(January 4, 2014) Ana Ivanovic won her first title since Bali in late 2011 by defeating Venus Williams 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 to earn the ASB Classic tennis tournament in Auckland, New Zealand. For the 26-year-old Serbian, it’s her 12th WTA tour title.
Ivanovic had not beaten Williams since the 2008 French Open when she went on to win the title, her only major.
Ivanovic appeared to be in control of the match until she served for the title at 6-2, 5-4 when the 33-year-old Williams broke her serve for 5-5. Williams held serve and broke Ivanovic again to win the second set 7-5 to make it a match. Ivanovic failed to capitalize on two match points earlier in the set.
The second seed Ivanovic opened the third set with a break. In the eighth game, Ivanovic had to dig herself out of two break points to hold and she was not challenged after that.
For the seven-time major champion Williams, she was playing in her first final since winning the Luxembourg title in October 2012. For the past two years Williams has been battling Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease.
Ivanovic hit 24 winners to 47 unforced errors to Williams’ 30 winners and 64 errors.
“Today for me it was all about fighting, because I didn’t feel I was playing my best, Williams said. “I fought as hard as I could no matter what the score was, but I just ran into a better player today.”
“It’s amazing. Coming into this week I didn’t really have any expectations,” Ivanovic said. “I didn’t even think about making the finals or winning it. I just tried my best, and I felt very comfortable here. Today was a great match. Venus is always very tough – she’s a great champion and showed that again today. I’m just happy that after losing that second set I managed to stay calm and close it out.”
Ivanovic and Williams are projected to rise to No.14 and No.38 respectively when the new rankings come out on Monday.