Ana Ivanovic overcame a shaky start against Peng Shuai, winning 6-4 6-2, to set up a match in the semifinals of the 2011 Mercury Insurance Open at Carlsbad with top seed Vera Zvonareva. Ana stumbled early, falling behind 1-4 in the first set. She finished with authority, taking 11 of the next 13 games and the last 14 points of the match. It probably would be a good idea for Ana not to fall behind Zvonareva 1-4 in the semis. Vera won’t let Ana off the hook so easily. Should Ana win against Vera, the victory over the 3rd ranked player in the world would mark Ana’s biggest win of the year. She should have beaten 2nd ranked Kim Clijsters at Miami, but fell apart at the end as Kim stormed back to snatch victory from Ana’s hands.
Zvonareva, meanwhile, scored a hard-fought victory over big serving Sabine Lisicki, 6-3 3-6 6-4, to punch her ticket for the semifinals. She immediate broke Lisicki in the first game of the match and rode that to an opening set win. But Lisicki is resurrecting her career after coming back from injury. During a changeover at the end of the first set, Sabine was in tears as her father came on the court to talk to her. Sabine did not crumble once the second set started. Instead she fought back to take it from Vera, 6-3. The final set was a battle but in the end Vera squeaked by. Might this exhausting QF match work to Ivanovic’s advantage, with Vera having to come back a day later against a power player? We’ll see. I think if Ana comes on court truly believing she has a great chance to win, she could give Vera all she can handle.
Singles – Quarterfinals
(1) Vera Zvonareva (RUS) d. (12) Sabine Lisicki (GER) 63 36 64
(2) Andrea Petkovic (GER) d. (WC) Sloane Stephens (USA) 62 61
(3) Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) d. (8) Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) 06 64 64
(5) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) d. (4) Peng Shuai (CHN) 64 62