Ana Ivanovic had some difficulty in her third round match but it was nothing that the former number one couldn’t handle. She held a strong opening serve against Polona Hercog to win 6-2, 6-3 on centre court at the Rogers Cup Thursday night. The 27 year old got into the quarterfinal tying the series against the Slovenian.
The two have only met once dating back to two years when the Slovenian edged out the Serb in two tight sets in Beijing. Before the Canadian tournament, Hercog has been the one who has been most active in the sport playing in three tournaments since Wimbledon, which was Ivanovic’s last appearance on any court. Despite not making a huge run into any of them, Hercog hoped that she could repeat a win over her opponent.
Ivanovic had a good fight on her hands in the second round where aside from winning in two sets, the fight from Olga Govortsova challenged through every set until she could close it out. If the sixth ranked superstar could handle the opposition, her confidence might just fly high.
She held serve in Game One only to see her opponent work her way to take control of serve and steal a win on the break. Ivanovic answered back with a break of her own equalizing the set at two each. Hercog maintained her level of aggression towards good movements and strong shots in return that forced deuce. After two breaks, Ivanovic held serve in Game Five to step ahead in the set.
The Serb edged Hercog by three games as she held the serve during a three break contest on deuce from the Slovenian to play for the match. Hercog took a talk with her coach during the break to try and keep her alive. It didn’t help as Ivanovic swept through the eighth game winning on the triple set point that put it to rest in 36 minutes. Though they both had serve percentages in the mid 60s, Ivanovic had a good handle on shots to Hercog landing 13 of 23 and answering 74 percent of time.
After a brief tie at the beginning of the second set, the Serb jumped out on serve and dominated Hercog as well as winning a break to take a 3-1 lead. She continued to creep closer to the match winning a third straight on great stance and accuracy and well in control. Hercog got another notch on the board in Game Six causing the ball to break slightly forcing Ivanovic to play. The result was a couple unforced errors by the Serb who had only two games separating her and the Slovenian.
Hercog scored a triple break point on Ivanovic that put a game between the two as the Slovenian looked for the equalizer. She wouldn’t get, nor hold Ivanovic down forever as she broke out of the short downer to win Game Eight serving for the match. The former number wasted no time putting a grip on victory as she coasted through the ninth with a solid shot on match point.
Ivanovic’s win ended the match in 68 minutes, which ended a late night in northwest Toronto. “This is past my bed time,” Ivanovic said joking. The Serb finished her serve at 64 percent while winning more than half of the points.
“It wasn’t an easy match,” Ivanovic said to Caroline Cameron of Sportsnet. “She’s (Hercog) a big server and plays really well and it was a tough match so I stayed calm and played really well, executed well, and moved around the ball well.”
The all around focus for Ivanovic will have to be in top form when she plays against 18 year old Belinda Bencic of Switzerland in the quarterfinals. “Its gonna be a tough match, Ivanovic said about her match Friday. “She had a great run here. She’s a young an upcoming player and plenty to see from her in the future. I’m gonna try and do a recovery now and try to rest for tomorrow.”