Serving stigmas still haunting resurgent Ivanovic

Tue Oct 21, 2014 11:26am EDT
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By Patrick Johnston

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - 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.   Continued...

Ana Ivanovic of Serbia plays a shot against Serena Williams of the U.S. during their WTA Finals singles tennis match in Singapore October 20, 2014. REUTERS/Edgar Su