June 2, 2013 by Parveer Mann
First Serve. Fault.
Second Serve. Fault.
Match over. 2-6, 4-6.
It is as bad as it reads for Ana Ivanovic who double faulted on match point in a deflating fourth round loss to Agnieszka Radwanska to close action on the second Sunday in Paris. What looked like a favourable draw and decent pre-slam results (semis in Madrid) evaporated much like everything else has for Ana in these last five years.
O-fer against the Top 16
As the last match on Sunday, I was quietly looking forward to this one. We had already seen Roger Federer come back after being pushed to the limit, Serena sail and Tommy Robredo come back once again. It felt like a good match-up for Ivanovic against a player who has struggled on clay this year and someone whose power does not match her own. It seemed like a winnable match or at least a competitive one but sadly, it was neither.
The one thing I was unaware of until the match began was Ana’s horrible record against top 16 players in a Grand Slam since winning the French in 2008. Not only has she not beaten a top 16 player in a slam since 2008 but she hasn’t even won a set of a top player. It is an astounding fact even if you factor in that Ana hasn’t lived up to the expectations she created in 2008.
This loss for Ivanovic is nearly identical to the one she suffered to Radwanska in Melbourne and there has to be real consideration given to the fact that she will never be a final eight threat in slams again. The primary reason for the suggestion will always center on Ana’s consistency. She has constantly had trouble with serving accuracy (see the two double faults in the final game during her fourth round loss this year) and keeping her ratio of winners to errors low.
Ana’s had a stellar career (1 Slam, 11 WTA Titles, World Number 1 and over $10 million in prize money) that the Serbian star should have little regret regardless if she is ever a factor in a Grand Slam again. But for her sake, I hope she does have another deep run in her for the simple fact that she has been a good ambassador of the game in Serbia and abroad.
Highlights of the Tennis Weekend
It’s quite simple, the middle weekend in Paris belonged to the over 30 club. Serena, Roger, Tommy Haas and Tommy Robredo (twice) electrified Roland Garros and have put themselves in position to be a factor in the second week.