Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic defeated Dinara Safina of Russia 6-4 6-3 in Saturday’s final at the 2008 French Open to claim her first Grand Slam title.
The world No.2 Ivanovic was successful at her third attempt in a Grand Slam final. Last year at the French Open nerves got the best of her and she was demolished by clay-court specialist Justine Henin. Ivanovic also played the 2008 Australian Open final, but Maria Sharapova was too good for her then. Today, however, everything was just right for Ivanovic as her nerves, her game and her bullet-like forehand worked well. Comeback artist Dinara Safina, ranked 14th in the world, wasn’t able to fight back this time.
Second seed Ivanovic broke Safina in the first game of the match, and then again in the fifth, without losing a single point. However, the 22-year-old Safina broke back right away, and then once again (this second time it was 40-0 for Ivanovic, but Safina won five successive points) to level at 4-all. Ivanovic then broke Safina once again, and served out the set, saving a few break points on the way.
In the second set Ivanovic made a crucial break in the third game, and even though there were many opportunities for the result to switch, concentrated and determined Ivanovic ran towards her goal and won the set and match with her powerful game on her first match point.
At the ceremony, Ivanovic thanked Safina, her team, ball boys (just typical speech), but no matter how fantastic she is at the moment, Ivanovic could’ve thanked Justine Henin for retiring. Otherwise, this Roland Garros and the WTA rankings would have been very much different.
En route to the title Ivanovic defeated Sofia Arvidsson, Lucie Safarova, Caroline Wozniacki, seed No.30 Petra Cetkovska, No.10 seed Patty Schnyder, No.3 seed Jelena Jankovic, and finally Dinara Safina, seeded 13th.
This victory is huge for the 20-year-old Ivanovic being her maiden Grand Slam title and it’s also special for her country as Ivanovic became the first Serbian woman to win a Grand Slam, and just a few days ago she became the first Serb to reach the No.1 ranking (she will officially become No.1 on Monday).
Winning the 2008 French Open, Ivanovic collected just over $1.55 million, and Safina half as much.