Power serve fails to stop Ivanovic

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Ivanovic AFP Ana Ivanovic of Serbia returns a shot to Sabine Lisicki of Germany during day two of the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California.

Stanford – Sabine Lisicki hit the fastest record serve on the WTA tour but it wasn’t enough against Ana Ivanovic in the first round of the Bank of the West Classic, while defending champion Dominika Cibulkova also lost on Tuesday.

The fifth-seeded Ivanovic won 7-6 (2), 6-1, partially avenging her loss to the German in the previous meeting at Wimbledon.

Experienced duo Venus Williams and Daniela Hantuchova also won. Cibulkova was beaten 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 by Garbine Muguruza of Spain.

Lisicki blasted a serve of 211km/h at 5-5. It wasn’t an ace because Ivanovic got her racket on the ball but couldn’t return it. The serve eclipsed Venus Williams’ record of 129 mph (208 kph) in 2007.

Ivanovic took full advantage of Lisicki’s weak second serve, winning 16 of 23 points, and although she had 10 break points against her, the Serb saved eight of them, while Lisicki was broken four times from just five opportunities.

“Sometimes just a few points make a difference and it helps to be positive in a tight situation,” Ivanovic said. “I did that today in the tiebreak.”

Ivanovic is playing her first tournament since hiring Dejan Petrovic as coach, replacing Nemanja Kontic.

“It was a lot of things on and off the court,” Ivanovic said of her split with Kontic following the loss to Lisicki at Wimbledon. “He helped me a lot, and sometimes these decisions are very hard.”

The Serbian next faces Canadian qualifier Carol Zhao, who was leading Yanina Wickmayer, 6-2, 1-0, when the Belgian retired because of a viral infection.

Muguruza played pressure-free tennis to down sixth-seeded Cibulkova, with the tall Spaniard using her strong serve to good effect.

“When I play someone higher in the rankings I don’t feel pressure,” the 28th-ranked Muguruza said. “This is a really fast court and that’s good for my game.”

Williams beat Polish qualifier Paula Kania 6-3, 6-2, and next plays fourth-seeded Victoria Azarenka, whom she has beaten in three previous meetings.

Hantuchova downed Argentina’s Paula Ormaechea 6-3, 6-4 and will face Muguruza in the next round. – Sapa-AP



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