(January 19, 2015) No. 5 Ana Ivanovic, who led the women’s tour with 58 match wins last year, struggled with her serve and hernerves as she became a first round major upset victim on the Opening day of the 2015 Australian Open. The Serb lost to Czech qualifier Lucie Hradecka, who is ranked at No. 142 in the world 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Ivanovic had a positive start to her year in Brisbane, reaching the final and losing to Maria Sharapova.
For Ivanovic, she became the first Top 5 player to lose in the first round of the Australian Open since Jennifer Capriati lost to Marlene Weingartner back in 2003. This is Ivanovic’s worst result in a major since 2011.
“I think the whole match I didn’t really feel like myself out there,” Ivanovic said. “It was really tough for me to find rhythm a little bit. In the third set really felt like she raised her level.”
“There is always nerves in the beginning. I felt like I was maybe lacking a little bit practice this week. I had some issues. But I’m still, you know, I played okay in the beginning. Just I felt second and third set I really dropped my level.”
Ivanovic breezed through the first set in 21 minutes, after that Hradecka picked up her game controlled the baseline rallies putting the Serb on the defense.
“I’m happy,” said the Czech. “I still don’t believe that I am true. So probably in a couple hours I will know that I am in second round in Australian and I beat Ana. Yeah, whole times, it’s two hours after match, and I’m still smiling.
“In the first set I was so nervy. Of course, I have the feeling on the court that the court is so big. I couldn’t hit any balls in the court. When I went outside, I started the serve in second set, I think, Okay, it cannot be the worst. Let’s play every point and let’s see what will happen.”
This is the fourth time in the last six Australian Opens that Ivanovic lost after winning the first set. It’s the 5th time in 41 Grand Slam appearances that she has lost in the first round.
“It’s really disappointing,” said the Serb. “It’s probably the worst thing could happen. But still, the year is young and I really have to now sit and work on few things and just maybe try to have a different approach to this kind of event and try to see what was lacking.”
Ivanovic hit 10 double-faults and made 30 unforced errors. She has reached a mere 2 quarterfinals in her last 27 majors.
Asked about the role that nerves plays in her matches, Ivanovic said; “I think it will always do. I think it does with all the players. Just some people deal with it differently and play with it differently. I’m sure if I got through this round probably it improves. But it was just very, very tough. Like I said, in third set I really felt like she played great.”
Along with Ivanovic, seven other women’s seeds fell on Monday in Melbourne: No. 9 Angelique Kerber out to Irina -Camelia Begu 6-4, 0-6, 6-1, No. 16 Lucieto Yaroslava Shvedova 6-4, 2-6, 8-6, No. 23 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova out to Yanina Wickmayer 4-6,6-3, 6-3, No. 16 Carla Suarez Navarro, defeated by Carina Witthoeft 6-3, 6-1, No. 27 Svetlana Kuznetsova lost 6-4, 6-2 to Caroline Garcia, No. 28 Sabine Lisicki fell to Kristina Mladenovic 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, and No. 32 Belinda Bencic was defeated by Julia Goerges 6-2, 6-1.