“I thought it was tough match,” said Ana. “She played extremely well. She didn’t give me much.”

Ana Ivanovic was upset 3-6, 6-4, 10-8 by world No.49 Ekatarina Makarova in the first round of the Australian Open in Melbourne. The nail-biting contest lasted almost three hours as the 23-year-old saved five match points before falling to an emotional defeat. Both players hit with fantastic depth from the very beginning, with the winners were mounting on both sides. Ana, a former finalist in Melbourne, was serving very well and was often rewarded with an easy ball to put away with her second stroke. The 19th seed was solid throughout the first set, hitting 16 winners and just seven unforced errors. She clinched the set in just 31 minutes, after a break to love in the fourth game, and without facing a break point herself. Ana held leads of 15-40 on Makarova’s serve in games one and three of the second set but, after she could not capitalize, her confidence appeared to dip and she became more passive.

It was Makarova who scored the first break of the set to take a 3-1 lead. Ana recovered from this break, but the Russian took the set when Ana netted an easy smash while facing break point in the tenth game. Similarly to the previous set, Ana immediately gathered some break chances and this time, she could make the break. However, the Russian showed fantastic defensive skills, taking control in the long rallies and reeling off three games in a row, twisting the 1-3 arrears into a 4-3 lead. Ana fought back from a perilous 0-40 scoreline in the following game, completing a crucial hold to level at 4-4 in the decider. At 4-5, Ana was trailing 0-40 on her serve and she had to save three match points. The first vanished thanks to an ace, while Ana produced one of her best ever second serves to prevent the second, while she fearlessly hit a winner in order to save the third. Ana saved another two late on, but the Russian continued to pull out wonderful strikes and she claimed the match, eventually converting her sixth match point.


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