DUBAI // Ana Ivanovic needed four match points to close out her stubborn French opponent Camille Pin yesterday. The Serb was frustrated by her struggle to land the killer punch but was happy enough with her game to suggest that she can land knockout blows on both Williams sisters over the next two days. Speaking before Serena Williams went on court for the last of the third round matches late last night, Ivanovic - who was world No 1 eight months ago - anticipated an appetising quarter-final clash with the recently crowned Australian Open champion with the winner likely to face Venus Williams in the semi-final.
"I am definitely playing well enough to do well against the Williams sisters," the eighth-seeded Ivanovic said after her 6-2, 7-6 victory over Pin. "You always want to play against the top players. I have beaten Venus before and I'm definitely confident if I have to play Serena. It is a great challenge for me at the moment to play them." Ivanovic, who endured some tough times in the second half of last year, is now benefiting from the appointment of a full-time coach in Craig Kardon on a trial basis.
She had been working with part-time coaches for the last two years because she found the relationship with her previous mentor too intense. "Coaches tend to be too involved in all areas of your life and try to be a little bit too much in control," she remarked. "That's something I didn't like. "If you spend every day together it is important to have a good relationship. Last time it became too intensive for me. I decided to hang around for a while before getting a new full-time coach. Now I feel it is time again for somebody to have a little more control over me. I am really happy to see how things go."
Ivanovic, 21, is hoping that the influence of Kardon re-establishes the self belief that swept her to her first grand slam title in last year's French Open. "I always knew that I had the game to beat anybody on any given day, it is just that I wasn't doing it consistently enough," she said. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org