Ivanovic completes turnaround with Bali title
Ana Ivanovic defeated Alisa Kleybanova 6-2, 7-6 (7/5) Sunday to complete her turnaround season with a trophy at the Bali Tournament of Champions.
After sinking to a lowly 65th ranking during a two-year-lull following 2008 grand slam success at Roland Garros, the Serb, who turned 23 this weekend, won her second title of her last three events to cement a major comeback effort.
Ivanovic earned a place at the eight-woman event reserved for winners of WTA International titles during 2010 by lifting a title at Linz, Austria in October.
The Serb knows she still needs to make improvements. “I need to get to the level where I’m comfortable against top players all the time,” she said.
“I feel very confident about my game and my fitness. My game is getting close to where it used to be. I’m playing more aggressive. I’m much more mature and a more complete player now.”
Ivanovic’s victory over Russia’s Kleybanova, who failed to complete an Asian hat-trick after winning Kuala Lumpur and Seoul this season, will lift 24th-placed Ivanovic back to inside the Top 20 for the first time in over a year.
Ivanovic won the last 11 points of the match and has ended her season with victories in 13 of her last 15 matches. She is expected to be placed 17th when she begins 2011, after claiming her third win from five meetings this year with the Russian.
Ivanovic won on a third match point after one and three-quarter hours, lifting the tenth title of her career with a record of 33-20.
“It’s amazing. I’m really happy,” said the winner. “It was such a good match. We both played some great tennis from the first point on.
“In the second set it came down to a little bit of mental strength. I managed to stay quite calm in these moments and I was very happy to close out the match.”
In the third-place final, Japanese veteran Kimiko Date Krumm capped her best season since returning from retirement in 2008, seeing off Daniela Hantuchova 7-5, 7-5 in just under two hours.
The victory should see her move to around 46th in the world rankings.
Date Krumm, who in August became the oldest player in more than quarter of a century to rank in the top 50, needed four set points to secure the 66-minute opener against her Slovak opponent, who has won three career titles from 10 finals.
The Japanese player was broken to love while serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set, but broke back a game later and held on to end her week on the Indonesian resort island with a win.
Date Krumm, a fan favourite in Asia who was once ranked fourth in the world, quit the tour in the 1990s but has made a successful comeback over the past three seasons.