Steady Ivanovic reaches 4th round at Wimbledon

Jun 27, 2009 - 5:23 PM By CLARE LOVELL Associated Press Writer

WIMBLEDON, England(AP) -- Ana Ivanovic seems to have rediscovered her old form at Wimbledon, looking much like the player who attained the No. 1 ranking when she dismissed Samantha Stosur on Saturday to reach the fourth round.

Ivanovic has fallen to No. 12 after a number of mediocre result, but showed no sign of the nerves and self doubt that has crept into her game lately during a 7-5, 6-2 win over the Australian.

Instead, she pumped her fist with excitement and yelled encouragement to herself after winning big points on a sun-drenched Court 2.

"I played really well and I'm very happy that my tactics and my game plan prevailed over my emotions," Ivanovic said.

Now she comes up against perhaps the toughest test in tennis - playing five-time champion Venus Williams on the grass at Wimbledon. Williams advanced by defeating Carla Suarez Navarro 6-0, 6-4. Williams is trying to become the first woman since Steffi Graf (1991-93) to win three Wimbledon titles in a row.

Ivanovic seemed quite pleased with getting the chance to stop Williams.

"She's very dangerous opponent, but I think I have a great chance and I feel very comfortable going into that match," Ivanovic said. "I'm very excited. Two years ago I played her in the semifinal here, so I can take a lot from that match."

The Serb's ranking plummeted after she took over the No. 1 spot following her title at Roland Garros last year, as she struggled to deal with her new status. The top seed at Wimbledon last year, Ivanovic lost in the third round. She looked tentative and tense during her first-round win this week over Lucie Hradecka, needing to save two match points.

"To come back and win another couple of matches and play better each match, it definitely gives me confidence," she said.

On Saturday, she only committed nine unforced errors to go with 21 winners. Stosur saved a match point when trailing 5-2, but Ivanovic wrapped it up in the next game with a service winner.

The 18th-seeded Stosur said Ivanovic was able to punish her mistakes.

"Losing serve with two double-faults, you can't afford to do that against many players, let alone someone of Ana's standard," she said. "That's where the game slipped away from me."

Ivanovic went so far as to say she's playing better now than when she won the French Open.

"I think my game is probably even better than it was," she said. "I feel also much more experienced and much more mature in some way. I went through a lot over past year, you know, being No. 1, having some disappointing losses and some tough times. I think that made me stronger."

After reaching the summit of women's tennis, she said, the question gnawing at her was "What next?"

"I didn't know how to deal with it because there is no higher position than the No. 1," she said. "So obviously it's going to be setbacks, and you're going to drop your ranking. Then some doubt crept in and that's something that I didn't really know how to deal with, so I sort of started pulling back instead of just doing the same things I've been doing."

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