Superb Ivanovic stuns Sharapova in Rome
Originally published on 15/05/14
The Serbian was in sparkling form as she won 6-1 6-4 to book her place in the Internazionali BNL d'Italia quarter-finals against Carla Suarez Navarro.
Not only is it Sharapova’s first loss on clay this year, but it is the first time she has lost to anyone other than Serena Williams on the surface since the French Open in 2011.
The last time Ivanovic beat her was at Roland Garros in 2007 when she was a teenager. However, the Serbian seems to be rediscovering her top form this year and pushed Sharapova all the way in the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix final in Stuttgart last month before losing 3-6 6-4 6-1.
She made her intentions clear from the start in Rome as she held to love and then broke Sharapova immediately – albeit with the aid of a hugely fortuitous net cord.
The 11th seed looked keen to attack Sharapova’s vulnerable second serve at every opportunity and won 13 of 18 points on it while drawing six double faults.
It took her just 31 minutes to wrap up the opening set and she continued her momentum in the second set by breaking in the first game.
Although Sharapova broke straight back, Ivanovic earned the next break to go 5-4 ahead with a delightful backhand drop shot and a sweetly-timed cross-court forehand.
She then sealed victory in style by stepping in and powering a forehand winner into the corner.
The Serbian will now face Suarez Navarro in the quarter-finals after she advanced with a walkover over the injured Simona Halep.
Li Na also progressed into the last eight after recording her first ever win over Samantha Stosur. The Australian had won all previous six meetings between the pair but could not keep the streak going as she was beaten 6-3 6-1.
Italy’s Sara Errani beat qualifier Petra Cetkovska 6-4 7-6(3) but Francesca Schiavone lost 6-4 6-1 to third seed Agnieszka Radwanska.