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IVANOVIC FIRST INTO QUARTERFINALS

2015-6-1


PARIS, France - Ana Ivanovic battled past Ekaterina Makarova to become the first player into the French Open quarterfinals, her first Grand Slam quarterfinal since the Australian Open last year.

It was a match of two halves, kind of - after Makarova jumped out to an early 2-0 lead and Ivanovic won three games in a row to jump back ahead 3-2, play was called for almost two hours because of rain.

When they came back on court the match was just as streaky as the beginning, Ivanovic eventually toughing the first set out, then Makarova striking back in the second set. But the No.7-seeded Ivanovic got back to her best in the third, cruising past the No.9-seeded Makarova to close it out, 7-5, 3-6, 6-1.

Ivanovic ripped a huge inside out forehand winner - her 30th winner of the match - on match point.

"The conditions were very tough. It was very gusty, and rain was coming at times," Ivanovic said. "I was really happy I managed to keep composed when we got back on court after the rain delay. Even though I didn't play very well in the first game, I served well the next game. I was happy about that.

"In the third I knew I had to step up my level, because she's a very dangerous opponent. She gets a lot of balls, and she was very aggressive on her down-the-line shots. I tried to take that away from her."

And it's not just her first Grand Slam quarterfinal since the 2014 Australian Open, it's her first French Open quarterfinal since the 2008 French Open - the year she went all the way to the title, and No.1.

"Amazing, really," Ivanovic said. "To be honest, coming into the tournament I didn't really expect this at all. But I really worked hard for each match. I worked hard even before the tournament to reach the quarterfinals here again. And it feels amazing - I'm very proud the way I played in the third set.

"On the one hand, it feels like a different life since the last time I was in the quarterfinals. But on the other hand, I feel like time is really flying. I feel like it hasn't been that many years since then.

"But I definitely do have the feeling that it's amazing."

Awaiting Ivanovic in the quarterfinals is No.19 seed Elina Svitolina, who edged No.29 seed Alizé Cornet in a dramatic finish on Court Philippe Chatrier, needing six match points to prevail, 6-2, 7-6(9).

Ivanovic has beaten Svitolina in all six of their previous meetings, five in straight sets.

"I honestly haven't watched her throughout this tournament, and obviously she's been improving her form each match," Ivanovic said. "We played in Madrid just a few weeks ago. She's a young player and I have been speaking about her for a long time. I think we are going to see plenty of her in the future.

"It's going to be a tough match. Anyone who gets to the quarterfinals deserves the spot."



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