For Serbian Ana Ivanovic, this was her second consecutive French Open final and her third stab at a major title. In the end, experience proved to be the key, as Ivanovic triumphed 6-4, 6-3 over Russian Dinara Safina to hoist her first major’s trophy.
Last year, Ivanovic was in Safina’s shoes as a first time finalist. Unable to deal with the magnitude of the occasion, Ivanovic quickly submitted to give Justine Henin her third straight title. This time around, Safina was the newcomer to the big stage and it showed. Dinara opened the match by losing her serve. With Ivanovic’s strongest wing, her forehand, on target, she got off to a double break lead 4-1. Yet, after venting in her native tongue, Safina quieted her nerves and made headway by winning three successive games to equalize things at 4 all. With this shift in momentum, the championship had the potential of turning into a real contest. But, in the next game, Safina shot herself in the foot again and handed the break back to Ivanovic. Still, as Ivanovic served for the set, Safina had two chances to keep the set alive, but was unable to capitalize.
Now beaming with confidence, which Ivanovic ostentatiously demonstrated with her customary fist pumps, Ana began the second set as she had the last by breaking Dinara in the initial game. Luckily, Safina immediately erased the lead 1-1. Unfortunately, Safina’s pattern of losing serve after breaking back continued and Ivanovic was once more ahead. Habitually with an explosive temperament, Safina had succeeded in controlling her emotions throughout the tournament. But, Dinara cracked under the pressure resulting in an innocent racket getting hammered. After letting off some steam, Safina kept the match close at 3-2 and had deuce on Ivanovic’s serve to try to level things off. But errors took hold of her game, increasing Ivanovic’s lead to 4-2. Serving at 3-5 to stay alive, Dinara committed three unforced errors to give Ivanovic triple championship point. The Serbian gladly accepted the present and with a forehand winner, Ana concluded the match to win her first major.
For both women, this was an unforgettable fortnight. Perhaps, after defeating three top ten players en route to the finals including new world number one, Maria Sharapova, Safina was emotionally spent. After all, Dinara twice overcame match point and 5-2 leads in the second set, once against Sharapova in the round of sixteen, then in quarterfinals against Elena Dementieva. Regardless, all of Safina’s hard work will be rewarded; she will once again be back into the top ten. For Ivanovic, this was a double coronation. By defeating countrywoman Jelena Jankovic in the semifinals, Ana supplanted Maria at number one. Today was just her crowning moment with her capturing the ‘Coupe Suzanne Lenglen’.