“Last year’s final was a great learning experience for me, so I am just so thrilled.”
Born in Belgrade, Serbia, Ivanovic planned her training sessions in 1999 around NATO bombings. And with limited facilities, practice
was at one point limited to an empty swimming pool in the winter.
After turning professional in 2003, Ivanovic became known for her powerful groundstrokes, specifically her overpowering forehand and
aggressive return of serve.
Today Ivanovic raced to a 4-1 set one lead by utilizing her forehand with great success but fell to 5-4
before closing out the set 6-4.
In set two Safina survived a seven deuce game and pulled to 3-4 with a backhand down the line winner. But it was the right mix of
defense and offense from Ivanovic which was more successful as Ivanovic time and time again ran down many of Safina's most powerful
groundstrokes which had befuddled her opponents in her prior to today 12 match claycourt win streak.
Safina committed three groundstroke errors to end the match.
“I didn’t have any more of that fire that I had in those matches,” Safina said. “I was just, I think, tired, mental and physically.
Even though I wanted to, my heart couldn’t and my body couldn’t do it anymore. If I had been just a little bit fresher, it would have
been different. With her, I had to be really aggressive. I was just missing by just a little bit and of course, she was much fresher.
What I had to do to her, she was doing to me.”
This year following consistent play including a title win in Indian Wells, California, Ivanovic is set to ascend to the top WTA Tour
world ranking on Monday.