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Ivanovic finally back on track

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Originally published on: 04/09/12 00:00

When the Serb won the French Open in 2008 many predicted that she would rule the game for years to come, but it never worked out that way. Injuries, frequent changes of coaching personnel and crises of confidence all contributed to Ivanovic’s problems as she failed to maintain the momentum that had been generated by her triumph at Roland Garros.

In the 17 Grand Slam tournaments that followed the 2008 French Open Ivanovic failed to reach one quarter-final, but the world No.13 made it to the last eight at the US Open this week thanks to a 6-0, 6-4 victory over Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova. That earned an encounter with Serena Williams, who has won all three of their past meetings, including two in New York.

When asked to assess the last four years Ivanovic said: “There were some good moments and some tough ones, but it's a process. I understand it better now. There are times when you realise that it's exactly what it is: it's a process. You can’t have everything at the same time.

“You have to be consistent on practice courts and then in the matches. I felt I had that this year. I have been quite consistent at times. I put myself lots of times in opportunities for big matches and big wins, and I never managed to do that. Now I have another chance and I really hope I can pull it together this time.”

Although she has had some trouble with a foot injury this summer, Ivanovic believes she is playing her best tennis of the year. “At the start of the year in Indian Wells I felt I was also playing quite well, and then through the clay-court season as well,” she said. “But it was still lots of up and downs. Now I know the things I'm doing well and I know I'm on the right path and I believe in it a little bit more. I think that confidence is coming from that. So, putting it all together, I imagine I'm probably playing the best I have played this year.”

At least Ivanovic has not lost her sense of humour over her difficult times. Asked what she would have done about it if she had known in 2008 that she would go four years without reaching another Grand Slam quarter-final, she said with a smile: “Take four years' holidays.”

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