Serbian No. 2 Ana Ivanovic is finally through to her first WTA final in Birmingham, where she will face Barbora Zahlavova Strycova for the title.
Ivanovic needed only 58 minutes to defeat Zhang Shuai to secure her place in the Aegon Classics Final. She has now reached the final without dropping a single set, including her semi-final match, which she dominated for a 6-2, 6-2 win. Her Serbian opponent, who won nine straight games at one point during the contest, overwhelmed Zhang, who was coming off a win over Sloane Stephens.
“On grass it can slip away really fast, so I was a little worried at the start,” Ivanovic said about Zhang’s fast start. “She’s a great player and I’m sure we’ll see plenty more of her in the future. “
Now through to her first grass court final, Ivanovic believes she has the motivation and momentum for a deep run at the Wimbledon Championships.
“I played myself into the match slowly. I could have served better but I also did a lot of things well and didn’t give her many chances, which is important, as she’s a dangerous player. I’m just happy to play here. It’s great preparation for Wimbledon and I’m glad to have got so many matches in on the grass.”
It has been an extraordinary week for Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, who prior to this week had never been to the quarter-finals of Premier-level event. Now, she is through to the finals in Birmingham, where she will face the No. 13 ranked Ivanovic. She set up the encounter with NO. 15 seed Casey Dellacqua 7-6(5), 6-1. It was a strong showing, as she fought back from 5-1 down in the tiebreak to win the match.
This is just the third time these two competitors cross paths on the WTA tour, with Ivanovic leading the series 2-0 with a pair of straight sets wins on hard courts. Her more recent win took place over three years ago, and it will be interesting to see if an upset is in the cards for tomorrow. The Serbian star will be favoured to win the title, but bigger upsets have happened more recently.
Prediction: Ana Ivanovic in Three Sets