After the 2008 French Open, Ana Ivanovic was at the top of the tennis world. She had captured the country with her dazzling play, her incredible looks, and her great personality. During the summer of 2008, she looked to be the new queen of women's tennis. Almost four years later, the exact opposite has taken place. Ivanovic has continually struggling at the big tournaments, almost always being one of the first seeded players to lose at any given Major Championship. Each year since 2008, Ana has showed signs of her 2008-self, but a lot of errors, especially on the serve, would creep into her game. After experimenting with coaches, hitting partners, her service toss, her forehand, and just about everything else, Ivanovic is finally starting to play like a Major Champion. After a fourth round exit at the Australian Open, Ana has played in a couple of smaller tournaments, seemingly gearing up for one of her favorite tournaments, the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California.
After rolling through her first match in California, Ivanovic needed to stage a comeback from 1 set down to advance to the fourth round. A former winner in Indian Wells, Ana's next opponent was the defending champion, former World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, who has been struggling recently. What was billed as a feature match quickly turned ugly, as Ivanovic was pushing Wozniacki all around the court with her dominant forehand. Caroline had no answer for the power of Ivanovic, who rolled to a straight sets victory. For most casual tennis fans, a quarterfinal appearance in Indian Wells for Ivanovic would be a success, but the Serb has bigger goals. Her quarterfinal match against Marion Bartoli figured to be a battle, but Ivanovic was on point once again. Her forehand was tremendous throughout the match, and Ana steam-rolled Bartoli for a 6-3 6-4 victory and a place in the semifinals.
So far in this tournament, the key for Ana Ivanovic has been to go for a lot on her groundstrokes, which can be some of the most dangerous in the game. Ana's groundstrokes need to be especially on target in her semifinal match against Maria Sharapova, who overcame Maria Kirilenko to secure a place in the semifinals. This match features to be full of both winners and unforced players. Both players like to go for a lot from the baseline. The key for Ivanovic will be to serve well and to get ahead in points. Once Sharapova has taken control of a point, it is really hard to fight your way back into it. This is a huge chance for Ivanovic, who would benefit greatly with a win this weekend in Indian Wells. After all, she is a Major Champion.