Ana Ivanovic held off the fight from Olga Govortsova through straight sets to remain alive in the tournament. The sixth ranked Serbian held control in the late stages of the second to advance to the round of 16 winning 6-4, 7-6(4) on Grandstand One at the Rogers Cup in Toronto Wednesday afternoon.
This match was five years in the making and with both players on opposite sides of the spectrum, its unlikely to be different. Although the Belorussian has had more time on the court in the past month, Ivanovic came out fresh and ready to perform well in a high stakes tournament.
The 27-year-old Serb last saw action at Wimbledon where she fell out of the second round to American Bethanie Mattek-Sands in straight sets. Still sitting in sixth in the WTA top ten, Ivanovic will attempt to better her Round of 16 finish at the Canadian Masters for the first time.
Things didn’t go smooth on her opening serve handing Govortsova easy points before winning the game on the break. Ivanovic rallied back on Govortsova’s serve to even the set with a break point. After leveling up with the Belorussian, Ivanovic broke ahead with two wins that had her in top for. Govortsova answered back with a pair of wins to her name winning on the hold of serve to tie the set at three all.
The stalemate went to four games apiece before Ivanovic broke Govortsova’s serve to regain control of the lead and end the set in 40 minutes with a double set point. Ivanovic served below 50 percent winning just 10 of 15 and 5 of 16 on the second serve.
With another set to log in, the Serb would try to improve but expected another hard fight against Govortsova. That was the case in the first game as the Belorussian forced deuce to play through four breaks. She successfully gained the advantage before taking the victory to start things off right. Ivanovic fought back to win one of her own in a second straight game that was hard fought between both players.
Govortsova knew that she had to pick up the pace against Ivanovic or face a straight sets loss. Game Three was her moment of dominance holding serve and later breaking Ivanovic to lead 3-1. The gap only got wider for Ivanovic as Govortsova opened a three game span on her to have a chance at evening up the set.
Before she could get there, the Serb fired back to force deuce but after committing three double faults and playing through five breaks, she was unable to secure a win putting Govortsova in play for the set. Something seemed to be bothering Ivanovic that she requested a medical timeout to have her back checked out by the court trainer.
After a few minutes of evaluation, Ivanovic returned to play on still down two breaks. She won the first on an unforced error from Govortsova that went long causing the Serb to have a chance at closing the gap on her serve. She got it done on two service points to threaten Govortsova in the tenth. Ivanovic gave herself a chance to steal the match winning the break on the Belorussian to force three more games at most to be played to determine a winner.
Govortsova would serve for a third time to stay alive in the match as she took an important win from Ivanovic keeping her away from opportunities. The key would be Game 12 where Govortsova had control of serve but not the way it would be conducted. The Serb opened up a double break point opportunity but lost it as Govortsova forced deuce to try and win it outright. After firing a ball long, she put Ivanovic on the advantage then handed her the win with a shot into the net.
The pivotal tiebreak commenced with everything on the line for the Belorussian as a much needed win would keep her in the match as well as putting pressure on her counterpart. That opportunity began to look bleak as Ivanovic rallied out to a 4-1 lead in the tiebreak.
Govortsova picked up an important point but it would be the last as Ivanovic got to a 6-2 lead to play for it all. She dropped the next two points making it a double match point chance to end it once and for all. Ivanovic made a great shot on the return sending the ball away from Govortsova ending her fight in 1 hour and 53 minutes.
The numbers at the end of the match were quite lopsided with Govortsova serving much better than Ivanovic. The difference maker was in the points won while on serve which was where the Serb made her efforts count winning 30 of 46 and 31 of 54 on the return.
Ivanovic will need to improve her talents before she plays against Polona Hercog of Slovenia on Thursday.