Ana Ivanovic couldn’t keep things in line on her side of the court as her run in the tournament was cut short at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Czech tennis star Barbora Strycova blew away the competition as her strategic shots and rock solid service won her a place in the semifinals winning in straight sets 7-6(5), 6-3 on Centre Court late Thursday night. Strycova’s forehand dominated 60 percent of the time on the Serb’s left hand side that had her unable to finish a tournament as a whole.
Ivanovic’s destruction of Simona Halep Wednesday left her in a good position to be the best player left in the tournament. The former number one had been impressing many once again with her dominating form on court and the likelihood of her winning more titles this season. Before she could think about the finals, a fourth meeting between her and Czech took place with her leading the series 3-0.
They last met in the Birmingham final two years back where the Serb won her third straight sets match against Strycova. Ivanovic mirrored the same score she once got against her in Linz back in 2011. With things looking up for the Serb, she could have another run like the last and move into the semis quickly.
It didn’t start that way for the former number one as she found Strycova a challenge early on. The Czech pressed the Serb game by game before taking the lead on breaking Ivanovic in the fifth. She opened her lead in the sixth with a brilliant love service as the Serb committed unforced errors in the process. She worked hard to level back with Strycova after eight that came on a fight on deuce where and a ball landing long of the court caused her to clench her fist in success.
When her chance came to win the break and the match, her efforts were cut short as the Czech rallied on serve to force Ivanovic into extra games. The Serb took the 6-5 lead in the set but her adversary brought the fight back pushing things into an important tiebreaker.
The fight was very tight with Ivanovic getting out front each time only to find Strycova leveling back. The Czech took the lead at 6-5 with the battle taking the game to the baseline. In the end a long ball from the Serb gave Strycova got the win ending a 57-minute race to the finish line. Things were leveled between the two players as their battle in the second set would go on to show no allowance of leverage.
Knowing that a comeback was necessary, Ivanovic opened the second set with great triple break answering shots from the Czech. It all went south for the Serb as Strycova attacked on both service and the break to dictate the early part of the set. After a brief tie through four, the Czech tennis star blew ahead by a pair of games that had her inches from upsetting and taming the Serbian’s game. Her consistency of winning points on the left hand side across court contributed to being in control.
Ivanovic had a lot of work ahead of her but produced a good win in Game Seven breaking Strycova’s serve and get within reach of changing the tide of the set. For yet another time, the powerful Czech dominated against Ivanovic’s serve winning the eight that set her up for assured victory. An easy path through the ninth came on a beautiful love service that put and end to Ivanovic’s journey in 92 minutes.
For Strycova, beating her Serbian adversary put her in a great spot to make a name for herself this season in one of the most popular WTA premier events of the year. She’ll have Caroline Garcia to go against in the semis that take place Friday night.