Tennis Server ATP/WTA Pro Tennis Showcase - US Open 2010 - Favorites - Fish, Clement, Sharapova, Capra, Melzer, Ferrero
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September 4, 2010

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US Open 2010, Flushing Meadows, NY, USA
September 4, 2010
Editorial by Jane Voigt.

Jane Voigt Photo
Jane Voigt

Favorites
 
September 4, 2010 -- We all have them... favorites. The players we wish would win more because we like them and they've shone promise and, well, we like them.
 
Ana Ivanovic is one of those favorites.
 
Her run to the title at the French Open in 2008 skyrocketed the Serbian beauty to the number one spot in women's tennis and endeared her to millions of fans worldwide. You didn't have to be an Eastern European to relate to her storybook ascendance during the French that year. She lived out every club players' alter ego and every junior's innermost dream.
 
Along with that, the six-foot-one Ivanovic was lovely to watch. Her groundstrokes were smooth and forceful. She pumped her fist in a feminine way, not like Nadal who clenched his fist so hard his upper arm muscled into a twisted mass of flesh. Ana squealed after unexpected errors, too, twirling while hiding her face behind her Adidas visor when good things happened, like immediately following the last point of her first, and only, major title at Roland Garros.
 
Who knew she would soon slide down the slippery slope of the Sony Ericsson WTA Rankings, tumbling to 63 early this summer. But she did.
 
Her service toss went off, followed by her serve, followed by her game all the while dragging down her confidence. She changed coaches and she took vacations, but nothing reversed her dismal performance on tour.
 
After her victory in Paris in 2008, she lost in the third round at Wimbledon and the second round at the U. S. Open. In 2009, she didn't make it past the fourth round in a major, and suffered a discouraging first-round exit in New York. This year showed no promise either, at least from results at the majors. She was out of Melbourne and Paris before the third round, and she couldn't get past the first at Wimbledon.
 
At one point she turned to requests from fashion and beauty publishers. She modeled for European magazines, looking older than she should. She wore too much makeup it seemed. Where was the sweet tennis Ana. She dressed down for this year's swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated, too, but didn't usurp Andy Roddick's new wife, Brooklyn Decker, for the coveted cover spot.
 
Nonetheless, there lay lovely Ana all glossy atop a bed of pink tennis balls, her hair flared and framing her sweet face. The swimsuit wasn't so revealing that tennis fans could blog her to an early death. The pose enticed viewers and satisfied art directors at SI.
 
As the summer hard court season got under way, she took a wildcard into Stanford and San Diego tour events and applied for one into Rogers Cup. But Eugene Lapierre, tournament director in Montreal, hesitated, saying if he gave her a wildcard then a Canadian player would lose out; and, that Ivanovic had been playing poorly.
 
Unfortunately, that's not what he told Ana's management company and a Canadian newspaper. He eliminated the part about her poor play. The riff sparked a feud. On August 12, as Ivanovic played in Cincinnati and days before Rogers Cup began, Lapierre acquiesced. Ivanovic had the wildcard. But she turned it down, saying she had been treated poorly and didn't feel welcome at an event she won in 2006.
 
While this drama played out, Ivanovic started to win matches. She stunned Victoria Azarenka, ranked #12, in the first round in Cincy. Ana won her next three matches and then stood across the net from Kim Clijsters in semifinals. That's where she had another train wreck -- an ankle injury. She retired from the match after three games.
 
Her team hoped for a full recovery before the U. S. Open. Bypassing Rogers Cup turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
 
Ivanovic wasn't ranked high enough to get a seed at the Open (40), but she was optimistic and knew she'd made a corner.
 
"I feel a lot freer out there now," she said after her first round win over Ekaterina Makarova. "I feel a lot of good games resurfacing, which makes me feel good."
 
The upbeat Ivanovic next defeated a tenacious Jie Zheng (#21 seed) and then wildcard Virginie Razzano 75 60 in the third round.
 
"When the doubt creeps in, I have to stick with my game plan," Ivanovic said yesterday in her press conference. "In important moments, I actually believe that I can do it. You do it one match, second match, and then it starts to become natural instinct, as well. It's kind of coming together."
 
Next up for Ivanovic is some real heat -- the #2 seed and defending U. S. Open Champion Kim Clijsters. Ivanovic has admired Clijsters' career achievements and her decision to leave the tour to have a family, and then to return for personal reasons -- to see if she could still do it.
 
When Ivanovic's career skidded, Clijsters sent text messages and encouraged Ivanovic.
 
"You really know who your friends are in those times," Ivanovic said yesterday after defeating Razzano. "She's definitely a nice girl. We always have a nice time catching up."
 
Both women look forward to the match. Added Ana, "It's going to be a fun match, I think"
 
The change in Ivanovic's outlook is remarkable. In Toronto last year, her comments to the press were nothing more than talking points. She had no affect to her face. She looked tired and forlorn. She didn't smile.
 
"I'm grateful for my team," she said earlier in New York. "They stood by me throughout the time I was having trouble. I didn't trust myself. A little doubt caught up with me. But they supported me all."
 
Ivanovic has never beaten Clijsters, but their playing styles are similar. They hit big, move well, and are fiercely competitive. They also know how to right their ships when scores go against intentions.
 
Whatever happens, and the match will be a tough one, Ivanovic will have had four rounds of solid tennis to spur her onward and upward. Sometimes small steps lay the groundwork for big improvement.
 

 
[14] Maria Sharapova (RUS) {black visor} d Beatrice Capra (USA) 60 60
 
Capra Sharapova Scoreboard US Open 2010 Tennis
Maria Sharapova US Open 2010 Tennis
Beatrice Capra US Open 2010 Tennis
Maria Sharapova US Open 2010 Tennis
John McEnroe, Mary Carillo, Dick Enberg US Open 2010 Tennis
Beatrice Capra US Open 2010 Tennis
Maria Sharapova US Open 2010 Tennis
Beatrice Capra US Open 2010 Tennis
Maria Sharapova US Open 2010 Tennis
Beatrice Capra US Open 2010 Tennis
Maria Sharapova US Open 2010 Tennis
Beatrice Capra US Open 2010 Tennis
Beatrice Capra US Open 2010 Tennis
Maria Sharapova US Open 2010 Tennis
Beatrice Capra US Open 2010 Tennis

 
 
[19] Mardy Fish (USA) d Armaud Clement (FRA) {purple headband} 46 63 64 16 63
 
Clement Fish Scoreboard US Open 2010 Tennis
Mardy Fish US Open 2010 Tennis
Armaud Clement US Open 2010 Tennis
Mardy Fish US Open 2010 Tennis
Mardy Fish US Open 2010 Tennis
Armaud Clement US Open 2010 Tennis
Mardy Fish US Open 2010 Tennis
Mardy Fish US Open 2010 Tennis
Armaud Clement US Open 2010 Tennis
Mardy Fish US Open 2010 Tennis
Mardy Fish US Open 2010 Tennis
Mardy Fish US Open 2010 Tennis
Armaud Clement US Open 2010 Tennis
Mardy Fish US Open 2010 Tennis
Mardy Fish US Open 2010 Tennis
Mardy Fish US Open 2010 Tennis

 
 
[13] Jurgen Melzer (AUT) {white cap on backwards} d [22] Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP) 75 63 61
 
US Open 2010 Tennis
Melzer Ferrero Scoreboard US Open 2010 Tennis
Jurgen Melzer US Open 2010 Tennis
Melzer Ferrero Scoreboard US Open 2010 Tennis
Jurgen Melzer US Open 2010 Tennis
Juan Carlos Ferrero US Open 2010 Tennis
Juan Carlos Ferrero US Open 2010 Tennis
Jurgen Melzer US Open 2010 Tennis
Juan Carlos Ferrero US Open 2010 Tennis
Juan Carlos Ferrero US Open 2010 Tennis
Jurgen Melzer US Open 2010 Tennis
Juan Carlos Ferrero US Open 2010 Tennis
US Open 2010 Tennis
Jurgen Melzer US Open 2010 Tennis
Juan Carlos Ferrero US Open 2010 Tennis

 
Earlier Coverage from this Event:
 
September 3, 2010 US Open: The Virtual U.S. Open - Ryan Harrison, Sergiy Stakhovsky, John Isner, Marco Chiudinelli
September 2, 2010 US Open: Way Below The Radar - Roger Federer, Caroline Wozniacki, Kai-Chen Chang, Andreas Beck, Robin Soderling, Taylor Dent
September 1, 2010 US Open: The Word - Andy Murray, Lukas Lacko, Venus Williams, Rebecca Marino, Gael Monfils, Igor Andreev
August 31, 2010 US Open: What's Age Got To Do With It? Arnaud Clement, Marcos Baghdatis, Novak Djokovic, Mardy Fish, Jan Hajek, Viktor Troicki
August 30, 2010 US Open: And Away We Go - Melanie Oudin, Kim Clijsters, Andy Roddick, Olga Savchuk, Greta Arn, Stephane Robert
August 29, 2010 US Open: Who's In, Who's Out
 

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