Ana Ivanovic earned her first trophy on grass and she did it in style – at the Premier-level AEGON Classic in Birmingham, without dropping more than five games in each of her five matches leading to the $120,000 title. After a first-round bye, the top-seeded Ivanovic defeated Mona Barthel 6-4 6-1, then Lauren Davis 6-1 6-1 in the third round, sixth seed Klara Koukalova 6-1 6-4 in the quarterfinals, ninth seed Zhang Shuai 6-2 6-2 in the semis, and finally unseeded Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-3 6-2.
Ivanovic was so solid at the Wimbledon tune-up, that even when Zahlavova Strycova started the match with a break, I didn’t see it as a threat to Ivanovic’s excellent week, and I was right. Ivanovic broke back immediately, stormed to a 4-1 lead and never looked back. It seemed that early coaching at 2-1 from Nemanja Kontic, who advised Ivanovic to play low and aggressive, helped the Serb get collected and bring her best game. In the second set, Ivanovic broke Zahlavova Strycova’s serve in the third and fifth games to lead 4-1, then held her serve at love twice and cruised to victory.
Wearing her wonderful blue Adidas dress for the last time before turning to the Wimbledon whites, Ivanovic won her fourteenth career title and will now have a week off before starting her campaign at the grasscourt Grand Slam. (photo: Jimmie48)