Ana Ivanovic will play Kim Clijsters in a second-round blockbuster after winning her first-round match today.
The unseeded Serbian looked right at home on centre court, outclassing Austrian Tamira Paszek in straight sets 6-3 6-3 in just under 80 minutes in front of an appreciative Pat Rafter Arena crowd.
“I really felt I played well and applied a lot of things that we worked on,” she said in her post-match press conference.
“Today I felt my forehand was working really good.”
The 24-year-old used the shot to great effect throughout the match, especially in the final game of the first set when at full stretch she ripped a passing shot down the line.
“Actually I didn’t even see the ball, I just felt like it was going to go in. It’s nice to hit shots like this especially in the first match,” a pleased Ivanovic said.
She then set up two set points with a backhand pass on the very next point, before claiming it 6-3 with yet another clean winner.
Aided by a wayward Paszek, who struck 17 unforced errors in the first set alone, Ivanovic toppled the Austrian’s serve twice to speed to a 4-0 lead in the second set.
Faced with the prospect of the match slipping away, Paszek started to open her shoulders and began striking the ball with the precision that has seen her rise to No.42 in the world, forcing the match back on serve.
“I felt I didn’t do much wrong, she came up with some really good shots and put a lot of pressure – she [Paszek] started swinging really nice,” Ivanovic said.
“I felt at 4-3 I had to raise my game a bit.”
Ivanovic did exactly that, steadying the ship before taking her own game up another level. She broke her opponent to love to go ahead 5-3 and then closed it out in style courtesy of an unreturnable body serve on match point.
All attention now turns to the tantalising match-up with Clijsters – the two will meet for the first time since their epic three-set encounter in Miami last year, which featured two closely fought tiebreaks.
Having met five times in total, it was the closest Ivanovic has come to toppling Clijsters and she is expecting another bruising encounter.
“It’s going to be tough … last time had a battle I think it’s fair to say. She’s definitely a champion and a great player.”