapova another game with a double-fault but finally pulled together to win the first set.

Sharapova had trouble reading Ivanovicís varied game and change of pace. But she held on as Ivanovic began to lose her focus.

"From the first moment it was always a close match," Ivanovic said. "It was always a few close balls to decide each game, and it went on the whole match. In the second set she definitely went for those big shots, though, and she made some amazing points.

"Sheís just a great player, and thatís what happens when you play against great players in big matches like this. You need to use your opportunities."

Sharapova returned late last year after missing four months following shoulder surgery.

"It was a very tough year for me," she said.

Stuttgart is the only tournament Sharapova has won three times.

Sharapova off to 3rd straight Porsche GP final

(4/26/14) Two-time defending champion Maria Sharapova cruised past Sara Errani 6-1, 6-2 on Saturday to reach her third straight Porsche Grand Prix final.

Sharapova dominated the 59-minute semifinal and will play Ana Ivanovic in the final. Sharapova extended her winning streak on Stuttgartís indoor clay to 12 matches and is undefeated against Errani in five matches.

Ivanovic, looking for her third title of the year, beat Jelena Jankovic 6-3, 7-5 in an all-Serb match.

Errani hit a big cross-court return that kissed the line to save the first match point. But Sharapova then hit a superb backhand winner down the line to close the match.

Sharapova is looking for her 30th career title. The Russian returned late last year after missing more than four months following shoulder surgery.

Ivanovic earned her third match point when Jankovic slipped and fell. A return by Jankovic that went wide gave Ivanovic another match point which she clinched when her opponent sent another return into the net.

Ivanovic, a former No. 1 like Jankovic and Sharapova, now has a 9-3 career edge over Jankovic.

Lisicki ousted in first round of Porsche GP

(4/23/14) Ana Ivanovic defeated Sabine Lisicki 6-1, 6-3 to send the Wimbledon finalist out in the first round of the Porsche Grand Prix on Wednesday.

Ivanovic, the world No. 12 and former French Open winner, needed just one hour to beat the 24-year-old Berliner. It left three of the six home players out of the most important German womenís competition at the first hurdle.

Wild card Julia Goerges gave the supporters reason for cheer with a surprise 6-1, 7-5 win over Romaniaís Sorana Cirstea. The 94th-ranked German will next face Ivanovic on Thursday.

Italyís Sara Errani booked her quarterfinal place by defeating Kaia Kanepi of Estonia 6-3, 6-3.

Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic was playing Russiaís Alisa Kleybanova later, with Germanyís Andrea Petkovic facing Italyís Flavia Pennetta.

IVANOVIC WINS ALL-SERBIAN FINAL AT MONTERREY OPEN

(4/7/14) Ana Ivanovic won an all-Serbian final at the Monterrey Open on Sunday, beating Jovana Jaksic 6-2, 6-1 for her second title of the year.

Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open champion, also won the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand, to start the year. It's the first time since 2010 she has captured multiple titles in a season.

Jaksic, playing in her first WTA Tour final, started off strongly against the second-seeded Ivanovic, breaking her at love and winning the first six points of the match. But Ivanovic reeled off 16 of the next 17 points to take control of the match and finish it off in one hour.

It's the 13th title of Ivanovic's career.

Wawrinka wins opener; Ivanovic beats Pennetta

(3/22/14) Stanislas Wawrinka won his opening match at the Sony Open by beating Daniel Gimeno-Traver of Spain 6-0, 3-6, 6-3 on Saturday.

Following a first-round bye, the No. 3-seeded Wawrinka, who won the Australian Open in January, hit 33 winners and improved to 14-1 this year.

Ana Ivanovic advanced to the fourth round by beating Flavia Pennetta of Italy 6-4, 6-3. Ivanovic improved to 5-1 this year against top-20 players.

No. 5 Angelique Kerber defeated Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria 6-0, 6-2.

Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Rafael Nadal were among those scheduled to play later Saturday.

Venus beats Ivanovic in Dubai 2nd round

(2/19/14) Venus Williams pummeled Ana Ivanovic 6-2, 6-1 in a second-round match between former world No. 1s at the Dubai Championships on Wednesday.

Williams showed the form that once delivered her seven Grand Slam titles.

Ivanovic couldn't take advantage of the two break-point opportunities Williams offered in the sixth game of the first set.

Williams, a wild card, lost only seven total points in her other six service games.

In the quarterfinals, Williams will play Italian qualifier Flavia Pennetta, who upset second-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 6-1.

Radwanska, the 2012 Dubai champion, also was ousted in the second round at the Qatar Open in Doha last week.

She led 4-1 then lost eight games in a row to be 6-4, 3-0 down.

The only other game Radwanska won was the fourth game of the second set.

Ivanovic advances to 2nd round in Qatar Open

(2/11/14) Ninth-seeded Ana Ivanovic of Serbia advanced to the second round of the Qatar Open on Tuesday after Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova retired from their match with a right knee injury.

Ivanovic was leading 7-5, 1-0 when Hantuchova withdrew after falling 0-40 behind in the second game.

The match started slowly for Ivanovic, who surrendered her first two serves as Hantuchova took a 5-3 lead. But Ivanovic won the next four games to secure the set, winning the ninth game at love with her final three serves being aces.

''She started really well, and I managed to get back into the set and break her back,'' Ivanovic said. ''I played some really good tennis towards the end of that first set and then in the second.''

Wildcard entrant Alisa Kleybanova of Russia also advanced after her opponent retired.

At 5-5 in the first set, 10th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova of Slovak Republic, the recent Australian Open finalist, retired from the match with a gastrointestinal illness.

''I was really looking forward to playing this week in Doha,'' said Cibulkova, who was making her first tournament appearance since becoming the first Slovakian to reach a Grand Slam final.

''Unfortunately I became very sick today and suddenly did not feel well. I wanted to give it a try today and I did everything I could to try to play, but I could not continue.''

Karin Knapp, who led Italy to a 3-1 Fed Cup victory over the United States in Cleveland at the weekend, was told she had to be in Doha to play a first round match on Tuesday.

Knapp started her journey early Monday morning and after going from Cleveland to Washington DC, and then to Dubai, she landed in Doha on Tuesday in time to play her afternoon match.

Knapp played impressive tennis to defeat Caroline Garcia of France 6-4, 6-1 straight off the plane.

Four players who chose to skip playing the Fed Cup tie between the U.S. and Italy in order to get to Doha early - Sloane Stephens, Francesca Schiavone, Roberta Vinci and Flavia Pennetta - have all lost their first round matches.

Elsewhere, American Bethanie Mattek-Sands upset 15th-seeded Eugenie Bouchard of Canada, a recent Australian Open semifinalist, 7-5, 6-1.

Williams win left me drained, says Ivanovic

(1/21/14) Ana Ivanovic Tuesday said the thrill of beating Serena Williams had left her emotionally drained in her Australian Open quarter-final upset to Eugenie Bouchard -- but she still believes she's playing the best tennis of her life.

The Serb, who won the Auckland International en route to Melbourne Park, couldn't keep her win streak going against the emerging Canadian teen, who won 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 to set up a last-four clash with Li Na.

But the former world number one said she was encouraged by her early season resurgence and was eyeing a return to the top 10 after struggling to hit the big time since winning the 2008 French Open.

"If at the beginning of the (southern hemisphere) summer someone told me this would be the outcome of it, I would agree to it," said the 26-year-old, who was also hampered by injury niggles to both legs.

"I had some really good wins, some very emotional wins, and a lot of positive things came out of it.

"Obviously, it's very disappointing the way it ended. On a positive note, I feel like I played maybe the best tennis of my life.

"I just want to keep my head up and keep working hard, improve on the mistakes I made."

Ivanovic, who has admitted she struggled to deal with the fame and expectations that came with winning Roland Garros and becoming world number one, said beating Williams in the fourth round was a highlight.

But it left her drained ahead of the Bouchard clash. Ivanovic also came through a tough three-setter against Australian favourite Samantha Stosur in the previous round.

"It's very hard because when I came into tournament, I saw my draw. It was quite tough. I had to battle through my matches," she said.

"Also I had a few very emotional wins, so today I really felt I was a little bit flat. But, you know, it's just another learning experience.

"Even though I didn't play my best, today I felt I still had chances. I didn't quite use them well, wasn't aggressive enough, had way too many errors.

"But it's something to learn from and move on."

Ivanovic, whose bubbly personality and family links to Melbourne have made her popular in Australia, said she aimed to return to the top 10. She was ranked 14 ahead of the Australian Open.

"It would be amazing to get back into the top 10. That would be something I really want to push hard towards," she said.

"It's about working hard and being consistent, showing the game I've been showing over and over again.

"And I felt very, very proud and happy about the way I was playing, in Auckland and also here. I see a very bright year."

BOUCHARD IN FIRST GRAND SLAM SEMI WITH WIN OVER IVANOVIC

(1/21/14) Eugenie Bouchard is the first Canadian to reach a Grand Slam semifinal in 30 years after a stunning upset of Ana Ivanovic at the Australian Open.

Bouchard, the 30th seed, overcame Ivanovic 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 on Monday, making the Montreal native just the second Canadian to ever compete in a Grand Slam singles semi.

The last Canadian to go to the semis at a major was Toronto's Carling Bassett at the 1984 U.S. Open.

Bouchard's final-four spot is the first for a Canadian in Melbourne. The 19-year-old did it in just under two and a half hours.

"We had a tough match, she was playing well at times," said Bouchard. "When she did there was not much I could do. I kept fighting, played aggressive and stepped it up in the second and third sets.

"The most important thing is to enjoy it out there and that's what I've been doing. I tried to stay calm and go for my short, that's when I play my best."

Bouchard will play next against China's Li Na, the fourth seed, after the former French Open champion defeated Italy's Flavia Pennetta 6-2, 6-2.

"I played (Na) in Montreal in 2012, we had a tough battle but I was not so experienced back then," said Bouchard. "This time I'll be ready. She won't give me many chances so I'll have to take any that I get."

Bouchard's ranking should rise into the top 20 as a result of her success, according to WTA calculations. She also beat Ivanovic, a former world No. 1, last year in the second round of Wimbledon.

Bouchard stayed calm under pressure from an opponent who won the 2008 French Open but was treated repeatedly for thigh injuries, ending with seven breaks of serve and 47 winners.

Bouchard made a charging start with a love game and saved a pair of break points in the third game for 2-1. But she lost her way in the seventh game to begin what turned into a run of five consecutive breaks.

From 5-5 when she saved two break points Bouchard lost 8-of-9 points, six through unforced errors.

The experienced Ivanovic broke for 6-5 and finally claimed the set after 47 minutes on her fourth chance, with Bouchard saving a third set-winner on an Ivanovic error before netting a backhand.

In the second set, Bouchard kept calm as she began to make up ground, taking a 3-1 lead on a break. But Ivanovic showed her own fight in a 10-minute seventh game, which the Serb won to break back 4-5 after six deuces.

Ivanovic was then taken off court by a trainer for treatment on a thigh, with Bouchard forced to wait for more than seven minutes. As she waited, Bouchard's approximately dozen-strong, Aussie-born "Genie Army" chanted. They've presented her with a new stuffed animal doll after each match.

Bouchard came straight back when play resumed, breaking Ivanovic to love with a winner to the corner but again failed to hold the break, with Ivanovic coming back for 4-5 and serving to five-all.

Bouchard levelled at a set each as Ivanovic double-faulted twice in the final game to hand over a 7-5 result.

Bouchard began the third set with another double and went down a break 1-3, then reached 5-2 as she sent Ivanovic chasing helpless to the far corner of the court in pursuit of a winner.

She closed out victory with a forehand winner to the corner for a seventh break of serve.

Ivanovic ends Williams' streak in Australian upset

(1/19/14) Serena Williams' long winning streak came to an end in a stunning fourth-round defeat to Ana Ivanovic at the Australian Open on Sunday.

Ivanovic hadn't won a set in her four previous matches against Williams, who had been a hot favorite to win a sixth Australian Open crown for her 18th Grand Slam title. Williams later admitted she'd been bothered by a back problem in practice in recent days and considered pulling out of the tournament.

The No. 14-seeded Ivanovic set up the 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 win by attacking the best serve in women's tennis. She frequently stood well inside the baseline to receive, she took big swipes on her forehand and generally put Williams off her rhythm.

''It's not easy playing such a champion ... but she is also just a human,'' said Ivanovic, who beat Venus Williams in the final of the WTA event at Auckland, New Zealand earlier this month. ''I just went out there swinging at the ball.''

Williams hadn't lost a match since August, one of only four defeats in 2013, and came into the fourth round with 25 straight wins. It was her 70th match at Melbourne Park, a record in the Open era, and she'd already set the mark for most match wins ever at the Australian Open with her third-round victory.

''It wasn't the best,'' Williams said after being told her coach had released news of her back problem.

''Again, I don't want to blame anything. I feel like Ana deserves all the credit,'' Williams added. ''I feel she played unbelievable today. I think she went for her shots. It's not like I gave her the match.''

Williams has been almost perfect after winning the first set in Australian Open matches, losing only once in 52 previous matches after winning the opening set. That single previous defeat was against fellow American Sloane Stephens in the quarterfinals last year.

Ivanovic got on top early in the second set with some powerful forehand winners and never really let Williams back into the contest.

The 2008 French Open champion had 33 winners, including 20 on her forehand side.

Williams hit 22 winners but made 31 unforced errors, with most coming uncharacteristically on her backhand side.

''I made a tremendous amount of errors, shots ... I haven't missed since the '80s,'' Williams said.

Ivanovic advanced to a quarterfinal against the winner of Sunday's later match between Australian wild-card entry Casey Dellacqua and No. 30-seeded Eugenie Bouchard of Canada.

The other quarterfinal on this half will feature two women who'll turn 32 next month, with two-time finalist Li Na beating No. 22 Ekaterina Makarova 6-2, 6-0 and No. 28 Flavia Pennetta upsetting No. 9 Angelique Kerber 6-1, 4-6, 7-5.

Ivanovic beats hometown hope at Australian Open

(1/17/14) Former No. 1-ranked Ana Ivanovic ended Sam Stosur's hopes of again making a credible showing in her home Grand Slam when she beat the 2011 U.S. Open champion 6-7 (8), 6-4, 6-2 on Friday night in the third round of the Australian Open.

It was the 10th time in 12 attempts that Stosur has failed to advance past the third round at the Australian Open. She lost in the second round last year and the first round in 2012.

Stosur clinched the first set Friday on her seventh set point after coming back from a delay due to rain that forced the roof at Rod Laver Arena to be closed.

Ivanovic dominated the last two sets to set up a fourth-round match against top-ranked Serena Williams.

Australian Open women's first round draw

(1/10/14) First round draw for the women's singles at the Australian Open that begins in Melbourne on Monday (prefix denotes seeding):

1-Serena Williams (U.S) v Ashleigh Barty (Australia)

Vesna Dolonc (Serbia) v Lara Arruabarrena (Spain)

Pauline Parmentier (France) v Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic)

Qualifier v 31-Daniela Hantuchova (Slovakia)

17-Samantha Stosur (Australia) v Klara Zakapalova (Czech Republic)

Tsvetana Pironkova (Bulgaria) v Silvia Soler-Espinosa (Spain)

Annika Beck (Germany) v Petra Martic (Croatia)

Kiki Bertens (Netherlands) v 14-Ana Ivanovic (Serbia)

12-Roberta Vinci (Italy) v Zheng Jie (China)

Patricia Mayr-Achleitner (Austria) v Madison Keys (U.S.)

Casey Dellacqua (Australia) v Vera Zvonareva (Russia)

Laura Robson (Britain) v 18-Kirsten Flipkens (Belgium)

30-Eugenie Bouchard (Canada) v Tang Hao Chen (China)

Alison Van Uytvanck (Belgium) v Virgine Razzano (France)

Sachia Vickery (U.S.) v Lauren Davis (U.S.)

Julia Goerges (Germany) v 7-Sara Errani (Italy)

4-Li Na (China) v qualifier

Qualifier v Kimiko Date-Krumm (Japan)

Donna Vekic (Croatia) v qualifier

Julia Glushko (Israel) v 26-Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic)

22-Ekaterina Makarova (Russia) v Venus Williams (U.S.)

Anabel Medina-Garrigues (Spain) v qualifier

Shahar Peer (Israel) v Monica Niculescu (Romania)

Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (Croatia) v 15-Sabine Lisicki (Germany)

9-Angelique Kerber (Germany) v Jarmila Gajdosova (Australia)

Caroline Garcia (France) v qualifier

Dinah Pfizenmaier (Germany) v Yanina Wickmayer (Belgium)

Alison Riske (U.S.) v 23-Elena Vesnina (Russia)

28-Flavia Pennetta (Italy) v Alexandra Cadantu (Romania)

Monica Puig (Puerto Rica) v qualifier

Zhang Shuai (China) v Mona Barthel (Germany)

Luksika Kumkhum (Thailand) v 6-Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic)

8-Jelena Jankovic (Serbia) v Misaki Doi (Japan)

Nadiya Kichenok (Ukraine) v Ayumi Morita (Japan)

Kurumi Nara (Japan) v Peng Shuai (China)

Andrea Petkovic (Germany) v 32-Magdalena Rybarikova (Slovakia)

21-Sorana Cirstea (Romania) v Marina Erakovic (New Zealand)

Qualifier v Bojana Jovanovski (Serbia)

Lesia Tsurenko (Ukraine) v Varvara Lepchenko (U.S.)

Qualifier v 11-Simona Halep (Romania)

16-Carla Suarez Navarro (Spain) v Vania King (U.S.)

Galina Voskoboeva (Kazakhstan) v qualifier

Kristina Mladenovic (France) v Stefanie Voegele (Switzerland)

Francesca Schiavone (Italy) v 20-Dominika Cibulkova (Slovakia

25-Alize Cornet (France) v Polona Hercog (Slovenia)

Camila Giorgi (Italy) v Storm Sanders (Australia)

Paula Ormaechea (Argentina) v Karin Knapp (Italy)

Bethanie Mattek-Sands (U.S.) v 3-Maria Sharapova (Russia)

5-Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland) v Yulia Putintseva (Kazhakstan)

Olgo Gorovtsova (Belarus) v qualifier

Qualifier v Mandy Minella (Luxembourg)

Teliana Pereira (Brail) v 29-Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia)

24-Kaia Kanepi (Estonia) v Garbine Muguruza (Spain)

Timea Babos (Hungary) v Anna Schmiedlova (Slovakia)

Christina McHale (U.S.) v Chan Yung-Jan (Taiwan)

Lourdes Domingues Lino (Spain) v 10-Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark)

13-Sloane Stephens (U.S.) v Yaroslave Shedova (Kazakhstan)

Tadeja Majeric (Slovenia) v Ajla Tomljanovic (Croatia)

Olivia Rogowska (Australia) v Mariana Duque-Marino (Colombia)

Elina Svitolina (Ukraine) v 19-Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia)

27-Jamie Hampton (U.S.) v Jana Cepelova (Slovakia)

Chanelle Scheepers (South Africa) v Yvonne Meusburger (Austria)

Hseih Su-Wei (Taiwan) v Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (Czech Republic)

2-Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) v Johanna Larsson (Sweden)

VENUS FALLS TO IVANOVIC IN MATCHUP BETWEEN FORMER NO. 1S

(1/4/14) Venus Williams fell short in her attempt to capture her first title in more than a year, losing to Ana Ivanovic 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 in the final of the ASB Classic on Saturday.

Second-seeded Ivanovic looked headed for a routine victory in the matchup between former world No. 1s, winning the first set in 35 minutes and holding match point at 5-3 in the second. But Williams fought back to break Ivanovic twice to capture the second set and force a decider.

Williams opened the third set with two double faults to drop serve, however, and played under pressure the remainder of the match. She held two break points in the final game before Ivanovic won four straight points to close out the match.

Williams was playing in her first final since winning her 44th career title at Luxembourg in October 2012. The seven-time Grand Slam champion's ranking has fallen to 47th as she has battled injuries and Sjogren's syndrome, a fatigue-causing autoimmune disease, over the past two years.

Williams had an 8-1 record against Ivanovic heading into the match, with the Serb's only win coming at the 2008 Australian Open.

"She played so well. We've played a lot of great matches and this is another one," Williams said. "I just kept fighting despite the odds. She was playing so well."

Ivanovic, a former French Open champion, captured her 12th WTA singles title and her first since Bali in 2011.

"It was very tough," Ivanovic said. "Venus showed again what a great sport she is in what she's done today and over all these years.

Williams' sister Serena is playing later in the day against Victoria Azarenka in the final of the Brisbane International, another Australian Open tuneup event. Venus said the sisters made a pact before the finals that they would both bring home the trophies Saturday.

"I'll just be rooting for Serena tonight," she said. "I couldn't keep up my end of the bargain. I just played too tough of a player but hopefully she can make it at least one win today."

Simona Halep reaches Tournament of Champions final

(11/2/13) Top-seeded Simona Halep of Romania rallied from a set down to beat Ana Ivanovic 2-6, 6-1, 6-3 on Saturday and reach the final of the season-ending Tournament of Champions.

Halep, who has won five WTA titles this year, took a 2-1 lead in the opening set, but then surrendered to an inspired Ivanovic as the Serbian broke her serve twice.

Halep took full control in the second set thanks to her first serve ó only to then stumble in the third set.

Ivanovic, a two-time winner of the tournament, took a 3-0 lead before Halep fought back, winning six consecutive games.

Halep will play either Samantha Stosur or Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in Sundayís final.

Ivanovic tops Stosur at Tournament of Champs

(10/31/13) Ana Ivanovic overcame Sam Stosur 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 on Thursday for her second straight victory in the group stage at the season-ending WTA Tournament of Champions.

The two-time tournament winner played very aggressively to win the opening set in just 30 minutes. Stosur then broke Ivanovicís serve in the second set to go up 5-3. But Ivanovic got the early break at 2-0 in the third set and cruised from there. She will play Russiaís Elena Vesnina on Friday with both players still trying to secure a spot in the semifinals.

Vesnina outlasted Bulgariaís Tsvetana Pironkova 6-2, 4-6, 6-0 for her first victory at the tournament.

In Thursdayís last match, top-seeded Simona Halep of Romania swept past Ukraineís Elina Svitolina 6-1, 6-1, to finish the round-robin phase unbeaten. She had already qualified for Saturdayís semifinals.

Ivanovic, Halep win opening matches in Sofia

(10/29/13) Ana Ivanovic and Simona Halep cruised to straight-set victories on Tuesday in their opening round-robin matches at the season-ending Tournament of Champions.

Top-seeded Halep of Romania defeated Russiaís Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3, 6-3 in the Serdika group, while the other tournament favourite, Ivanovic, routed Bulgariaís Tsvetana Pironkova 6-0, 6-2 in the Sredets group.

In Tuesdayís third match, third-seeded Maria Kirilenko retired due to injury against Franceís Alize Cornet, and had to quit the tournament for a second consecutive year.

Cornet was leading 5-0 in the first when Kirilenko called for a medical time out, before later abandoning the competition.

Ukraineís Elina Svitolina will replace Kirilenko.

Stosur, Ivanovic into Kremlin Cup quarterfinals

(10/18/13) Former Grand Slam champions Ana Ivanovic and Samantha Stosur made the Kremlin Cup quarterfinals with straight-sets victories on Thursday to set up a rematch of last yearís semifinal.

The former top-ranked Ivanovic beat Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-1, while 2011 U.S. Open winner Stosur extended her winning streak to seven matches by beating Alize Cornet of France 6-4, 6-1 in the second round.

The fourth-seeded Ivanovic led 5-0 in the first set, traded early breaks in the second and rolled the rest of the way.

"It wasnít an easy match for me," Ivanovic said. "I really started well. But sheís a tough player and the second set was much tougher that the scoreline indicates. But I added power in the important moments and was very pleased to win."

On Sunday, former French Open champion Ivanovic lost to Angelique Kerber of Germany in the final in Linz ó her first appearance in a final since winning her 11th title in Bali in 2011.

Stosur, who won her second title of the season last Sunday in Osaka, won five consecutive games to win the first set and go 2-0 up in the second.

"I did what I had to do," Stosur said. "I made her play more balls when I had a chance to attack deep, so overall it was a pretty solid match."

Stosur rallied to beat Ivanovic in the semifinals last year before falling to Caroline Wozniacki in the final.

"It was a very tough match. She plays differently than lots of other girls. She has lot of kick, a lot of power," Ivanovic said of that match and Stosur. "This year we are meeting a little bit earlier and I really hope I can avenge that loss."

In the menís second round, veteran Ivo Karlovic landed 16 aces to eliminate fifth-seeded Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 6-3, 6-7 (10), 7-6 (6), while qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan defeated fourth-seeded Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine 6-4, 6-4.

Kerber victorious in Linz for 1st title of year

(10/13/13) Top-seeded Angelique Kerber won her first WTA title of the season and third overall by defeating two-time former champion Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 7-6 (6) at the Generali Ladies on Sunday.

It was Kerberís third final of the year after losing to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia in Monterrey in April and to Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic in Tokyo two weeks ago. The 10th-ranked German improved her record in finals to 3-5.

ďThis is an incredible feeling,Ē said Kerber, who qualified for the season-ending WTA Championships by reaching the semifinals this week. ďThis victory means a lot to me. I will go to the Ďmastersí with lots of confidence now.Ē

Kerber didnít initially intend to play in Linz but was given a late wildcard entry to replace Kvitova after the former Wimbledon champion pulled out with a back injury.

The former top-ranked Ivanovic, who won the event in 2008 and í10, appeared in her first final since winning her 11th career title in Bali, Indonesia, in November 2011.

ďIt was a real close final,Ē said Kerber, who missed three match points at 5-3 in the second set. ďI became a bit twitchy toward the end. My thoughts were elsewhere during these match points. Later I managed to focus on each point again.Ē

Ivanovic battled back from two breaks down to level at 4-4 in the opening set before dropping her serve for a third time.

The third-seeded Serb made another comeback in the second set. After denying Kerber victory at 5-3, she missed two set points while leading 6-5 and two more in the tiebreaker as the German reeled off four straight points to close out the victory.

ďI was too passive and didnít find my rhythm,Ē Ivanovic said. ďI got my chances but I couldnít take them.Ē

Ivanovic to face Kerber in Generali Ladies final

(10/12/13) Two-time former champion Ana Ivanovic defeated Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland 6-4, 6-4 Saturday to set up a final against top-seeded Angelique Kerber at the Generali Ladies.

Kerber overpowered Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 6-2, 6-0 to reach her second final of the season. The 10th-ranked German was beaten by Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic in the Tokyo final two weeks ago.

"Apart from the first set of my first match, everything is going very well this week," said Kerber, referring to her 0-6, 6-1, 6-2 first-round win over Monica Niculescu.

The former top-ranked Ivanovic won the event in 2008 and í10 and holds nine more WTA titles, but this will be the Serbís first final of the season.

Ivanovic is 3-1 against Kerber, but the German won their most recent match in straight sets in Tokyo last month. Kerber is eyeing her third career title.

"It wasnít an easy draw for me so I am happy to get though," said Ivanovic, who didnít concede a set in the previous rounds against Yanina Wickmayer, Francesca Schiavone and Dominika Cibulkova. "I am still looking for more consistency."

The opening set against Voegele went with serve until Ivanovic broke her 58th-ranked opponent in the ninth game. Ivanovic dropped serve early in the second set but dominated the remainder of the match.

Voegele upset second-seeded Sloane Stephens of the United States in the quarterfinals.

Earlier, Kerber used two breaks for a 3-2 lead in the opening set against Suarez Navarro and didnít concede a game afterward. Kerber dominated with strong ground strokes, forcing Suarez Navarro to a total of 16 baseline errors.

"I feel better with every round," Kerber said. "Today I was more aggressive than in my previous matches."

The fourth-seeded Suarez Navarro, who hadnít lost a set getting to the semifinals, defeated Kerber in the fourth round of the U.S. Open last month.

Kerber was given a late wildcard entry in Linz to replace Kvitova after the former Wimbledon champion pulled out with a back injury. By reaching the semifinals, Kerber secured the eighth and final spot in the season-ending WTA Championships in Istanbul.

Top-seeded Kerber, Ivanovic reach Linz semifinals

(10/11/13) Top-seeded Angelique Kerber defeated Patricia Mayr-Achleitner of Austria 6-3, 6-1 in the quarterfinals of the Generali Ladies on Friday to secure the final spot in the season-ending WTA Championships.

''Qualifying for Istanbul is a great achievement,'' Kerber said. ''It's the reward for my consistency, though I've had my ups and downs and a couple of injuries this year.''

The 10th-ranked German will play fourth-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain. Two-time former champion Ana Ivanovic will take on Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland in the other semifinal. The 58th-ranked Voegere advanced after upsetting second-seeded Sloane Stephens of the United States 6-7 (3), 6-4, 7-5.

The 12th-ranked Stephens lost the last five games of the final set. Stephens also lost a 5-2 lead in the opening set before converting her ninth set point in the tiebreaker. Voegele used one break to take the second set and won the third after trailing 5-2.

''To come back from 2-5 in the final set is incredible,'' said Voegele, who reached her third semifinal of the season. ''I told myself to keep on fighting, and I am proud that I was able to win.''

Ivanovic defeated seventh-seeded Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia 6-2, 6-4. The third-seeded Serb, who won the event in 2008 and '10, was 3-0 down in the second set before reeling off four straight games. Ivanovic is yet to reach a final this season.

Suarez Navarro beat fifth-seeded Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium 6-1, 6-3 to reach her fourth semifinal of the season and first on hardcourt. Suarez Navarro won the first eight points of the match and held serve throughout.

Kerber saved a break point while trailing Mayr-Achleitner 3-2 in the opening set. She then won nine straight games to lead 6-3, 5-0 before closing out the victory on her first match point.

Ivanovic beats Wickmayer in Linz

(10/8/13) Ana Ivanovic started her quest for a third Generali Ladies title by defeating Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium 6-2, 6-4 in the first round on Tuesday.

The third-ranked Ivanovic, who won the event in 2008 and '10, served five aces and broke Wickmayer, also a former winner in 2009, five times.

''The result looked easier than it really was,'' Ivanovic said. ''She made me work hard, especially in the second set.''

Ivanovic next plays another former French Open champion, Francesca Schiavone.

Earlier, Camila Giorgi upset last year's finalist Julia Goerges 6-2, 6-3.

The 105th-ranked Giorgi, who won three qualifying matches to reach the main draw, avoided break points and converted the second match point on her serve.

''It was a good match,'' said the Italian, who broke Goerges three times. ''I feel well on these hardcourts and I will try to keep going.''

In the second round, Giorgi faces fifth-seeded Kirsten Flipkens, who rallied to beat 17-year-old Donna Vekic 2-6, 6-2, 6-2.

Home favorite Li advances in China, Ivanovic out

(10/3/13) Home favorite Li Na overcame Germany's Sabine Lisicki 7-5 6-4 at the China Open on Wednesday to set up a quarter-final showdown with former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.

The Czech, who won the Japan Open last weekend, overcame Italian fifth seed Sara Errani 6-4 6-7(3) 6-3 in their third round clash at the prestigious $5 million Beijing tournament.

World number four Agnieszka Radwanska was one of a number of high profile women to win through in second round action on the hard courts at the National Tennis Centre as the Pole dispatched promising American Madison Keys 6-3 6-2.

Radwanksa will next face Slovenian wildcard Polona Hercog, who stunned former world number one Ana Ivanovic 6-4 6-4 in the day's only upset.

"It was a big challenge for me to go out there on a big court and play against Ana Ivanovic, and I'm just really happy the way it turned out," Hercog told the WTA Tour. "It's probably one of the biggest victories for me."

Germany's Andrea Petkovic provided the upset of the first round when she ousted Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka and the Bosnia-born world number 43 followed that up with a second round win over another grand slam champion on Wednesday.

Petkovic again needed to go the distance as she beat former French and U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 4-6 6-4 6-1.

"This is the first tournament that I've been able to really keep up my intensity and keep up my focus. I think I've played two good matches," Petkovic said after setting up a clash with Czech Lucie Safarova in the third round.

"Personally it's really important to see that I can still beat the players on the top level, two past grand slam champions. It's just a big boost for my confidence, no matter what happens now in the future."

The victories though were only warm-up acts for the home fans keen to see their compatriot Li in action.

Li, the first Asian to win a grand slam singles title when she triumphed at the 2011 French Open, had the crowd happy as she scored a break in her 13th seeded opponent's first service game.

The world number five ran in to trouble though as she attempted to serve out the set as Lizicki broke back to level at 5-5 only for Li to break again and win it 7-5.

Another break came midway through the second set as Li wrapped it up 6-4 despite a match total of seven double faults.

That serving issue will need to be resolved if she is to find a way past in-form Kvitova.

World number one Serena Williams is back in action on Thursday when she takes on Maria Kirilenko in the third round.

Azarenka rallies to 3-set US Open win vs Ivanovic

(9/3/13) No. 2 Victoria Azarenka rallied from a set down for the second straight match, beating Ana Ivanovic to return to the U.S. Open quarterfinals.

The 2012 runner-up at Flushing Meadows needed 2 hours, 10 minutes to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Tuesday.

Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open champ, was whipping forehand winners in the first set. Then her serve deserted her, as it has before. The 13th-seeded Serb was broken in nine of her last 11 service games.

But Azarenka wasn't much better, with nine double-faults of her own.

She got into it with the chair umpire for the second straight match, this time over Ivanovic being awarded a winner, instead of the two replaying the point, after a late out call was overturned in the first set.

Unable to serve out the match at 5-3 in the third set, Azarenka finally clinched the victory on her fourth match point. She'll face unseeded Daniela Hantuchova, who played her fourth-round match Monday.

Azarenka's meeting with Ivanovic was pushed back a day by rain, and she looked sluggish after a late-morning start. Azarenka didn't make her first winner until the sixth game.

''I was, like, sleeping,'' Azarenka said in an on-court interview.

''I really had to wake up in the second set and try to fight for points,'' she added.

It wasn't pretty: There were five straight breaks to open the second set. After Ivanovic double-faulted on break point for the second straight service game, Azarenka finally held to take a 4-2 lead.

Ivanovic had eight double-faults.

''The second set, I felt I was more determined, more focused,'' Azarenka said.

The start of the third set was much of the same. Azarenka held in the first game, then there were four straight breaks.

Azarenka had two match points while serving at 5-3 but wasted both with backhand errors.

''The match points were pretty bad,'' she said. ''I really didn't go for my shots. I kept waiting for a mistake, and obviously it didn't happen.''

But the way Ivanovic was serving, Azarenka was still in prime position to close out the match, and sure enough, she broke Ivanovic again in the next game to advance.

''This was the big difference, because I felt like I could break her, but it was very frustrating that I was losing my serve constantly,'' Ivanovic said.

Ivanovic plays with heavy heart, advances at U.S. Open

(8/28/13) Former world number one Ana Ivanovic made a strong start at the U.S. Open on Tuesday but said she was playing with a heavy heart after hearing about the drowning death of a childhood friend back home in Serbia.

Vukasin Ziramov, 25, died last week after jumping off a bridge into a river while on an outing with friends in Senta.

"It's been very sad news," Ivanovic, the 13th seed at Flushing Meadows, told reporters after her 6-2 6-0 rout of Anna Tatishvili of Georgia.

"It was very hard because it was almost like my relative. We grew up, and I knew him since we were kids. It's very, very sad."

On the court, Ivanovic showed the positive effects of working with a new Serbian conditioning and coaching team she took on after Wimbledon as she works her way back after a disappointing stretch in her career.

The 25-year-old Serb, who rose to the top ranking in women's tennis in 2008 after winning the French Open, had dropped to 22 in the rankings in 2011.

Ivanovic ranked 15th heading to Flushing Meadows.

"I was playing really well and I had a few tough losses," Ivanovic said about a hardcourt build-up that included a three-set loss to Victoria Azarenka in Carlsbad, a third-set tiebreaker loss to China's Li Na in Toronto and a three-set loss France's Alize Cornet in Cincinnati.

"I'm very confident with the game and the way I was playing," she said, adding she was concentrating on conditioning and making her serve and forehand more dominant.

Ivanovic said she was driven to return to the upper echelon of the game.

"It's my only goal I have at the moment," she said. "I really want to get back to the top of the game. I believe I have qualities to do so.

"Once you're in the top, you don't really feel satisfied with being in the top 15. You really want to aim and push yourself. That's where I am at. I really want to put my head down and work hard and try to maximize my potential."

Women's seeds for U.S. Open

(8/20/13) Seedings for the 2013 U.S. Open women's singles tournament, to be played from Aug. 26-Sept. 9 at Flushing Meadows:

1. Serena Williams, United States

2. Victoria Azarenka, Belarus

3. Maria Sharapova, Russia

4. Agnieszka Radwanska, Poland

5. Sara Errani, Italy

6. Li Na, China

7. Caroline Wozniacki, Denmark

8. Petra Kvitova, Czech Republic

9. Angelique Kerber, Germany

10. Jelena Jankovic, Serbia

11. Roberta Vinci, Italy

12. Samantha Stosur, Australia

13. Kirsten Flipkens, Belgium

14. Ana Ivanovic, Serbia

15. Maria Kirilenko, Russia

16. Sloane Stephens, United States

17. Sabine Lisicki, Germany

18. Dominika Cibulkova, Slovakia

19. Carla Suarez Navarro, Spain

20. Sorana Cirstea, Romania

21. Nadia Petrova, Russia

22. Simona Halep, Romania

23. Elena Vesnina, Russia

24. Jamie Hampton, United States

25. Ekaterina Makarova, Russia

26. Kaia Kanepi, Estonia

27. Alize Cornet, France

28. Svetlana Kuznetsova, Russia

29. Mona Barthel, Germany

30. Magdalena Rybarikova, Slovakia

31. Laura Robson, Great Britain

32. Klara Zakopalova, Czech Republic

Rogers Cup: Kirilenko, Ivanovic open with wins

(8/6/13) No. 11 seed Maria Kirilenko of Russia and 16th-seeded Serb Ana Ivanovic won in straight sets at the Rogers Cup womenís tennis tournament Tuesday.

Kirilenko cruised by qualifier Petra Martic of Croatia 6-2, 6-1 while Ivonovic defeated Su-Wei Hsieh of Taiwan, 6-1, 6-2 to advance to the second round.

In other early matches, Ekaterina Makarova of Russia beat Anastasia Rodionova of Australia 6-1, 7-5 while American qualifier Lauren Davis edged Svetlana Kuznetsova 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 and Franceís Alize Cornet beat Russiaís Elena Vesnina 6-3, 6-3.

Later Tuesday, Venus Williams faces Kristen Flipkens of Belgium while Sharon Fichman and Stephanie Dubois face off in an all-Canadian match and rising star Eugenie Bouchard of Montreal plays Alisa Kleybanova of Russia.

Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams Top Forbes' List of Highest-Paid Female Athletes

(8/5/13) Tennis anyone?

After all, playing it can be pretty profitable.

Just ask seven of the 10 women who just made Forbes' list of the world's highest-paid female athletes.

Taking the top spot is Maria Sharapova, who not only won the French Open recently, but managed to pull in $29 million over the past year.

Felllow tennis stars Serena Williams, Li Na and Victoria Azarenka placed second, third and fourth with $20.5 million, $18.2 million and $15.7 milliion respectively.

Danica Patrick, meanwhile, cruised into the fifth position. The NASCAR racer managed to speed off with $15 million over the course of the last 12 months.

South Korean figure skater Kim Yuna ($14 million) came in sixth, followed by another trio of tennis acesóCaroline Wozniacki ($13.6 million), Agnieszka Radwanska ($7.4 million), Ana Ivanovic ($7 million).

Golfer Paula Creamer with $5.5 million in earnings rounded out the top 10.

Figures were based on combining one's prize money along with endorsements.

Azaranka tops Ivanovic to reach Carlsbad finals

(8/4/13) Top-seeded Victoria Azaranka beat seventh-seeded Ana Ivanovic 6-0, 4-6, 6-3 on Saturday to advance to the final in the Southern California Open.

Azarenka, ranked No. 3, won a sloppy match as both players committed more unforced errors than hit winners. The two-time Australian Open champ will face the winner of the late match between wild-card entrant Virginie Razzano of France and fifth-seeded Sam Stosur of Australia.

The win will propel Azarenka, the former world No. 1, past Maria Sharapova of Russia into the No. 2 slot when the new rankings come out Monday.

Azarenka, from Belarus and playing her first event since withdrawing from Wimbledon because of a right knee injury, scored the first of her two service breaks of the final set to take a 3-2 lead. When Ivanovic, from Serbia, had four unforced errors in the ninth game, including a backhand into the net on the final point, Azarenka secured another break for the win.

The first set wasnít as lopsided as the score indicated. Each of the first four games were long and drawn out. But after Azarenka broke the Serbís serve at love in the fifth game, she quickly held serve to win the first set.

Ivanovic opened the second set by holding her serve, a big improvement from the first set when she made just 43 per cent of her serves and won only 53 per cent of her first serve points.

Ivanovic clearly seemed to gain confidence as she won the first three games and took a 4-1 lead. But Azarenka then rolled off the next three games to tie the set before Ivanovic closed it out by holding serve, then breaking Azarenkaís serve at love to force a third set.

Ivanovic tops Cibulkova at Carlsbad

(7/31/13) Ana Ivanovic advanced to the second round of the Southern California Open on Wednesday, beating defending champion Dominika Cibulkova 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

The seventh-seeded Ivanovic, from Serbia, won nine of the final 11 games. She used a strong ground game to overpower Cibulkova, the Slovak player coming off a victory Sunday in the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford.

''As soon as the draw came out I thought it was one of the toughest first-round matches, especially being a seeded player,'' said Ivanovic, the former top-ranked singles player and 2008 French Open champ. ''But I was really happy with my performance. This kind of win obviously means a lot to me.''

Top-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus beat Italy's Francesca Schiavone 6-2, 6-3 in the second round. Azarenka was playing her first match since withdrawing from her second-round match at Wimbledon because of knee and hip injuries.

''Just going on the court and competing was so much joy for me,'' Azarenka said. ''I was really playing and happy to be doing something I was training for. . . . I don't think about it (injuries).''

Former world No. 1 Martina Hingis was scheduled to come out of retirement for the second time Wednesday night, teaming with Daniela Hantuchova in a doubles match. It will be Hingis' first WTA Tour match since September 2007. The five-time Grand Slam singles champion is scheduled to play doubles with Hantuchova in four tournaments, including the U.S. Open.

Ivanovic, who fired coach Nigel Sears after her second-round loss at Wimbledon, said she has been working on ''being consistent and also working on that confidence part. I think it plays a big role. I felt like my game has been there at times but not my confidence.''

Third-seeded Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic and fourth-seeded Roberta Vinci of Italy had few problems in winning their opening matches after receiving first-round byes.

Kvitova advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over British teenager Laura Robson. The victory avenged Kvitova's second-round loss to Robson at the Australian Open in January.

Vinci beat American Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-4.

Canadian teen Bouchard beats 12th-seeded Ivanovic

(6/26/13) Canadian teenager Eugenie Bouchard picked up the biggest victory of her career at Wimbledon on Wednesday, beating 12th-seeded Ana Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open champion, 6-3, 6-3 to reach the third round.

The 66th-ranked Bouchard, who is 19, won the girls' title at the All England Club a year ago.

Playing in only her second Grand Slam tournament, Bouchard wound up on Centre Court on Wednesday, because her match against Ivanovic was moved there after second-seeded Victoria Azarenka withdrew with a knee injury, leaving a gap in the schedule.

Already leading 5-3 in the first set, Bouchard took 12 of 13 points to close that set and go up a break in the second.

In eight previous Wimbledon appearances, Ivanovic only once had failed to reach the third round.

Women's seeds for Wimbledon

(6/19/13) Seed Player Country World Rank
1. Serena Williams United States 1.
2. Victoria Azarenka Belarus 2.
3. Maria Sharapova Russia 3.
4. Agnieszka Radwanska Poland 4.
5. Sara Errani Italy 5.
6. Li Na China 6.
7. Angelique Kerber Germany 7.
8. Petra Kvitova Czech Republic 8.
9. Caroline Wozniacki Denmark 9.
10. Maria Kirilenko Russia 10.
11. Roberta Vinci Italy 11.
12. Ana Ivanovic Serbia 12.
13. Nadia Petrova Russia 13.
14. Samantha Stosur Australia 14.
15. Marion Bartoli France 15.
16. Jelena Jankovic Serbia 16.
17. Sloane Stephens United States 17.
18. Dominika Cibulkova Slovakia 18.
19. Carla Suarez Navarro Spain 19.
20. Kirsten Flipkens Belgium 20.
21. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova Russia 21.
22. Sorana Cirstea Romania 22.
23. Sabine Lisicki Germany 23.
24. Peng Shuai China 24.
25. Ekaterina Makarova Russia 25.
26. Varvara Lepchenko United States 27.
27. Lucie Safarova Czech Republic 28.
28. Tamira Paszek Austria 29.
29 Alize Cornet France 30.
30. Mona Barthel Germany 31.
31. Romina Oprandi Switzerland 32.
32. Klara Zakopalova Czech Republic 33.

Vesnina upsets Ivanovic in Wimbledon warm-up

(6/17/13) Elena Vesnina beat seventh-seeded Ana Ivanovic of Serbia 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 on Monday in the first round of the grass-court Aegon International.

Earlier, 2011 champion Marion Bartoli of France beat Italy's Flavia Pennetta 6-3, 6-2 to set up a possible second-round meeting with second-seeded Li Na in the Wimbledon warm-up event.

Down a break in the first set, Bartoli responded by breaking Pennetta twice and serving out the set.

After an exchange of breaks to begin the second set, Bartoli swept five of the next six games.

I'm more complete than when I won title, says Ivanovic

(6/2/13) Ana Ivanovic says she is a more complete player than when she won the French Open title in 2008 but lacks the confidence of her younger self.

The Serbian exited this year's competition at the hands of fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska on Sunday and looked a long way short of the form she showed to lift the title as she meekly succumbed 6-2 6-4.

"I'm definitely more complete," she said when asked if she was better now than when she lifted the trophy.

"It's obviously different competition. I think at the time I had probably more confidence at a higher level.

"That's something that I put myself in a position to play against these top players. I just have to break that through... I really want to make that step forward."

Since winning the French Open crown and rising to the top of the rankings that year, Ivanovic, who became a poster girl for the WTA Tour, has struggled to compete at the very top level.

She has reached only one grand slam quarter-final in the last five years, at the U.S. Open in 2012, and has not been past the fourth round at Roland Garros since claiming the Suzanne Lenglen cup.

She came into the match having dropped only the one set in her opening three encounters, but was second best in almost every department as she lost to a player against whom she now has a 7-3 losing record.

"I actually think we were closer than maybe the score indicates," the current world number 14 added. "I think it was maybe my serve. If you lose yours against her you have to win points over and over again.

"There is a point where it gets frustrating and you have to stick with it. At some moments I didn't, and that made a big difference today."

Radwanska through to French Open quarterfinals

(6/2/13) Fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska beat 2008 champion Ana Ivanovic of Serbia 6-2, 6-4 on Sunday to reach the French Open quarterfinals.

The Pole converted five of her nine break-point opportunities to reach the last eight at Roland Garros for the first time.

The 14th-seeded Ivanovic has now lost seven straight matches to Radwanska, who next plays last year's runner-up, Sara Errani of Italy.

The fifth-seeded Errani earlier rallied to win 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 against 20th-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain.

Shaky Ivanovic wins in 3 sets at French Open

(5/27/13) Even if Ana Ivanovic owns a French Open championship and once was ranked No. 1, she still finds herself feeling jitters during matches.

The Serbian overcame an admittedly inconsistent performance in a chilly start Sunday at Roland Garros before holding on to beat 108th-ranked Petra Martic of Croatia 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 to reach the second round at a tournament she won in 2008.

''I really was a little nervous,'' the 14th-seeded Ivanovic acknowledged. ''I lost it a little bit for a few points.''

She began the match playing rather impressively, while wearing a long-sleeved shirt to brace herself against a temperature that dipped to 55 degrees (13 Celsius).

But she faltered in the second set, then had trouble closing out Martic before finally converting her fifth match point.

''Obviously it was a bit of up-and-down game today. I started really well, played very aggressive. And in the second set, I kind of let her back in a little bit,'' Ivanovic explained. ''She started serving better, going for her shots and mixing up a lot of drop shots and slices.''

When Ivanovic served for the match the first time, ahead 5-1 in the second set, she wasted two match points and got broken.

After Martic held to get within 5-3, Ivanovic again let match points slide while trying to serve it out, but this time managed to get the job done.

Still, there were some doubts in her mind.

''Well, it's hard. It's a battle inside, but I really know what I have to do,'' Ivanovic said. ''That's what I tried to do, and go for my shots even when my back was against the wall. Even (if) there was some moments when I didn't feel like going for it. I knew I had to step up and be aggressive and put pressure on her. And I'm just very happy to close that match.''

Martic showed she can be tough on red clay by knocking out eighth-seeded Marion Bartoli en route to reaching the fourth round at the French Open last year.

But Martic's bona fides are nothing compared to those of Ivanovic, who in addition to her Grand Slam title also was the runner-up in Paris in 2007.

Those successful trips to Roland Garros in consecutive years don't really seem as they though happened all that long ago to Ivanovic.

''It feels like yesterday,'' she said. ''Just scary how fast five years go by.''

French Open women's singles first round draw

(5/25/13) Draw for the French Open women's singles first round (prefix number denotes seeding):

1-Serena Williams (U.S.) v Anna Tatishvili (Georgia)

Qualifier v Caroline Garcia (France)

Monica Niculescu (Romania) v Johanna Larsson (Sweden)

Kiki Bertens (Netherlands) v 26-Sorana Cirstea (Romania)

19-Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia) v Andrea Hlavackova (Czech Republic)

Petra Cetkovska (Czech Republic) v Olga Pushkova (Russia)

Qualifier v Qualifier

Stephanie Foretz-Gacon (France) v 15-Roberta Vinci (Italy)

10-Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark) v Laura Robson (Britain)

Qualifier v Bojana Jovanovski (Serbia)

Pauline Parmentier (France) v Magdalena Rybarikova (Slovakia)

Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia) v 22-Ekaterina Makarova (Russia)

29-Varvara Lepchenko (U.S.) v Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (Croatia)

Romina Oprandi (Switzerland) v Elina Svitolina (Ukraine)

Jana Cepelova (Slovakia) v Christina McHale (U.S.)

Mona Barthel (Germany) v 8-Angelique Kerber (Germany)

4-Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland) v Shahar Peer (Israel)

Mallory Burdette (U.S.) v Donna Vekic (Croatia)

Qualifier v Mandy Minella (Luxembourg)

Urszula Radwanska (Poland) v 30-Venus Williams (U.S.)

24-Julia Goerges (Germany) v Qualifier

Virginie Razzano (France) v Claire Feuerstein (France)

Chanelle Scheepers (South Africa) v Mathilde Johansson (France)

Petra Martic (Croatia) v 14-Ana Ivanovic (Serbia)

11-Nadia Petrova (Russia) v Monica Puig (Puerto Rico)

Madison Keys (U.S.) v Misaki Doi (Japan)

Irena Pavlovic (France) v Shelby Rogers (U.S.)

Simona Halep (Romania) v 20-Carla Suarez Navarro (Spain)

32-Sabine Lisicki (Germany) v Sofia Arvidsson (Sweden)

Maria-Teresa Torro Flores (Spain) v Qualifier

Ayumi Morita (Japan) v Yulia Putintseva (Kazakhstan)

Arantxa Rus (Netherlands) v 5-Sara Errani (Italy)

16-Li Na (China) v Annabel Medina-Garrigues (Spain)

Bethanie Mattek-Sands (U.S.) v Lourdes Dominguez Lino (Spain)

Tatjana Maria (Germany) v Qualifier

Coco Vandeweghe (U.S.) v 27-Yaroslava Shvedova (Kazakhstan)

23-Klara Zakopalova (Czech Republic) v Kaia Kanepi (Estonia)

Stefanie Voegele (Switzerland) v Heather Watson (Britain)

Ashleigh Barty (Australia) v Lucie Hradecka (Czech Republic)

Nina Bratchikova (Portugal) v 12-Maria Kirilenko (Russia)

13-Marion Bartoli (France) v Olga Govortsova (Belarus)

Kristyna Pliskova (Czech Republic) v Qualifier

Melinda Czink (Hungary) v Francesca Schiavone (Italy)

Flavia Pennetta (Italy) v 21-Kirsten Flipkens (Belgium)

31-Alize Cornet (France) v Maria Joao Koehler (Portugal)

Irina-Camelia Begu (Romania) v Silvia Soler-Espinosa (Spain)

Qualifier v Annika Beck (Germany)

Elena Vesnina (Russia) v 3-Victoria Azarenka (Belarus)

7-Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic) v Aravane Rezai (France)

Peng Shuai (China) v Camila Giorgi (Italy)

Qualifier v Yanina Wickmayer (Belgium)

Jamie Hampton (U.S) v 25-Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic)

18-Jelena Jankovic (Serbia) v Daniela Hantuchova (Slovakia)

Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic) v Garbine Muguruza (Spain)

Kristina Mladenovic (France) v Lauren Davis (U.S.)

Kimiko Date-Krumm (Japan) v 9-Samantha Stosur (Australia)

16-Dominika Cibulkova (Slovakia) v Lesia Tsurenko (Ukraine)

Marina Erakovic (New Zealand) v Elena Baltacha (Britain)

Qualifier v Alexandra Cadantu (Romania)

Karin Knapp (Italy) v 17-Sloane Stephens (U.S.)

28-Tamira Paszek (Austria) v Melanie Oudin (U.S.)

Zheng Jie (China) v Vesna Dolonc (Serbia)

Eugenie Bouchard (Canada) v Tsvetana Pironkova (Bulgaria)

Hsieh Su-Wei (Taiwan) v 2-Maria Sharapova (Russia)

Sharapova edges Ivanovic to reach Stuttgart semis

(4/26/13) Top-seeded Maria Sharapova got through another tough test in outlasting Ana Ivanovic 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 on Friday to advance to the semifinals of the Porsche Grand Prix.

Sharapova, the defending champion, needed more than 3 hours to overcome Lucie Safarova a day earlier. This one was an hour shorter but perhaps just as intense.

''It was hard to get my body going, I needed some time to warm up a little,'' Sharapova said. ''Another tough one.''

Sharapova used this indoor clay-court tournament last year to warm up for the French Open, where she won the title.

Against Ivanovic, another former No. 1 and the 2008 French Open champion, Sharapova squandered a 4-1 lead in the third set before breaking serve again and serving out the match on her second match point.

''Ana has a much bigger game, a big forehand, I really had to push myself through the end, I am glad I got through,'' the Russian said.

Bethanie Mattek-Sands, an American qualifier, beat Sabine Lisicki of Germany 6-4, 6-2, a day after upsetting fourth-seeded Sara Errani in a match that lasted past 1:30 a.m.

Sharapova will next play third-seeded Angelique Kerber, who defeated Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan 6-3, 7-6 (2) to reach her third semifinal of the season.

Germany's No. 1 player is looking for her first title of the year after finishing runner-up in Monterrey. She reached the semis in Stuttgart for the first time.

Shvedova trailed 4-1 before breaking back. But she dropped her serve again with two errors from the baseline. The two traded breaks in the first three games of the second before Kerber opened a 3-1 lead, only to see Shvedova pull level at 3-3. Kerber raced to a decisive 5-1 lead in the tiebreaker.

''I played my game and I was aggressive,'' Kerber said.

Ivanovic had one of her seven double-faults to give Sharapova a break point and the Russian attacked the Serb's second serve to force her into an error for a 6-5 lead. Sharapova then served out the first set.

Sharapova then produced one of her six double-faults to give Ivanovic the second set.

The Russian started strongly in the third, before Ivanovic pulled level at 4-4.

''I felt I needed to give myself a little energy after the second set,'' Sharapova said.

Ivanovic failed to build on her momentum and dropped her serve in the ninth game, before Sharapova clinched the match when Ivanovic hit a forehand wide.

''It's frustrating, I feel I was so close,'' the Serb said. ''It was very close. A few points that could have gone either way decided the match.''

''Still, I feel I played high-quality tennis, I feel I can challenge anyone on this surface,'' Ivanovic said.

Ivanovic beats Petkovic in 1st round in Stuttgart

(4/23/13) Ana Ivanovic defeated Andrea Petkovic 6-3, 6-2 Tuesday in the first round of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.

Ivanovic needed just 72 minutes to dispatch the 25-year-old Petkovic, who is struggling to regain her form after injuries.

The eighth-seeded Nadia Petrova of Russia avoided an upset by beating 21-year-old Dinah Pfizenmaier of Germany 7-6 (2), 6-4. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia defeated another Russian, Elena Vesnina, 6-0, 6-4.

Sabine Lisicki will face Nastassja Burnett in the late match.

Ivanovic reaches Dubai second round, Stephens bows out

(2/18/13) Former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3 7-6 in the first round of the Dubai tennis championships on Monday while U.S, teenager Sloane Stephens was eliminated in three sets to cap a miserable debut trip to the Gulf.

Ivanovic's career has dipped since she won the French title in 2008, sinking from number one in the world rankings to 13th, and she was far from flawless on the floodlit Dubai court.

The Serb slipped from 4-0 up in the second set to 6-6 as her first serve percentage plunged, before winning the subsequent tiebreak 7-5.

She was still too strong for 21-year-old Pavlyuchenkova, breaking in the first game and remaining largely in control thereafter, with her Russian opponent's forehand too often found wanting to really put her higher-ranked adversary in trouble.

"I really want to, you know, break into the top 10 again," Ivanovic told reporters. "I feel I have the game, but I just haven't been consistent enough, especially against the top players."

Ivanovic broke for a second time to go 4-1 up in the first set, a fierce cross-court return earning a break point she converted after Pavlyuchenkova thumped a forehand into the net.

Yet Ivanovic immediately lost her own serve to love as the world number 29 closed to 4-3 but the 25-year-old roused herself again, dropping only two points in the next two games as Pavlyuchenkova double-faulted to gift her the first set.

The Serb blamed her second set slump on a troublesome shoulder.

"I have been struggling for weeks now," Ivanovic said. "I was kind of afraid to hit the ball because it was getting a bit sore, but I was just so happy to win in two (sets) so I can regenerate more and try to be ready for the next one."

She will now play Czech Petra Kvitova or Daniela Hantuchova in the second round.

STEPHENS STRUGGLES AGAIN

Stephens, who suffered a second-round exit in last week's Qatar Open, was beaten 5-7 6-3 6-2 by Romania's Sorana Cirstea and the world number 16 said she had found it tough going in her first trip to the Gulf.

"It's two tournaments in a place I have never been before, a very different situation for me," Stephens said. "Some days you're going to be on court and it's not just going to turn out the way you want. Today I didn't play my best tennis, and last week I didn't play my best tennis."

The 19-year-old, who defeated newly installed world number one Serena Williams on the way to reaching the semi-finals of the Australian Open in January, started confidently in front of a sparse Dubai crowd.

She broke in the first set to take a 5-4 lead, but then showed her inexperience, serving a double-fault on set point to allow Cirstea to make it 5-5.

The world's top-ranked teenager immediately broke again as she went on to claim the first set.

Stephens then took a 3-1 second-set lead, winning nine points in a row, but Cirstea fought back by taking five straight games to square the match.

Cirstea raced through the deciding set in 33 minutes, as the young American's serve collapsed, losing five of her last six service games.

Top seeds Williams and Victoria Azarenka, the world number one and two, are not due on court until Wednesday. Azarenka took three sets to defeat the 15-times Grand Slam winner in Sunday's Qatar Open final.

Ivanovic eases through to 2nd round of Qatar

(2/11/13) Former No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki and Ana Ivanovic eased into the second round of the Qatar Open with straight-set victories Monday.

The 10th-ranked Wozniacki beat qualifier Mervana Jugic-Salkic of Bosniz-Herzegovina 6-1, 6-2. The Dane had a poor start, losing her serve in the first game. But she broke right back and then cruised from there, wrapping up the win in just over an hour.

The 13th-ranked Ivanovic beat Tamira Paszek 6-1, 6-2. Ivanovic broke the 26th-ranked Austrian twice in the first set, then saved three break points to go up 4-2 in the second. She broke Paszek again to make it 5-2 and sealed the victory when the Austrian hit a return long.

Morita knocks out top-seeded Ivanovic in Thailand

(1/31/13) Ayumi Morita of Japan knocked top-seed Ana Ivanovic out of the Pattaya Open on Thursday, beating the Serb 6-3, 5-7, 6-3.

After Wednesday was rained out, Morita completed her win over Ivanovic in a match suspended in the third set Tuesday.

Morita returned later to beat Kimiko Date-Krumm 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 for a place in the quarterfinals.

Defending champion Daniela Hantuchova retired from her match, while trailing Nina Bratchikova of Russia 6-2, 3-0 in the second round.

Maria Kirilenko, Sorana Cirstea, Sabine Lisicki, Elena Vesnina, Anastasija Sevastova and Marina Erakovic also reached the quarterfinals.

Top seed Ivanovic saved by rain delay in Pattaya

(1/29/13) Top-seeded Ana Ivanovic was saved by the rain Tuesday when the last set of her first-round match with Japan's Ayumi Morita was suspended at the Pattaya Open.

Morita was leading 6-3, 5-7, 2-1 when rain stopped play. The match resumes Wednesday.

Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open champion, could not get her serve going in the first set when she double-faulted five times, but the Serb fought hard to clinch the second set.

Seventh-seeded Elena Vesnina from Russia was also stalled while leading Greek veteran Eleni Daniilidou 6-3, 1-0.

All of the other seeded players in action won in straight sets: No. 2 Maria Kirilenko of Russia, No. 4 Sorana Cirstea of Romania, No. 5 Sabine Lisicki of Germany and No. 8 Heather Watson of Britain.

Radwanska storms past Ivanovic to extend streak

(1/20/13) Agnieszka Radwanska continued her perfect start to the year with a clinical demolition of Ana Ivanovic to set up a rematch with Li Na in the quarter-finals after beating the Chinese in Sydney 10 days ago.

Four of the top 10 women have already packed their bags at Melbourne Park while fourth seed Radwanska has not dropped a set in her 13 straight victories this year.

"Well, what can I say? I'm just very happy that I can play at a very high level," she told reporters after her 70-minute rout of the former world number one. "I hope I can keep going three more."

The 23-year-old Pole joked before the match that she was not superstitious about the number 13 and needed precious little luck in her 6-2 6-4 rout of the former world number one.

Radwanska made just four unforced errors to the wayward Serbian's 34 and saved five break points in the second set before sealing victory with her seventh ace after 70 minutes.

Radwanska, who stormed to victory in Auckland and Sydney in the leadup to the tournament, has set her heart on becoming Poland's first grand slam winner and came within a set of her fulfilling her dream at Wimbledon against Serena Williams.

Her frenetic all-court game on a cool summer evening at Rod Laver Arena left Ivanovic in little doubt the Pole could go all the way at Melbourne Park.

"I think she definitely can," the former French Open champion told reporters.

"She's a player, it's no secret, who doesn't make too many winners, but she has good hands. She can really get the opponents to feel a little awkward make you go for too much.

"That's her strength."

Radwanska edged sixth seed Li in two tight sets at the Sydney semi-final but the 2011 finalist is brimful of confidence after easing past her fourth-round opponent Julia Goerges in straight sets.

"It's never easy playing against her. She's a very consistent player and moving very well, serving well," said Radwanska. "For sure I really have to play my 100 percent to beat her."

Ivanovic ousts Jankovic in battle of thawed Serbs

(1/18/13) Ana Ivanovic beat fellow Serb and once fierce rival Jelena Jankovic 7-5 6-3 in a battle of former world number ones to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open on Friday.

Three years ago or so, a clash between the two would have been in deep into the latter stages of a grand slam, rather than a third-round meeting.

Former French Open champion Ivanovic is seeded 13th this year and Jankovic at 22 but despite their fall from the top of the women's game, their rivalry remains intense.

"It's competitiveness, said Ivanovic, who will next face fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska after the Pole took her winning streak to 12 matches by thrashing Britain's Heather Watson.

"You have that with everyone you play - and especially someone coming from your country. We were (once) both looking for the number one position and to win a grand slam.

"Of course there is going to be rivalry, but I think there is healthy rivalry too because you kind of push each other.

"We played in the 2008 French Open (semi-finals) and then here we were both in the semi-finals in 2008, so it definitely brings a lot of memories.

"We haven't played each other in a grand slam for a while, but it's always tough.

"She's still a very good player and even though we are different opponents now than we were then, still it's a battle, and every match you want to win."

There was a time where the two would barely exchange a word but over the years their relationship has thawed, also helped by their efforts together in the Fed Cup.

"We had a really good week in Prague for the final of the Fed Cup," said Ivanovic. "We were hanging out a lot, joking. It's nice. We have known each other for a while."

Ivanovic trails Radwanska 4-3 in their previous meetings, losing the last four but insisted she was playing well enough to win and knows what she needs to do to topple the fourth seed.

"Being patient is going to be a key," she said. "It's going to be tough, for sure. I have to be prepared to work hard for my points and to keep on putting pressure on her.

"She definitely matured a lot as a player. She was always a very tough competitor. She has a style of game that she doesn't give you much and you really have to work for your points."

Ivanovic has lost some weight in recent months and says she is still trying to strike the right balance between fleetness of foot and power.

"It's just about the muscle and just getting the right balance because still you need to feel light on the court but you have to be powerful," she said.

"I had a really tough match the other day and today I came out and I was feeling fine and was explosive - so I'm very, very pleased that it's paying off. But I'm still working at it."

Australian Open women's singles draw

(1/11/13) Australian Open women's singles draw released on Friday (prefix denotes seeding, w-denotes wildcard):

1-Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) v Monica Niculescu (Romania)

Eleni Daniilidou (Greece) v Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic)

Qualifier v Sofia Arvidsson (Sweden)

Jamie Hampton (U.S.) v 31-Urszula Radwanska (Poland)

21-Varvara Lepchenko (U.S.) v Polona Hercog (Slovenia)

w-Caroline Garcia (France) v Elena Vesnina (Russia)

Mathilde Johansson (France) v Qualifier

Silvia Soler-Espinosa (Spain) v 16-Roberta Vinci (Italy)

10-Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark) v Sabine Lisicki (Germany)

Andrea Hlavackova (Czech Republic) v Donna Vekic (Croatia)

Qualifier v Lauren Davis (U.S.)

Qualifier v 24-Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia)

26-Hsieh Su-Wei (Taiwan) v Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino (Spain)

Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia) v Lourdes Dominguez Lino (Spain)

Yulia Putintseva (Kazakhstan) v Christina McHale (U.S.)

Carla Suarez Navarro (Spain) v 7-Sara Errani (Italy)

3-Serena Williams (U.S.) v Edina Gallovits-Hall (Romania)

Magdalena Rybarikova (Slovakia) v Garbine Muguruza (Spain)

Ayumi Morita (Japan) v Anna Tatishvili (Georgia)

Annika Beck (Germany) v 28-Yaroslava Shvedova (Kazakhstan)

20-Yanina Wickmayer (Belgium) v w-Jarmila Gajdosova (Australia)

Qualifier v Jana Cepelova (Slovakia)

Rebecca Marino (Canada) v Peng Shuai (China)

14-Vania King (U.S.) v Maria Kirilenko (Russia) 12-Nadia Petrova (Russia) v Kimiko Date-Krumm (Japan)

Shahar Peer (Israel) v Alexandra Panova (Russia)

Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor (Spain) v Bojana Jovanovski (Serbia)

Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (Croatia) v 17-Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic)

29-Sloane Stephens (U.S.) v Simona Halep (Romania)

Kristina Mladenovic (France) v Timea Babos (Hungary)

Melanie Oudin (U.S.) v Laura Robson (Britain)

Francesca Schiavone (Italy) v 8-Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic)

6-Li Na (China) v Sesil Karatantcheva (Kazakhstan)

Pauline Parmentier (France) v Olga Govortsova (Belarus)

Kristyna Pliskova (Czech Republic) v w-Sacha Jones (Australia)

Coco Vandeweghe (U.S.) v 27-Sorana Cirstea (Romania)Romina Oprandi (Switzerland) v Tsvetana Pironkova (Bulgaria)

w-Zhang Yuxuan (China) v Zheng Jie (China)

Chang Kai-Chen (Taiwan) v 9-Samantha Stosur (Australia)

13-Ana Ivanovic (Serbia) v Melinda Czink (Hungary)

Qualifier v Daniela Hantuchova (Slovakia)

Qualifier v Qualifier

Johanna Larsson (Sweden) v22-Jelena Jankovic (Serbia)

32-Mona Barthel (Germany) v Ksenia Pervak (Kazakhstan)

Heather Watson (Britain) v Alexandra Cadantu (Romania)

Irina-Camelia Begu (Romania) v Arantxa Rus (Netherlands)

w-Bojana Bobusic (Australia) v 4-Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland)

5-Angelique Kerber (Germany) v Elina Svitolina (Ukraine)

Lucie Hradecka (Czech Republic) v Kiki Bertens (Netherlands)

Casey Dellacqua (Australia) v w-Madison Keys (U.S.)

Stefanie Voegele (Switzerland) v 30-Tamira Paszek (Austria) 19-Ekaterina Makarova (Russia) v Qualifier

Camila Giorgi (Italy) v Stephanie Foretz Gacon (France)

Qualifier v w-Olivia Rogowska (Australia)

Anabel Medina Garrigues (Spain) v 11-Marion Bartoli (France) 15-Dominika Cibulkova (Slovakia) v w-Ashleigh Barty (Australia)

Mandy Minella (Luxembourg) v Qualifier

Kirsten Flipkens (Belgium) v Nina Bratchikova (Russia)

Chanelle Scheepers (South Africa) v 23-Klara Zakopalova (Czech Republic)

25-Venus Williams (U.S.) v Galina Voskoboeva (Kazakhstan)

Alize Cornet (France) v Marina Erakovic (New Zealand)

Petra Martic (Croatia) v Misaki Doi (Japan)

Olga Puchkova (Russia) v 2-Maria Sharapova (Russia)

Spain overcome Djokovic and Ivanovic for Hopman Cup shock

(1/5/13) Spain secured a surprise victory in the Hopman Cup with a comeback triumph against Serbia in the final of the mixed teams event in Perth on Saturday.

Fernando Verdasco and Anabel Medina Garrigues beat the more fancied pairing of Novak Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic 6-4 7-5 in the deciding mixed doubles to secure a 2-1 win.

World No.1 Djokovic had already defeated Verdasco 6-3 7-5 in the opening singles before Medina Garrigues survived a tense clash against Ivanovic, 6-4 6-7 6-2.

"Thanks to Fernando because without him, the doubles would have been impossible," Medina Garrigues said.

Verdasco led Djokovic 3-0 in the second set of their singles rubber before being overhauled. "It's difficult to play against a player like him," Djokovic said. "He's very aggressive and serves over 200kmh."

Djokovic is chasing his third successive Australian Open at Melbourne Park from January 14.

He suffered a shock loss to Australia's Bernard Tomic during the round robin stage of the Hopman Cup but recovered with back-to-back singles wins against Andreas Seppi and Verdasco.

DJOKOVIC, IVANOVIC LEAD AS SERBIA TOPS ITALY AT HOPMAN CUP

(12/31/12) Novak Djokovic shook off jetlag to beat Andreas Seppi 6-3, 6-4 on Monday to help Serbia beat Italy 2-1 at the Hopman Cup then avoided injury after the match when a courtside barrier collapsed while signing autographs.

Djokovic was signing autographs when the divider fell. It hit the Serb on his legs as it crashed and several fans went tumbling to the ground. Djokovic briefly squatted in discomfort but later took to the court for the mixed doubles, won by Italy 7-6 (4), 6-4.

"It was a bit of a shock and I'm glad that the children involved are OK. I am fine," said Djokovic, who was more concerned about his condition pre-match because of fatigue from jetlag.

Djokovic arrived in Perth less than 24 hours before he stepped on court, but still had a straight-sets win to add to Ana Ivanovic's 6-0, 6-4 victory over Francesca Schiavone, giving Serbia a win in the group-stage of the mixed teams event.

"I arrived quite late last night and didn't get long hours of sleep and felt this morning like I'm dream-walking," Djokovic said. "But as the match went on I was managing to get my rhythm. I broke the ice after the first set and felt a little bit better."

Djokovic got off to a good starting jumping out 2-0, but he later struggled to hold for 5-2. In the second set a double-fault gave Djokovic a break to lead 3-2, but he again struggled to maintain his lead and had to fight off four break points at 4-3 before completing his victory.

Earlier, Ivanovic faced the challenge of two break points in the opening game and it took her five break points to establish a 2-0 lead, but then she looked aggressive and confident as she swept through the remainder of the first set.

Schiavone took 36 minutes to win her first game and hold for 1-1 in the second set, and the Italian then offered a stronger challenge.

"It's been an amazing start (to the season)," Ivanovic said. "That first game was a bit crucial but I managed to hold after saving a few break points and then I really got into the momentum and didn't do too much wrong in that first set.

"The second set got tougher. She started playing better, Ivanovic added. "I still tried to be aggressive and I'm really happy I managed to win today."

On Tuesday, The American team of John Isner and Venus Williams will take on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Mathilde Johansson of France.

Sharapova, Ivanovic entertains exhibition crowd

(12/1/12) Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic won singles matches against Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci in an exhibition event Saturday before losing to the Italians in doubles.

Ivanovic delighted the crowd with an audacious shot between her legs while facing away from the net in her 7-5 tiebreak win over Vinci, who won 6-0, 6-0 against the Serb in August.

Sharapova beat Errani 6-2 in another entertaining duel. The second-ranked player high-fived a line judge after a shot from Errani was called out. She also pretended to glare at a spectator after he broke the silence with a call of "Come on, Sara."

The top-ranked duo of Errani and Vinci won 6-4 in the doubles, much to the delight of the 11,000 spectators at the sold-out event in Milan.

Czech Republic beats Serbia to retain Fed Cup

(11/4/12) The Czech Republic retained the Fed Cup on Sunday when Lucie Safarova thrashed former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic of Serbia 6-1, 6-1 in the second reverse singles for an unassailable 3-1 lead in the final.

Safarova sealed the matched in the best-of-five series with a forehand winner on her second match point before an ecstatic sell-out home crowd on a hard court in the O2 Arena.

The Czechs are the third country in a row to successfully defend the Fed Cup title. Russia won in 2007-08 and Italy 2009-10.

The Czechs took a 2-0 lead after the opening singles on Saturday but Ana Ivanovic's victory earlier Sunday halved that advantage by beating Petra Kvitova 6-3, 7-5.

It was the first loss for Kvitova after 11 straight Fed Cup singles wins.

Czechs take 1-0 lead in Fed Cup finals

(11/3/12) The Czech Republic took a 1-0 lead in their Fed Cup final on Saturday when Lucie Safarova overcame Serbian number one Ana Ivanovic 6-4 6-3 in the opening singles rubber.

The Czechs are defending their title after victory in Moscow last year while the Serbs are fighting for their first crown.

Safarova, the world number 17, took the initiative from early on, breaking the Serb for a 2-1 lead in the first set.

Ivanovic fought back to level at 2-2 but Safarova won another break in the seventh game and went on to take the first set.

"I tried to play into her backhand, taking advantage of my left-handed play, then opening room on the forehand side. That is my favorite scenario," Safarova told reporters.

"I was really nervous at the beginning but that is part of huge matches like this, it went away."

Ivanovic, who had lost her previous three encounters with Safarova, looked shaky going into the second set and lost her initial serve.

Safarova broke the world number 12 again for 4-2 before claiming victory.

Czech number one Petra Kvitova, hoping to have recovered from a cold, will face Jelena Jankovic in the other singles rubber on Saturday.

The central European nation has the chance to complete a tennis double with the Czech men's team playing the Davis Cup final against Spain in two weeks' time.

The Czechs, who won five Fed Cup titles in the 1970s and 1980s as Czechoslovakia, overcame Germany and Italy on their path to the Prague final while Serbia beat Belgium and Russia.

Safarova to open Fed Cup final against Ivanovic

(11/2/12) Lucie Safarova will open the Fed Cup final for the defending champion Czech Republic against Ana Ivanovic of Serbia.

The 17th -ranked Safarova is 3-2 against the 12th-ranked Ivanovic, who is former No. 1.

''It would be great to start with a lead,'' Safarova said at the draw ceremony at Prague City Hall. ''That's what I'm going to try and I'm looking forward to.''

Eighth-ranked Petra Kvitova, who led the Czechs to a 3-2 victory over Russia last year, will play Jelena Jankovic - another former No. 1 - in the second singles match on indoor hard courts at the O2 Arena on Saturday.

Kvitova has recovered in time from a viral illness that forced her to pull out of the WTA Championships last week.

''I feel very good. I practiced yesterday one hour and something and it was quite OK,'' Kvitova said. ''It's a big end of the season, we play at home and I play for the team, for the Czech Republic and that makes me strong.''

Both Kvitova and Jankovic have been unbeaten for the last two years in Fed Cup singles. Kvitova won their only previous encounter last year at a WTA event in Linz, Austria.

''It's very special occasion for all of us,'' Jankovic said. ''We're all here to do our best.''

Serbia has had its best Fed Cup season since the country became independent. It recorded victories in the World Group with away wins over Belgium and Russia to reach its first final.

In Sunday's reverse singles, Kvitova plays Ivanovic before Safarova takes on Jankovic.

In doubles, the Czech pair of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka, who reached the U.S. Open and Wimbledon finals this season, will play Bojana Jovanovski and Aleksandra Krunic.

Stosur beats Ivanovic to set up Wozniacki final in Moscow

(10/20/12) Top seed Samantha Stosur reached her first final in eight months with a comeback 2-6 6-3 6-2 win over fourth-seeded Serbian Ana Ivanovic in the Kremlin Cup semi-finals on Saturday.

The Australian will face another former world number one Caroline Wozniacki in Sunday's final after the Danish third seed beat unseeded Swede Sofia Arvidsson 6-3 6-7 6-4 in the first semi-final at the Olympic indoor arena.

After splitting the first two sets, 2011 U.S. Open champion Stosur broke Ivanovic in the fifth game for a 3-2 lead after the Serbian missed an easy volley on break point.

Ivanovic took a medical break after falling behind but looked a shadow of her former self after coming back on court as Stosur reeled off the next three games for an easy victory.

Wozniacki had a much tougher time against her Scandinavian rival. She served for the match at 6-5 in the second set but 46th-ranked Arvidsson battled back to force a tiebreak.

In the third set, the Dane again served for the match after pulling ahead 5-3 and missed her chance on her serve but she finally ended Arvidsson's resistance in the next game.

World number 11 Wozniacki, looking for her second WTA title of the season after winning the Korea Open last month, blamed the slow surface for her inability to finish the match.

"It was very tough to finish off the point on this surface, especially because we know each other so well," she told reporters. "I had to raise my game in order to win today."

Second seed Andreas Seppi faces Malek Jaziri, the first Tunisian player to reach the last four on the ATP Tour, while fourth-seeded Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci takes on giant Croatian Ivo Karlovic in the men's semi-finals later on Saturday.

IVANOVIC, WOZNIACKI, STOSUR ADVANCE TO KREMLIN CUP SEMIS

(10/19/12) Former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic will take on 2011 U. S. Open champion Samantha Stosur in the semifinals of the Kremlin Cup.

Ivanovic beat her fellow Serb Vesna Dolonc 6-4, 6-1, while the top-seeded Stosur defeated Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-3 in their semifinals matches on Friday.

Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open champion, made the decisive break in the 10th game of the first set and never looked back.

"I was actually surprised she (Dolonc) was hitting the ball quite heavy," Ivanovic said. "I had a feeling that court one was a lot faster than centre court, so that definitely took some adjusting."

Stosur, who kept Zakopalova back on the baseline and made it hard for her opponent to come forward, won six consecutive games in the first set. But the Australian trailed 3-1 in the second before recovering with a break in the sixth game and going on to serve out the match at love.

"I guess it's sometimes hard to come in off my balls because I thought I was hitting the ball quite deep," Stosur said. "When your opponent's doing that it's hard to come in. She likes to hit the ball hard and get her opponent stretching and then when she sees deep she comes in. But I think in the first set I was able to shut that down and play more offensive than what she was for much of the match."

Stosur and Ivanovic both know they are in for a hard time on Saturday.

"Definitely it's going to be a tough match and completely different to the ones I had so far in the tournament," Ivanovic said. "But I seriously have nothing to lose and I want to go out there and enjoy and hopefully give a good match..." Stosur also said she "expected a tough match."

"You've got to be ready for anything," she said. "I have to go out there and concentrate on my own game and play the way I need to and again just be ready to work hard, to be ready for some long rallies if they come out."

Earlier, Caroline Wozniacki struggled to beat defending champion Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 6-7 (1), 6-1.

Wozniacki, another former No. 1-ranked player, won four consecutive games in the first set and later took advantage of an ailing Cibulkova, who was playing with her right hip bandaged and took a medical timeout while trailing 2-1 in the third set.

"The difference at the end was that I just could keep my highest level up to the end and I managed to win most of the important points especially at the beginning of the third set," Wozniacki said.

The 11th-ranked Wozniacki, who finished the last two seasons at No. 1 on the WTA rankings, still has a chance to overtake Marion Bartoli of France at No. 10 by the end of the season if she wins titles in Moscow and at the season-ending Tournament of Champions, scheduled for Oct. 30 in Sofia, Bulgaria.

In her seventh semifinal this season, Wozniacki will face Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden.

The 46th-ranked Arvidsson, who is looking for her second title this season, broke twice in each set to eliminate the only Russian left at the Kremlin Cup, seventh-seeded Maria Kirilenko, 6-3, 6-3.

"Maria is a tough player," Arvidsson said, "you have to play at your best to beat her."

In the men's tournament, second-seeded Andreas Seppi of Italy advanced to the semifinals by beating Tatsuma Ito of Japan 6-2, 6-1.

"I served well when I needed and do not have much to complain about my game today," Seppi said. "I had two breaks with double-faults from him and it helped a lot."

Seppi, who won his second career title in Belgrade in May, will next play Malek Jaziri, who became the first Tunisian to reach an ATP semifinal when he beat Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic 7-6 (5), 6-3.

"I hope I'm lucky enough to make my first ATP final," Jaziri said. "But anyway, I'm already happy with my performance here."

Also, Croatian veteran Ivo Karlovic had 23 aces to beat French qualifier Edouard Roger-Vasselin 7-6 (4), 6-3. Karlovic will now play Thomas Bellucci of Brazil, who defeated Jerzy Janowicz of Poland 6-4, 7-6 (3).

Ivanovic advances to Kremlin Cup quarterfinals

(10/18/12) Ana Ivanovic advanced to the Kremlin Cup quarterfinals by beating Russian qualifier Valeria Solovieva 6-1, 6-4 on Thursday.

The 11th-ranked Serb broke the 19-year-old Russian, who was playing in only her second WTA match, three times.

''It was a good match for me,'' Ivanovic said. ''It's never easy to play someone you haven't seen before as you don't know how they react in the different situations. But I'm happy I've managed to finish in good style.''

Ivanovic, whose best result this season was a semifinal appearance in Indian Wells in March, will be playing in her fifth quarterfinal. The 2008 French Open champion is looking for her 12th career title.

Ivanovic will face Serbian qualifier Vesna Dolonc, who advanced to her second career WTA quarterfinal by routing Romania's Simona Halep 6-1, 6-0.

Seventh-seeded Maria Kirilenko, the only Russian left in the women's draw, rallied from 5-1 down in the first set to beat Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan 7-5, 6-4.

In the second round of the men's tournament, Jerzy Janowicz of Poland advanced to the quarterfinals by beating seventh-seeded Carlos Berlocq of Argentina 6-3, 6-4.

Top-ranked Azarenka reaches semis at WTA Linz, Ivanovic Out

(10/12/12) Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium defeated two-time former champion Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 6-0 on Friday in the quarterfinals of the Generali Ladies.

Top-ranked Victoria Azarenka and fifth-seeded Julia Goerges also advanced to the semifinals.

Flipkens, who is ranked 66th and had to qualify for the main draw, trailed 3-1 before winning 11 of the next 12 games.

''It's incredible that I've beaten her,'' Flipkens said. ''I tried to play my own game and switched a lot between attacking and defensive shots. Then Ana started to make more mistakes. I think that was because of the way I was playing.''

Ivanovic won the tournament in 2008 and 2010. Flipkens, who won her first title in Quebec City last month, will play Goerges for a place in Sunday's final.

Azarenka reached her 10th semifinal of the season by defeating Petra Martic of Croatia 6-2, 6-2. Azarenka won the first 10 points to build a 4-0 lead.

''I feel like I adjusted really well,'' said Azarenka, who had never played Martic before.

Azarenka has not dropped a set in 11 consecutive matches. She won in Beijing last week and pulled out in the quarterfinals at Tokyo the week before.

''Every day I have to push myself,'' Azarenka said. ''It's not easy, even when it seems easy out there on court.''

Azarenka will next play either Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the United States or Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania.

Goerges beat Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden 6-1, 6-4.

Azarenka, Ivanovic into Generali Ladies quarters

(10/11/12) Top-ranked Victoria Azarenka and two-time former champion Ana Ivanovic won in straight sets Thursday to reach the quarterfinals of the Generali Ladies.

Azarenka beat Simona Halep of Romania 6-1, 6-1, and Ivanovic defeated Andrea Petkovic of Germany 6-4, 6-3.

Azarenka dominated play from the baseline and hit 20 winners.

''My game was more fluent than in the first round,'' Azarenka said. ''My timing was better and I was less nervous. But I have to improve my serving as I had a couple of double-faults.''

Azarenka, who has dropped only four games in two matches, will next play Petra Martic after the Croat defeated Patricia Mayr-Achleitner of Austria 6-2, 3-6, 6-0. Martic hit seven aces to reach her 10th career quarterfinal. Mayr-Achleitner won just five of 29 points in the deciding set.

The second-seeded Ivanovic had to dig deep against Petkovic, who has dropped to 192nd because of an injured right ankle. The German had been down an early break in the second set but rallied to make it 3-3 before losing.

''It was very tough. She is such a good player and it's good to see her back,'' Ivanovic said. ''I am getting more consistent now. It's all about confidence.''

Ivanovic, the 2008 and 2010 champion who has at least reached the quarterfinals all five times at the event, will take on Kirsten Flipkens. The Belgian defeated Mallory Burdette of the United States 4-6, 6-1, 7-5.

Burdette twice came back from a break down in the decider but missed two break-point chances at 6-5 to force a tiebreaker.

Bethanie Mattek-Sands reached her first quarterfinal of the season by defeating Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 6-3, 6-3.

The 201st-ranked American is climbing back up the rankings after recent hip, back and left foot injuries. She will face next face Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania. Begu, who lost in qualifying but replaced Anna Tatishvili of Georgia in the main draw, beat Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands 6-4, 7-6 (7).

Ivanovic, Jankovic eliminated at China Open

(10/3/12) Former No. 1s Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic were knocked out of the China Open third round in straight sets on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the second round was completed when Maria Sharapova downed Sorana Cirstea of Romania 6-2, 6-2, and Slovenian qualifier Polana Hercog came from 5-1 down in the third set to beat Russia's Ekaterina Makarova 7-6 (5), 3-6, 7-6 (3).

Ivanovic was ousted 6-4, 6-3 by Romina Oprandi of Switzerland, who replaced an ill Serena Williams in the draw.

Jankovic fell apart from leading 5-2, going out to Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 7-5, 6-4.

Among the men, Austria's Jurgen Melzer defeated Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine 7-6 (9), 2-6, 6-1.

Ivanovic seeking to recapture former glory

(9/23/12) Former world number one Ana Ivanovic insisted she still had the game to challenge for grand slam titles after booking a spot in the second round of the Pan Pacific Open on Monday.

The Serb, seeded 11th in Tokyo, beat Andrea Hlavackova 6-3 2-0 to advance after the Czech retired with a thigh injury after just 44 minutes.

"That's the only reason I'm still here," Ivanovic, who climbed to the top of the women's rankings after winning the 2008 French Open, told Reuters.

"I already achieved two of my biggest dreams in winning a grand slam and being number one in the world.

"But I believe I can still be at the top level and winning grand slams. Otherwise I wouldn't be here," added the 24-year-old winner of 11 WTA Tour titles.

Ivanovic, who has won more than $9.6 million career prize money, admitted she still had a little work to do to seriously challenge at the major tournaments.

"I need to work on my strength in the off-season, get a little stronger," said Serbia's tennis pin-up, who reached the quarter-finals of the U.S. Open. earlier this month.

"But it's also confidence. Beating the top players can really boost your confidence and make you start to believe."

Ivanovic, beaten by eventual champion Serena Williams in New York, will face Poland's Urszula Radwanska in the second round in Tokyo after the Polish player's 6-2 6-4 win over Japan's Kurumi Nara.

Russia's Nadia Petrova overpowered China's Peng Shuai 6-1 6-4, knocking out one of three Chinese players appearing despite their country's fierce political row with Japan over disputed islands.

In other first-round matches, qualifier Pauline Parmentier beat fellow Frenchwoman Alize Cornet 6-3 6-4.

American Jamie Hampton was another qualifier to advance, ousting France's Caroline Garcia 6-2 6-2.

Williams back in US Open semifinals

(9/6/12) Serena Williams shared a thought the other three semifinalists in the U.S. Open certainly won't want to hear.

''I feel like I'm going to get more focused and serious and start playing 'Serena tennis,''' she said.

Whatever brand she's been playing so far has been pretty good, too.

Fourth-seeded Williams served 12 aces Wednesday night to bring her total to 41 for the tournament and move to the semifinals with a typically overpowering victory, 6-1, 6-3 over Ana Ivanovic.

Williams got 29 first serves in and won the point on 26 of them. She faced two break points and saved both of them. She has lost a total of 16 games through five matches. When No. 12 Ivanovic held serve to make it 3-1 in the first, it snapped a string of 23 straight games Williams had won, starting at the end of her third-round match last Saturday.

''I think the quality of tennis compared to last year, it was much higher, I think from both of us,'' said Ivanovic, a 6-3, 6-4 loser to Williams in the fourth round last year. ''I mean, she was serving unbelievable. She was hardly missing serves. That puts a lot of pressure on opponents' own service games.''

Next up for Williams, 10th-seeded Sara Errani, a 6-2, 6-4 winner over her Italian doubles partner, Roberta Vinci. Errani will be the first Italian woman in the tournament since the Open era began in 1968.

On paper, that semifinal looks like a mismatch, with 5-foot-4 Errani's serve maxing out at 81 mph Wednesday, while 5-9 Williams was consistently in the 110s. But Errani is the French Open runner-up and has lifted her ranking into the top 10 after starting the year at 45.

''A lot will depend on her,'' Errani said about the matchup. ''I will try to play my game, try to get her off balance. I still need to study up and prepare.''

Also advancing Wednesday was third-seeded Maria Sharapova, who was trailing 4-0 when play resumed after being suspended because of rain Tuesday. Given nearly 24 hours to think about things, Sharapova rallied for a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over No. 11 Marion Bartoli. She improved to 12-0 in three-setters this year.

''It's a great statistic,'' Sharapova said. ''It shows that I enjoy the battle no matter what the score is. The third set, it's the last set out there, and there's no reason you shouldn't put everything out there. That's how I treat those situations.''

Sharapova will play top-seeded Victoria Azarenka, who got the day off after her three-set victory over defending champion Sam Stosur on Tuesday.

The Williams match was in doubt only for a brief time, with Williams serving in the second set, ahead 4-3. The game went to three deuces. Williams closed it out with a pair of service winners clocked at 119 and 105 mph.

With Ivanovic serving to stay in the match, Williams won the second point of the game, when she hustled to the net to return Ivanovic's dink shot, hit a backhand winner, then skidded and fell on her backside.

''I don't know why that happened,'' Williams said.

Eight points later, the match was over.

Williams conceded she was distracted in the lead up to the match because she got emotional watching Andy Roddick play. Williams has known Roddick since she was a little kid and was moved by what turned out to be his finale, a four-set loss to Juan Martin del Potro in the match before hers.

Fidgeting with her cell phone during the interview, she said she's been losing focus on and off the court of late and that she'd like to tighten things up as the final weekend approaches.

''I didn't think I came into this tournament playing my best, but I definitely played better in the last two matches,'' Williams said. ''I hope I have two matches left, and, you know, give 200 percent.''

Ivanovic, happy with her first Grand Slam quarterfinal appearance since she won the French Open in 2008, was asked if she would be surprised if anyone other than Williams was holding the winner's trophy come the end of the tournament.

''Yeah,'' she said. ''Very.''

Djokovic holds key for Ivanovic in Serena clash

(9/3/12) Ana Ivanovic believes Serb compatriot Novak Djokovic could tip the balance in her favour when she takes on red-hot title favourite Serena Williams for a place in the US Open semi-finals.

Ivanovic has never beaten 14-time Grand Slam title winner Williams in three meetings, failing even to win a set, with two of those defeats coming in New York in 2006 and 2011.

But having ended her four-year wait to reach a first Grand Slam quarter-final since she made the same stage on the way to her one and only major triumph at the French Open in 2008, the 24-year-old is desperate not to waste her opportunity.

And that's why Djokovic, the defending men's champion in New York and reigning Australian Open champion, could have a crucial role to play.

"We speak a lot. He had a great year last year. He's a dear friend of mine. It's great to get some experience and advice from someone like him," said Ivanovic, who made the quarter-finals with a 6-0, 6-4 win over Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria.

"We spoke a lot at the Olympics and in Wimbledon, and it made me realize how important it is to have someone there who is going to take care of the body and recovery and all these little things, because they are the small parts that make the difference."

Ivanovic has never previously made the US Open last eight, having fallen at the fourth-round stage on three previous occasions.

The former world number one, now ranked 13 in the world, has made the last eight by not having to face a seeded opponent having seen scheduled fourth-round rival Caroline Wozniacki lose in the first round.

Wozniacki paid the price for continuing to play in New Haven on the eve of the US Open despite picking up a knee injury.

Ivanovic, for her part, skipped the Cincinnati warm-up event to rest her injured foot.

"I was really unfortunate with my foot injury before the tournament, so if someone would have told me I would be in this position, you know, I'd be like, 'OK, that's nice. Thank you,'" said the permanently cheerful Serb.

"I have been working really hard on recovery and on court, as well. It's kind of a reward. I want to enjoy that process. I still have lot of things to think about this year."

Williams, the three-time champion, will give her plenty to ponder when they meet in Wednesday's quarter-finals.

The 30-year-old American reached a 10th US open quarter-final on Monday with a 6-0, 6-0 rout of hapless Czech Andrea Hlavackova.

She has dropped just 12 games in four matches at this year's tournament.

"Last year when I played her here, I thought I had some chances in the second set," said Ivanovic.

"But it's always tough. She's obviously a great player and she's been playing the best out of all the girls on tour at the moment.

"Her serve is definitely her strength. I really have to be sharp from the first moment on and stay aggressive and stay in the moment. I need to try and enjoy the challenge. It would be great opportunity for me."

Ivanovic to face S. Williams in quarters

(9/3/12) More than four years after her French Open title, Ana Ivanovic is finally back in a Grand Slam quarterfinal and will face three-time U.S. Open champion Serena Williams.

Williams won by a 6-0, 6-0 score for the first time in 62 career victories at Flushing Meadows.

Williams routed 82nd-ranked Andrea Hlavackova in 57 minutes Monday in the fourth round. The 14-time Grand Slam champion had 31 winners and just seven unforced errors.

Hlavackova, a 2011 French Open doubles champion, had never been past the second round in singles at a major tournament before this year.

Roger Federer is headed to his 34th consecutive quarterfinal at a major tournament -- by walkover after Mardy Fish pulled out of their fourth-round match at the U.S. Open on Monday because of unspecified "health concerns."

Fish missed about two months this season because of an accelerated heartbeat and had a medical procedure in May. The 30-year-old American's third-round match against Gilles Simon went five sets, lasting more than 3 hours and ending after 1 a.m. Sunday.

Afterward, the 23rd-seeded Fish did not appear at a news conference. Tournament officials said he was getting treatment, but didn't give specifics.

The 12th-seeded Ivanovic beat Tsvetana Pironkova 6-0, 6-4 in the fourth round. Ranked No. 1 in the world in 2008, the Serb has struggled with injuries and her confidence since.

After failing to serve out the match at 5-3 in the second set, Ivanovic broke the 55th-ranked Bulgarian at love in the next game to clinch the victory.

Pironkova, a 2010 Wimbledon semifinalist, went up a break twice in the second set only for Ivanovic to immediately break back. There were seven service breaks in 10 games in the set.

Pironkova held serve just once in the match. Ivanovic had more success on Pironkova's first serve than her own; the Serb won 65 per cent of the points when her opponent got in her first serve, compared with 61 per cent when her own first serve landed in.

Federer will meet sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych, who beat 11th-seeded Nicolas Almagro 7-6 (4), 6-4, 6-1.

Ivanovic beats American teen Stephens at US Open

(9/1/12) Former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic ended 19-year-old American Sloane Stephens' run at the U.S. Open for the second consecutive year.

The 12th-seeded Ivanovic overcame 56 unforced errors, a deficit and a partisan crowd in Arthur Ashe Stadium to beat Stephens 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-2 in the third round Saturday night.

Ivanovic eliminated Stephens at the same stage at Flushing Meadows in 2011.

Since winning the 2008 French Open - her third final in a stretch of five Grand Slam tournaments - Ivanovic hasn't reached the quarterfinals even once. She'll get a chance to get to the last eight in New York after taking the last four games against Stephens, who at No. 44 is the youngest member of the top 50 in the WTA rankings.

Stephens hit 10 double-faults.

Ivanovic eases into third round at U.S. Open

(8/30/12) Former top-ranked players Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic of Serbia are quietly into the third round of the U.S. Open with impressive performances so far.

Each has dropped just nine games through two straight-set wins. The 12th-seeded Ivanovic beat 51st-ranked Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden 6-2, 6-2 on Thursday. Jankovic, seeded 30th, defeated 115th-ranked Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino of Spain 6-4, 6-2.

Both women reached No. 1 in the world in 2008, a breakthrough year for Serbian tennis when Ivanovic won the French Open and countryman Novak Djokovic took the Australian Open.

While Djokovic has since won four more Grand Slam titles, Ivanovic and Jankovic have often struggled in the last four years.

Radwanska, Ivanovic cruise at US Open

(8/28/12) Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwnaska and former world number one Ana Ivanovic breezed into the US Open second round on Tuesday as both women look to bury their woeful Flushing Meadows records.

Polish second seed Radwanska and Ivanovic, the 12th-seeded Serb who was French Open champion in 2008, have never got beyond the fourth round in New York but have been quarter-finalists at the other three majors.

Radwanska, whose New York best came in 2007 and who lost in the second round in 2011, began her campaign with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Nina Bratchikova with the Russian's challenge undone by 28 unforced errors.

Next up for Radwanska, who became the first Polish woman to make a Grand Slam final when she lost to Serena Williams at Wimbledon last month, is Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro.

"It's always a bit harder (coming in as second seed) because people expect you to play well and go far in the tournament," said 23-year-old Radwanska, who only needed 54 minutes to progress on Tuesday.

"But I am just trying not to really think about pressure. I don't really have many points to defend from last year. At least this is the good thing."

Radwanska also admitted that a right shoulder injury is still causing her some concern.

"It's different when I'm playing matches or I'm just practicing and not pushing that much. I'm really taking care of it right now," said the Pole, who retired from a first-round match in New Haven last week to protect the injury.

Ivanovic -- whose fourth-round appearances came in 2007, 2010 and 2011 -- defeated 17-year-old Ukrainian qualifier Elina Svitolina 6-3, 6-2 and goes on to face Sweden's Sofia Arvidsson.

Svitolina, the 2010 French Open junior champion, was one of nine teenagers in the main draw.

Arvidsson reached the second round by seeing off 41-year-old Kimiko Date Krumm of Japan 6-4 6-2.

Asian hopes took a further battering when Chinese 32nd seed Peng Shuai tumbled out 7-6 (7/5), 6-1 to Russia's Elena Vesnina.

Later Tuesday, defending champion Novak Djokovic gets his campaign underway against Italy's Paolo Lorenzi, who is making his US Open debut at the age of 30 and has yet to win a Grand Slam match.

World number two Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal in last year's final after coming from two sets down and saving two match points against Roger Federer in the semi-finals.

Three-time women's champion and Olympic Games gold medallists Serena Williams, last year's runner-up, faces American compatriot Coco Vandeweghe.

Venus Williams, the 2000 and 2001 winner, also has an all-American match-up with wildcard Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

Mind games stumbling block for Serb tennis stars

(8/28/12) Four years after being on top of the women's tennis world, Serbians Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic are struggling with their confidence and mental toughness in trying to find a way back to the top.

"Well, the bottom line is this is a mental game in the end," said reigning US Open men's champion Novak Djokovic. "Everybody is practicing really hard. There's a lot of competition out there.

"Mentally they need to overcome the pressure, the issues, and start believing on the court that they can actually do it."

Ivanovic, the 12th seed, defeated Ukraine's Elina Svitolina 6-3, 6-2 on Tuesday to reach the second round of the US Open while Jankovic, seeded 30th, was to face another Ukrainian, Kateryna Bondarenko, in a later opening match.

Ivanovic won the 2008 French Open and spent 12 weeks as World No. 1 but has not reached a Grand Slam quarter-final since then. Her only titles since then have been two each at Linz and Bali, both on indoor hardcourts.

Jankovic lost to Serena Williams in the 2008 US Open final in her only Grand Slam title match.

She has reached five other Grand Slam semi-finals, most recently at the 2010 French Open, but otherwise has not gone deeper than the fourth round since her finals loss at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Jankovic, 27, spent 18 weeks atop the rankings in 2008 but has not won a title since 2010 at Indian Wells, although she reached the final last week at Dallas and in June at Birmingham.

Asked how his compatriots could return to glory days, Djokovic said they must improve their mental game.

"Because Jankovic was No. 1 in the world, Ivanovic too -- she won a Grand Slam, that means they have the quality and ability to do so," he said. "I sincerely hope they will again."

Ivanovic, 24, agreed that years of being unable to follow up on her one-time Grand Slam success have taken a toll.

"Yeah, it is a lot to do with confidence," Ivanovic said. "Also since the time I entered, the game has evolved and there are lot more girls that strike and they have nothing to lose.

"They play really well and they are very dangerous. But definitely it's just not the belief of beating those top players at the moment."

"I evolved as a player. I added a little bit more to my game. It's just a matter of putting it together in the big matches and believing in it."

It did not help that she lost 6-0, 6-0 to Italy's Roberta Vinci in her only US Open tuneup match.

"It's tough. It wasn't easy," she said. "Sometimes when you get overexcited it doesn't really work."

Ivanovic has never been past the round of 16 at Flushing Meadows, reaching the fourth round the past two years to match her best US Open result.

"My big goal is to break the fourth round and get into quarter-finals," she said. "It's not easy. There are so many dangerous opponents out there."

Ivanovic routed on day of surprises at Montreal Cup

(8/9/12) Ana Ivanovic had a humbling start to her North American hard court campaign as the former world number one failed to win a game in her opening match at the Montreal Cup on Thursday.

The former French Open winner said her 6-0 6-0 second-round loss to Italian Roberta Vinci in 44 minutes was the worst match of her senior career.

"I can't remember last time I had a match like this, you know, maybe not since I was junior," the 24-year-old Serbian, who won this event in 2006, told reporters.

"It's obviously tough, you know, but I just want to try and put it behind me and try to forget about this because that's the only thing you can do."

Ivanovic, who had a first-round bye as the 11th seed, was one of three seeds to fall on Thursday before rain interrupted the day's action.

Her compatriot and 13th seed Jelena Jankovic, another former world number one, fell for the first time in five meetings to Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak 6-2 6-3, while 15th seeded Sabine Lisicki of Germany needed treatment from the trainer during her 3-6 6-3 6-4 loss to Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro.

Wozniak, who reached the third round of her national event for the first time, was delighted with her form.

"(It) couldn't have been better to be here in front of the home crowd and do my third round here at a big tournament like this. I'm really excited," she said.

Ninth seed Marion Bartoli was the only seed to advance on Thursday, breezing by China's Peng Shuai 6-1 6-3.

Agnieszka Radwanska, who could become the world number one by the end of the August 4-13 tournament was tied 4-6 6-3 2-2 with German Mona Barthel when matches were halted due to the weather.

Vinci's performance was her second remarkable effort here having reeled off 18 consecutive games dating back to her first-round clash with Yanina Wickmayer to reach the last 16.

The 29-year-old trailed Wickmayer 1-5 in the third set of her Tuesday match before prevailing 6-2 3-6 7-5. Similar to that win, Vinci used a heavy backhand slice to unsettle Ivanovic.

Clijsters ousts Ivanovic to reach quarters

(8/1/12) Kim Clijsters won the battle of the former world number ones as the Belgian defeated Serbia's Ana Ivanovic 6-3, 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals of the Olympics on Wednesday.

Clijsters is playing the penultimate tournament of her career as she prepares to retire for the second and final time after next month's US Open and she has admitted an Olympic medal would be the perfect way to sign off.

The 29-year-old, competing in the Olympics for the first time, remains on course to fulfill that dream after cruising past former French Open champion Ivanovic in 58 minutes at Wimbledon.

"I feel like I've been playing some really good tennis in the first three matches here, it's just a matter of trying to keep that up," Clijsters said.

"The conditions were not easy but it was a fun court to play on. Most of the show courts are huge and there's a lot of room around them but here you can really feel the impact of the crowd and it was very enjoyable.

"There was lots of Belgian support and Serbian too, it was fun."

Four-time Grand Slam champion Clijsters, ranked 36th, will face world number three Maria Sharapova or Germany's Sabine Lisicki in the last eight.

McHale of US loses to Ivanovic in Olympic debut

(7/28/12) American Christina McHale lost her Olympic debut Saturday to former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic, 6-4, 7-5.

McHale, ranked 26th, played the first match of the tournament on Wimbledon's Court 18. At 20, she's the youngest member of the U.S. tennis team.

Azarenka routs Ivanovic in 4th round at Wimbledon

(7/2/12) Second-ranked Victoria Azarenka cruised into the Wimbledon quarterfinals by routing former top-ranked Ana Ivanovic 6-1, 6-0 Monday on Centre Court.

Azarenka converted five of her seven break points and saved all three she faced to wrap up the victory in little more than an hour.

The match was suspended by rain at 4-1 in the first set, forcing organizers to close the retractable roof over Centre Court. Azarenka continued to dominate when play resumed, and finished with 19 winners compared to six unforced errors.

Azarenka is the highest-ranked player left in the women's draw after No. 1 Maria Sharapova was eliminated by Sabine Lisicki.

Ivanovic battles back to reach Wimbledon's last 16

(6/30/12) Former world number one Ana Ivanovic gave the perfect response to her critics as she battled into the Wimbledon fourth round with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win against Germany's Julia Goerges on Saturday.

Ivanovic, the 14th seed, was once regarded as the female game's brightest young star after winning the 2008 French Open just months after reaching the Australian Open final.

But the 24-year-old has been unable to fulfill her vast potential since then, with some pundits accusing her of lacking the mental strength to succeed at the highest level.

Ivanovic, who has failed to get past the fourth round in her 17 Grand Slam appearances since that triumph in Paris, arrived at the All England Club with little expectation of emulating her 2007 run to the semi-finals after being forced out of the Eastbourne event with a hip injury last week.

But she is now within touching distance of finally returning to the last eight of a Grand Slam after showing impressive grit to hold off the talented Goerges.

Ivanovic will play second seed Victoria Azarenka or Slovakian qualifier Jana Cepelova for a place in the quarter-finals.

At 23, Goerges is only a year younger than Ivanovic, but whereas the Serb had been written off as a fading force, the German still carries the tag of a future star.

The world number 24 broke in the sixth game for a 4-2 lead and showed impressive character to serve out the first set under pressure from Ivanovic as the Serb finally started to go for her shots.

With Ivanovic unleashing some powerful groundstrokes, Goerges found it harder in the second set. She saved four break points at 1-2, but couldn't stem the tide and Ivanovic eventually broke for a 4-2 lead.

Goerges fought off one set point on her serve, but Ivanovic had the bit between her teeth and finally levelled the match on her fourth set point.

There was a real zip to Ivanovic's play now and the Serb secured a break in the fifth game of the last set.

Ivanovic survived a final test as she saved two break points before celebrating victory with a shriek of joy.

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