Monday, 16 June 2014 | MYT 2:53 PM
Ivanovic conquers inner demons with grass court win
Ana Ivanovic of Serbia celebrates her victory over Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of Czech Republic in the final of the WTA AEGON Classic tennis tournament at Edgbaston Priory Club, Birmingham. — AFP
BIRMINGHAM: Ana Ivanovic conquered her grass court gremlins at last when she won her first-ever tournament on the surface, a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova earning her the title at the Birmginham Open.
It has taken the 26-year-old former world number one from Serbia almost a decade to achieve, and the emphasis and consistency of her triumph made it appear more surprising it has taken so long.
The top-seeded Ivanovic did not drop a set throughout the tournament, the final took only 73 minutes, and the weight and earliness of her hitting - so perfectly suited to the slick, fast top - proved too forceful for all her opponents.
Strycova, an unseeded Czech playing in her first final in a Premier level event, had her moments, but was eventually overwhelmed.
She broke serve at the very start, almost broke back in the fourth and sixth games of the second set and saved two match points in the eighth, but often foundered because she attempted a little too much against such a domineering favourite.
Ivanovic’s victory was as much over herself, and her inner doubts, as a valiant but outplayed opponent.
“You’re waiting for such a result and now it comes and I’m very happy, but I didn’t expect it,” she said.
Asked for how she managed to win at last on grass, she said: “The biggest challenge for me at the moment is to be okay with not playing a perfect game, not playing a perfect shot.
“Even when opponents play well, it’s very important for me not to dwell on it, but just accept it, move on, and try to do my best each point.” — AFP