Serena Williams has an opportunity to claim an elusive title in Cincinnati on Sunday afternoon when she faces Ana Ivanovic in the final of the 2014 Western & Southern Open. These two have already been involved in three entertaining three setters this season, this promises to be another epic.
Ana Ivanovic survived an almighty fright to defeat a spirited Maria Sharapova 6-2 5-7 7-5. Ivanovic was in complete control of the match, up a set and 4-0 before Maria mounted a trademark comeback. With the finish line in sight Ana tightened up whilst Maria began to dictate play. It was always going to be tough for Ana to regain her composure in the third after such an epic choke. However to the Serb’s credit she was able to regain to her composure. Up 4-2, Maria was in control of the match and looked destined to stage an astonishing comeback. At 5-4 Maria would serve for the match but was unable to finish things off, blowing two match points. Ana suddenly clicked into gear to take the third set 7-5.
The match was full of drama; Maria Sharapova was at her catty best. After dropping her serve at 4-3, Maria suggested the chair umpire should ‘check Ana Ivanovic’s blood pressure.’ A clear dig at Ana who took a medical timeout (which involved her blood pressure being checked) early in the third set for no obvious reason.
Serena was also forced to work hard for her spot in Sundays final. The world number 1 came from a set down to defeat Caroline Wozniacki for the second week in a row. It was an odd match, a pretty scrappy match but Serena eventually prevailed 2-6 6-2 6-4. Both Serena and Caroline struggled in their service games, both broken on numerous occasions. However, Serena’s serve came to the rescue right at the end of the match, as so often is the case. Serena will need to serve much better on Sunday is she is to break her duck in Cincinnati.
Serena Williams has a dominant 6-1 head-to-head record over Ivanovic, however the Serb has played quite well against the world number in all three of their matches this year. Ivanovic famously defeated Serena in the fourth round of this years Australian Open, Serena has since defeated Ana twice but both were in three sets. Their most recent match was a couple of weeks a go in Stanford. Ana dominated the opening set but Serena turned things around to win 7-5 in the third set. The schedule hasn't been kind to Ana; fatigue could come into the equation. However Serena has played a lot of matches in the past couple of weeks so she could be equally tired. Ana will be super confident heading into this match on the back of one her best wins in years. She returns Serena's serve better than anyone, I think she can get the job done here, so long as she isn’t troubled by some kind of injury (again).
Prediction: Ana Ivanovic to defeat Serena Williams in three sets