Ivanovic fights from a break down to win opener
This was the first meeting between the two players, and the match started off well for the 19-year-old as she held her first service game easily. The young American seemed to move flawlessly on the red clay of Madrid, her topspin groundstrokes and consistent serve helping her. Ivanovic, though, has also had success on clay, her only Grand Slam title being the French Open, and an ace and a forehand winner from the 28-year-old helped her get the match on level terms.
Multiple backhand errors from Ivanovic then helped the American hold serve with the loss of just one point. Both players prefer the red clay surface, and it showed as they brought their best tennis to the table. The former world number one then also held her serve to love, a forehand sailing long from Chirico to seal the deal. Ivanovic, though, seemed to have had enough, four winners from the Serb in a row helped her get the first break of the match to love.
Chirico would then respond exellently, breaking the Serbian straight back to level the match at 3-3. It looked to be Ivanovic who would break straight back as she earned herself a break point on the American's serve. But Chirico was looking to stay level, and Ivanovic gifted her the game with a couple of loose errors to make it 4-3 in favor of Chirico. Ivanovic then looked to hold her own serve as well, but unforced errors from the Serb got her from game point to break point, and a double fault handed Chirico the break.
Nerves started to get the better of her now, though, and Ivanovic took full advantage to break to love and get the set back on serve. The match looked to be headed to the second set as Chirico was rewarded a set point. But a huge serve and a high-quality forehand helped Ivanovic save the set point, and ultimately win the game. All hopes of winning the set were gone for Chirico, as fantastic returns off the qualifier's serve put her one hold away from the opening set. The former Frech Open champion then took the first set 7-5 in 50 minutes time, as the American missed yet another backhand volley.
Chirico sweeps through second set
The beginning of the second set saw the American only hitting to the Ivanovic backhand, as her coach had told her to do. She held her first service game of the set relativily easily, forcing Ivanovic to make the error. It didn't get any better for the Serbian, though, as she failed to hold her serve as Chirirco broke on her first opportunity. She then held her serve to love as Ivanovic couldn't seem to make a ball, or even a return, inside the court. It was obvious that there would no revival from the Serbian, as she lost her serve, only winning one point while Chirico broke for the second straight time.
The American then kept the momentum firmly in her grasp as she consolidated the break for a very commanding 5-0 lead. A tight service game followed from the world number 17, but she managed to avoid the bagel and get her first game on the board. Chirico, though, wasn't going to let up on the Serbian, and closed out the set 6-1 in just under half an hour.
Chirico Comes Back From A Break Down To Win Third Set
Chirico looked to be starting the third set where she had left off in the second, utilizing her powerful topsin shots to get a 15-40 lead, and two break points, on the Ivanovic serve. But Ivanovic wasn't going down without a fight, and fought back to win the game and maintain a one game lead. Ivanovic then seemed to be back in the match, as she broke Chirico on her second attempt to get a break lead.
Chirico, though, wasn't going away, and only dropped one point in breaking the Serbian's serve straight back. She then won a tight service game to tie the set up at 2-2. Knowing that she couldn't afford to lose serve, Ivanovic then saved another break point to stay on serve and get a one game lead 3-2.
Chirico then held an easy service game, her consistency too much for Ivanovic to handle as error after error came off the Ivanovic racquet. The Serb then looked as if she was going to hold an easy service game as she was up 40-15, but her shots couldn't seem to find the court as Chirico won five straight points to break Ivanovic to get a break lead. The American then consolidated the break as the Serbian tennis star couldn't deal with Chirico's tactical plays.
Serving to stay in the match at 3-5, Ivanovic got a 40-15 lead, but again squandered it as she handed Chirico a match point. She then saved two straight match points with fantastic forehands and serves, not wanting to go packing just yet. But in the end, her serve would let her down, as she hit two double-faults to hand Chirico the biggest win of her career, 5-7, 6-1, 6-3, in just over two hours.
Next up for the American qualifier is Victoria Azarenka, who defeated Alize Cornet 6-3, 6-2 this hot afternoon in the Spanish capital. Victoria Azarenka won Indian Wells and the Miami Open this March. Expect both players to try to work out the points and try to make their opponents move a lot around the hot red clay.