Ana Ivanovic holds 3 titles with 2 of them coming this year! At about 6 feet tall it was awesome seeing her power through the match today. Ivanovic is currently ranked 7th in the world and that ranking will go higher after the French Open. It's this 19 year old's first trip to a Grand Slam final where she will meet the most dominate woman on clay right now, Justine Henin. Henin has won 3 out of the 4 last French Opens and has done it in impressive fashion! All hopes of an all Serbian final were crushed when Henin demolished Jelena Jankovic 6-2 6-2 in the other semifinal. Ivanovic was an incredible vision of power and grace and she'll need all of that and more if she has any hope of defeating Henin in the final. I'll be rooting for Ivanovic to win her 1st Grand Slam but Henin is such an incredible clay court player and actually great on all surfaces and the odds are really stacked up against her for this final. To win at Roland Garros would really be something special for Ivanovic. Just think of all the greats that never won here: Connors, McEnroe, and Sampras just to name a few.
Ivanovic when just 5 years old saw Monica Seles and immediately knew what she wanted to do. At about the age of 11 her dreams of tennis hit a wall when NATO warplanes began bombing sites in an attempt to oust the Serbian president. The sites were isolated though and she did manage to continue playing and used tennis to relax amongst the chaos. The most interesting thing about Ivanovic's rise to tennis greatness is perhaps where she practiced the game. An unused Olympic swimming pool in Belgrade. They drained the water out and laid down carpets making 2 "tennis courts." She says that the area was so small that you couldn't play crosscourt and had to play down the line all the time. :O And you thought you had it tough!
An edit to the previous related post: Ivanovic and Sharapova's head to head record was 1-1 before this match today. While Sharapova struggled with her serve throughout this tournament Ivanovic's serve kept gaining strength as she went on. Sharapova's serves were around the 95 mph mark for most of the tournament although she did step that up today reaching 114 on the radar. Ivanovic served very consistently and many were around the 113 mph range and she even delivered an ace which reached 117 mph! 117 mph! That's really awesome! When it came to nerves this being Ivanovic's biggest match of her career up to this point, there simply were none. She looked incredibly relaxed and comfortable throughout the entire match. Some players get tight when trying to close out a match but Ivanovic showed no signs of that at all. She was so poised out there. I'm really looking forward to the final! Henin the #1 ranked player in the world vs. Ivanovic. Henin is an unstoppable force on clay so I'm not getting my hopes up too high but I'm still hoping for a competitive match and if things go well maybe just maybe Ivanovic will raise the trophy when the dust has settled.