Sunday, January 19, 2014

2014 AUS OPEN: Ivanovic Beats (Injured) Serena in 4th Round

In the most surprising result of the 2014 Australian Open to date, World #1 Serena Williams lost to Ana Ivanovic 4-6 6-3 6-3 in the Round of 16.

Serena and her sister Venus Williams had pulled out of the doubles tournament on Thursday by saying that Venus had an injured leg but it seems more likely now that Serena's injured back may have been the culprit. However, Ivanovic played excellent tennis to bag her first win in 5 meetings with Serena. However it was clear to me (but apparently not to the "professional tennis commentators" on ESPN2) from the middle of the first set that something was wrong with Serena. Her offensive capabilities were severely diminished. The only shot she had control over was her serve, which she used effectively to win free points but she hit VERY few winners from the ground and was making frequent unforced errors into the net on the backhand side. At one point, Ivanovic had 19 winners to Serena's 4 on the ground. The only reason the match was close was because Serena blasted 13 aces. Ivanovic did an excellent job in return of serve, constsistently hitting deep aggressive returns, often shots that would be unreturnable even if Serena had been 100% mobile.

This result means that Serena has not won the Australian Open since 2010, having not played in 2011 (due to her life-threatening blood clots), losing to Ekaterina Makarova in 2012, Sloane Stephens in 2013 and now Ivanovic in 2014. In the other results, Flavia Pennetta upset World #8 Angelique Kerber, Li Na beat Makarova and Canadian teenager Eugenie Bouchard reacher her first major quarerfinal by defeating openly gay Australian Casey Dellacqua.

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