WTA Rome: Ana Ivanovic books second round place with straight sets win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

WTA Rome: Ana Ivanovic books second round place with straight sets win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

Former French Open champion and world number 16 Ana Ivanovic fended off the Russian challenge of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in straight sets this evening to book her place in the second round.

philipmahoney
Aidan Mahoney

Serbian tennis star Ana Ivanovic got her Internazionali BNL d'Italia campaign to a winning start against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, winning the topsy-turvy match 6-4, 6-4 in just over an hour and a half. Despite being down a break multiple times in the match, Ivanovic fought hard to break in the right moment to win the match in straight sets. Ana Ivanovic will now face either American Christina McHale or Italian Claudia Giovine on Wednesday.

Ivanovic breaks at right time to take opening set

With both players having mediocre years so far, it was unknown who was going to take this first round encounter as the players went head-to-head under the stars. Both women started off the match with easy holds, but that pattern did not last for long as a backhand winner helped Pavlyuchenkova get an early break lead. But the Russian could not hold on to the 2-1 lead as Ivanovic broke straight back to love, a forehand sailing long from Pavlyuchenkova to lose her the game. The Serbian then held for just the second time in the first set, with only the loss of a point to earn herself a game lead.

The 24-year-old, though, was holding her ground, and she saved multiple break points to eventually win a marathon service game to tie the score up at three games apiece. Ivanovic seemed to be on her way to holding her own serve as well, but a missed forehand from the Serb gifted Pavlyuchenkova another break for a 4-3 lead. Pavlyuchenkova, though, again failed to consolidate the break, and Ivanovic took full advantage of her opponent’s reprieve as she broke straight back. Ivanovic would then consolidated the break to put the match back on serve, and to make her Russian opponent serve to stay in the opening set. The former French Open champion, however, upped her game when it mattered, and a glorious backhand winner from the Serb sealed the opening set 6-4, in exactly 50 minutes.

Ana Ivanovic of Serbia in action during her match against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia. | Photo: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images
Ana Ivanovic of Serbia in action during her match against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia. | Photo: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Ivanovic closes out the win; books place in second round

In a similar start to the first, the second set started off with both women holding their serves easily. Pavlyuchenkova, though, would be the first to break, as she broke her Serbian opposition in just the third game of the second set. But Pavlyuchenkova again struggled to maintain the break, as multiple forehand winners helped Ivanovic break straight back for the third time. Ivanovic then backed up the break with a hold to 15, while her Russian opponent followed up with a tight hold of her own, tying the score up at 3 games apiece, just as it was in the first.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia in action during her match against Ana Ivanovic of Serbia. | Photo: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia in action during her match against Ana Ivanovic of Serbia. | Photo: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Powerful forehands from the Serbian earned her another service game as Pavlyuchenkova seemed to not be able to do anything as winners from Ivanovic came left and right. Sloppy errors then came from the Russian as she was trying to hold serve, which allowed Ivanovic to break at love with smart shot-making to make the score 5-3 in favor of the Serb.

Ana Ivanovic of Serbia celebrates a point during her match against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia. | Photo: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images
Ana Ivanovic of Serbia celebrates a point during her match against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia. | Photo: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

After being broken in the previous game, Pavlyuchenkova looked determined to turn things around quickly, or else she would lose the match. And the Russian did just that as she broke Ivanovic easily while she was serving for the match. But errors from the younger player handed Ivanovic a match point, and a double-fault from Pavlyuchenkova gave Ivanovic the match 6-4, 6-4, in one hour and 35 minutes.

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