Following a strong start to her season, one that almost saw her start the year with a title win, Ana Ivanovic will look to put forth a strong showing over the fortnight in Melbourne. The Serb’s first task is to dispatch Lucie Hradecka, whom she leads 1-0 in the head-to-head series.
With wins over Jarmila Gajdosova, Kaia Kanepi, Varvara Lepchenko, Ana Ivanovic found herself across the net from her main rival in 2014, Maria Sharapova. After another grueling encounter, where Ivanovic appeared drained from her earlier battles that week in Brisbane, was eventually downed in three sets 6-7(4) 6-3 6-3. While it was not a perfect start, Ivanovic believes she is in the necessary form to perform in Melbourne.
“Last year actually I also had a quite good start. But I felt this year the level was a little bit different. We played I think a very good match in the finals. It was really high level for the first tournament of the season. So definitely feeling good coming into this week. You know, like I spoke before, last year, especially the last three Grand Slams, I didn’t really do as well as I hoped for. I really want to take it one step at a time and enjoy because I think my tennis is at a different level than it was last year.
When asked about her back tape in Brisbane, Ivanovic did not shy away from admitting that she was dealing with some pain.
“But you always have little pains, especially in the beginning of the season. No matter how hard you work in the off-season, matches are a completely different story. It takes time to get that match fitness. A little bit different kind of movement. But I had the week to recover. I feel fit.”
Qualifier Lucie Hradecka defeated Yulia Putintseva,Yuliya Beygelzimer and Jovana Jaksic to reach the main draw of the Australian Open.
This mark the second time that these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with Ivanovic leading the series 1-0. The Serb won their first encounter back in 2009 and will look to remain undefeated against her Czech adversary.
Prediction: Ana Ivanovic in Straight Sets