By Romi Cvitkovic
In her first hardcourt match back after a foot injury, 12th seed Ana Ivanovic focused her nerves and handily defeated relative unknown Elina Svitolina, 6-3, 6-2.
Ivanovic hit her opponent off the court with 26 winners, but while her second serve has found consistency, her first serve is still hovering in the mid-30s — something that she has been struggling with for years it seems.
In Montreal earlier this month, Ivanovic lost 6-0, 6-0 to Italian Roberta Vinci in the second round and picked up a foot injury that amounted to be a psychological recipe for disaster for a player that struggles with confidence to begin with.
Her injury hampered her mentally, but she was quick to note that it happens to many athletes.
“It’s part of the game in sport, and I always joke because people say, ‘Sport is good for you.’ But we are always hurting. It’s hard on the heart, too… When you progress in a tournament you’re going to have aches and pains.”
A couple of days ago, fellow Serbian Novak Djokovic gave insight into why Ivanovic’s game has dropped since being at the top. She elaborated:
“Yeah, it is a lot to do with confidence,” Ivanovic stated. ” I think also since the first time I entered, the game has evolved and there is lot more girls that strike and they have nothing to lose. But [for me], it’s just not [having] the belief of beating those top players at the moment.”
She’ll have to work hard if she wants to accomplish her goal of “breaking into the fourth round and getting into the quarterfinals” here at the US Open. Not one shy about her “overthinking” mind, she said that she will “really try to focus on taking it one match at a time, because sometimes when you get overexcited, it doesn’t really work for you the way you hoped for.”
The big-hitter could have her opportunity as she could face Sloane Stephens or Francesca Schiavone in the third round, and an easier competitor in Caroline Wozniacki in the fourth round.