NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former world number one Ana Ivanovic has likened herself to a striking character from the books of best-selling crime fiction author Stieg Larsson that refuses to accept authority.
Lisbeth Salander is one of the main figures in the Swedish author's Millennium trilogy that has sold 27 million copies in 40 countries and served as reading material for the Serbian in recent weeks.
Salander is a stubborn individual with little respect for authority and Ivanovic admits she sees a likeness with some of the character's subversive traits.
The world number 40 may need to exhibit some of those qualities in her fourth-round match at Flushing Meadows where she will try to knock off reigning champion Kim Clijsters.
"I do recognize myself in some of her," Ivanovic told reporters on Friday after her 7-5 6-0 third-round win over Italy's Virginie Razzano. "I do get very stubborn sometimes - that's a little bit annoying to my coach but, hey, you have to take the bad too."
Ivanovic's preparations for the U.S. Open have curtailed her summer reading to the extent that she has leafed through just 50 pages of the final book in the series, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, in the past few weeks.
Instead, her focus has been on regaining her best form and fitness after slipping to world number 65 in July, which marked her lowest ranking in five years.
A strong run to the semi-finals in Cincinnati last month helped boost her up 25 spots for the last grand slam of the season in New York,
Now, the 22-year-old believes she is approaching the sort of form that brought her the only grand slam win of her career at the 2008 French Open.
"In important moments, I actually believe that I can do it now," she said. "In important moments sometimes I doubted but now it's kind of coming together, the belief in myself again."
Ivanovic last played Clijsters at the start of August in the semi-finals in Cincinnati but Ivanovic was forced to retire with a foot injury just three games into the match.
"I was really disappointed that I had to stop in Cincinnati but I'm really looking forward to it," she said. "It's kind of a new opportunity for me.
"Kim's a great player. She hasn't lost a match here in a long time and I have the opportunity to maybe win against a great champion."
Editing by Frank Pingue