epa03385393 Ana Ivanovic of Serbia hits a return to Serena Williams of the US during their quarterfinals round match on the tenth day of the 2012 US Open Tennis Championship at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York, USA, 05 September 2012. The US Open runs through Sunday 09 September 2012. EPA/LARRY W. SMITH |
Ana Ivanovic may have won just four minor titles since her ascension four years ago to the WTA NO. 1 ranking following a French Open trophy, But the Serb insists in Tokyo that she still has the game to make a return to the elite.
Ivanovic, whose last title came almost a year ago in Bali, is aiming to advance at this week’s Pan Pacific even in Tokyo , her first event since a re-assuring US Open quarter-final which she lost to Serena Williams.
She said that self-belief still drives here: “It’s the only reason I’m still here,” she told Reuters, “I’ve already achieved two of my biggest dreams in winning a Grand Slam and being No. 1. The world No. 12 who owns 11 WTA trophies added: “I believe I can still be at the top level and winning Grand Slams. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here.”
Ivanovic said that she has improvement to make in her game. “need to work on my strength in the off-season, get a little stronger. It’s also confidence. Beating the top players can really boost your confidence and make you start to believe.”
No Roger Federer (did not play), Rafael Nadal (lost in the third round), no problem. Despite lacking two of the best players in the world, the Miami Open semifinals feature a pair of blockbuster matchups on Friday.
His slump--albeit a brief one--could be easily explained. The 21-year-old had to fulfill an offseason commitment to the Austrian army, so his November and December were hardly like those months for any other professional tennis player. Moreover, long-time training partner Ernests Gulbis split from fellow coach Gunther Bresnik early this year.
Three of the four highest-ranked players in the top half of the Miami Open draw successfully navigated their ways to the quarterfinals. Milos Raonic nearly made it four for four, but John Isner crashed the party. The result is a Thursday slate featuring Novak Djokoic vs. David Ferrer and Isner vs. Kei Nishikori.