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LARCHER DE BRITO STUNS CHAMPION IVANOVIC

2015-6-18


IRMINGHAM, England - Michelle Larcher de Brito sent defending champion Ana Ivanovic crashing out of the Aegon Classic Birmingham in three dramatic sets on Wednesday.

Ivanovic had her chances, most notably when serving for the match in the third set, but Larcher de Brito was not to be denied, triumphing 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(6) after two rollercoaster hours.

Two years ago, Larcher de Brito upset Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon, and she showed no sign of intimidation against Ivanovic. The World No.135 came racing out of the traps, cracking two forehand winners to break in the opening game. Another ferocious forehand a few games later helped her to an insurance break, and, despite a belated fightback from Ivanovic, the set was soon in the bag.

Ivanovic struggled to make an impression with her return in the second set, but was rewarded for her persistence when a couple of trademark forehands brought her the decisive break. The former World No.1 cranked the pressure up another notch in the decider, pinning Larcher de Brito back to build an early lead.

However, with the finishing line beckoning, the Serb went back into her shell, twice surrendering a break advantage. There was time for more drama in the tie-break, Ivanovic saving two match points before finally succumbing with a double fault.

"It's an unbelievable feeling - it was so nerve-racking towards the end of the tie-break," Larcher de Brito said. "I felt a lot better in my game after qualies and beating a couple of good players.

"There's always pressure to come back as defending champion and maybe she felt that a little bit today. I just went in there with nothing to lose and kept going for my shots. I love the grass, it suits my game and now I guess it's my favorite surface!"



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