Not only has Ana Ivanovic returned to the Top 10 in the world rankings with her second round victory on Thursday evening, she earned another fascinating encounter with the tournament’s top seed, Serena Williams, whom she has already upset once so far this season. The Serbian star earned that staggering upset over Williams at the Australian Open, putting a dent in the American’s previously untainted head-to-head record. The Serena Williams vs Ivanovic Head to Head stands at 5-1.
Following the extraordinary “virus” that kept Williams out of the public eye for the majority of July, the top seed eased her way back into professional competition with a straight sets win over Karolina Pliskova. The 2011 and 2012 champion at the Bank of the West Classic fired 9 aces and 29 winners to secure the 7-5, 6-2 victory.
“I was playing a player I knew was going to be very difficult to break, so it was really important for me to be super focused on my serve today,” Williams said. “I’m still taking it a match at a time though – I’m just worried about doing what I want to do and what I’ve been practicing on the court. But I wasn’t feeling any nerves today. I felt good. And I felt fine physically.”
The following evening saw Ana Ivanovic ease past Canadian qualifier Carol Zhao 6-1, 6-1 in 54 minutes. Ivanovic hit 3 aces and won 5 of 6 break points to secure her return to the Top 10 in the world rankings when they are updated on Monday.
This marks the seventh time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour with Williams leading the series with a dominant 5-1 record. She also won the most recent encounter in Rome, which took place on clay. Their last hard court meeting went to Ivanovic, who rallied from a set down to upset the odds-on favourite in Melbourne. While the Serb may not be victorious tomorrow, she will certainly give Williams a tough match and should serve as a litmus test for the American ahead of the US Open.
Prediction: Ana Ivanovic in Three Sets