Ivanovic wins Bali title

Sun, 07 Nov 11:22:00 2010

Ana Ivanovic ended the season on a positive note by defeating Alisa Kleybanova 6-2 7-6(5) in the final of the Tournament of Champions in Bali, giving

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the former world number one a second tournament victory in three events.

The 2008 French Open champion, who slumped to 65th in the rankings in July, will rise back up to 17th after closing out her season with a remarkable reversal in fortunes.

That ranking remains a far cry from the top spot the Serb held for 12 weeks following her Roland Garros victory but after ending her season on a sustained high note she has reason for optimism heading into 2011.

"There will be some ups and downs until I get to that level where I feel comfortable playing against top players all the time, but I feel very confident about my game and my fitness," said Ivanovic, who turned 23 during the tournament.

"I feel my game is getting close to where it used to be and I'm even more aggressive, and experience-wise I'm much more mature and a more complete player now."

In August Ivanovic reached the semi-finals in Cincinnati before retiring against Kim Clijsters with an injury.

She also won three matches at the U.S. Open and beat Elena Dementieva to reach the quarter-finals of the China Open before heading to Linz in October, where she secured her first tournament win since triumphing at the same event in 2008.

"Having more wins under your belt helps build your confidence, but it's a long process," Ivanovic said.

"At one point I wasn't really aware of that. I wanted to have results and get back to the top straight away but sometimes it takes longer than you anticipate."

Ivanovic said getting to number one had actually been a hindrance to her progress.

"I got to number one and I thought, 'This is great and I have to play even better to improve.' I started changing my technique and the way I was working.

"It wasn't good because I had a certain rhythm and I lost that, and then a few injuries crept in and then you lose matches you expect to win. That was hard and I took it very personally and was very hard on myself and brought myself down."

The confidence she has regained was obvious against Kleybanova as she weathered some heavy hitting from her Russian opponent and served well, sealing the victory with her eighth ace of the match to earn her opponent's praise.

"She served so well, and even if I had some break points she aced or made a big point," Kleybanova said.


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