Saturday, June 7, 2008

Day 14: The new #1 grabs her first major

It was apparent from the onset that Ana Ivanovic was determined. After losing in the 2007 French Open final and the 2008 Australian Open final, Ana aka fistpumper Ivanovic made no mistake at Roland Garros. She triumphed over tempestuous Dinara Safina in a little under 2 hours, taking her first ever Grand Slam championship, 6-4, 6-3.

Though it was apparent that Ivanovic was the superior player today, this match was a struggle until the very last game. In the first set, the ever-feisty Safina fought back from two breaks down to even the set at 4-4. But Ivanovic, eerily focused and moving with a sense of purpose, quickly turned the tides and took the set by storming through the next two games.

In the second set it was more of the same with Ivanovic taking the early break and Safina fighting back to try and level the set. Battling personal demons, a crying baby, and a slugger with a world class forehand, Safina held serve after 7 deuces to edge closer at 4-3. But once again, Ana saved her meanest groundstrokes for when it mattered most. She cruised to the finish line, dropped her racquet and kneeled on the clay, then climbed up on a linepersons chair, hurdling the first row of spectators on her way to embrace her family and coaches.

A Joyous occasion indeed, and as NBC tennis analyst Mary Carillo said during the more tense moments of the 2nd set: "This is fun stuff." I wholeheartedly concur.