WTA Rome: Christina McHale outlasts Ana Ivanovic in three-set battle

WTA Rome: Christina McHale outlasts Ana Ivanovic in three-set battle

In one of the first matches of the day, the American qualifier Christina McHale defeated the number 13 seed Ana Ivanovic of Serbia in three sets to book her place in the third round of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia for the first time.

philipmahoney
Aidan Mahoney

The 22-year-old American Christina McHale came from a set down to defeat Serbia's Ana Ivanovic for the first time in three sets in the second round of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, denying her older opponent a place in the third. The former world number 24 handed Ivanovic her second straight loss to an American, and the third this year, to set up a third round clash with the top seed Serena Williams.

Ivanovic wins opener in tiebreaker

The Serbian first opened up proceedings with a hold to 15, and since she was looking to break early, she then broke the American easily to get an early break lead. McHale, though, broke straight back, not letting Ivanovic consolidate the break, to put the match back on serve. The match then swung another way, however, as Ivanovic didn't take no for an answer, and broke straight back. But once again, Ivanovic couldn't consolidate the break, and McHale broke the Serbian once again, trailing 2-3.

Ana Ivanovic hitting a forehand at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia.| Photo: Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images
Ana Ivanovic hitting a forehand at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia.| Photo: Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images

McHale then consolidated the break, again putting the set back on serve with impressive play. The two players then traded breaks once more, putting the score at 4 games apiece. Ivanovic then held serve easily, putting her one break away from the opening set. McHale, however, held strong, and another hold of serve from the American tied the score up once more. The two players then held serve again, forcing a tiebreaker, in which Ivanovic took an early lead. And the Serbian never looked back as she took the opening set 7-6(3) in just under an hour.

Ana Ivanovic celebrating a point at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia.| Photo: Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images
Ana Ivanovic celebrating a point at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia.| Photo: Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images

McHale stays consistent and takes the second set

The second set started off the same as the first, as Ivanovic broke the American on her fourth attempt. It seemed to be a sense of déjà-vu for the Serbian, however, as McHale broke straight back, not letting Ivanovic get an early lead. McHale then held serve to 15 and then broke Ivanovic another time to get her own break lead. 

Christina McHale serving at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia. | Photo: Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images
Christina McHale serving at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia. | Photo: Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images

The players then traded breaks, making the score 4-2 in favor of the American. Ivanovic again broke McHale straight back with impressive play. The Serbian then consolidated the break, tying the score up at 4-4, and putting herself two games away from victory.

But McHale wasn't going down without a fight and held her serve to 15. Serving to stay in the set, Ivanovic seemed to tighten up, and the American took full advantage, breaking the Serbian to love to win the second set 6-4 in exactly 45 minutes.

McHale plays impressively to close out the win

The American started out the third and final set in fine form, holding her serve to love. McHale then saved a game point to eventually break Ivanovic on her first attempt. She then held serve with consistent play to consolidate the break and earn herself a 3-0 lead. 

Christina McHale hitting a volley at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia. | Photo: Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images
Christina McHale hitting a volley at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia. | Photo: Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images

The momentum didn't stop there though, as McHale won a marathon game in which she again saved multiple game points to break the Serbian to gain a commanding 4-0 lead. The American then held serve easily to 15 as she looked on course to bagel Ivanovic and win the match. Ivanovic, however, wouldn't give up, holding her serve when she needed to, to force McHale to serve for the match. And the American didn't falter, as she closed out one of the biggest wins of her career 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-1 in two hours and 15 minutes.

VAVEL Logo