Ana emerged as a rising grand slam star

Ana emerged as a rising grand slam star

ANA Ivanovic yesterday emerged as a rising grand slam star as she plunged Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo's Australian Open aspirations into disarray.

Ana eliminated WTA Championships winner Mauresmo 6-3 7-5 from the Sydney International to again raise questions over Mauresmo's notorious fragility.
Ranked 18 places lower than her opponent, Ivanovic, of Serbia and Montenegro, drove world No. 3 Mauresmo to distraction with a thumping forehand -- and telling self-belief.

Rusty after a break, Mauresmo was playing her first match since holidaying in Tahiti.

But there were no such problems for Belgians Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin-Hardenne as the pair adjusted quickly to the conditions with a mental application absent from Mauresmo's performance.

"I probably would have needed at least one match before playing against her (Ivanovic)," Mauresmo said.

"She played better than me today. She's playing well. She's been playing well for the last few months. That's the way it is."

Mauresmo will now rely on doubles competition with Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova to prepare for Melbourne Park, where she was a finalist in 1999 -- and when a grand slam title seemed imminent.

Seven years on, Mauresmo is still searching for that major. She moved a step closer to fulfilling her potential with victory in the season-ending championships in Los Angeles in November.

Ivanovic, who spends the off-season with family in Melbourne, earned a tilt at US Open winner Kuznetsova by crashing 28 winners, mostly forehand, past Mauresmo.

Already one of the sport's most marketable players, Ivanovic demonstrated her win over Mauresmo at the French Open was anything but a fluke.

Ivanovic was earmarked as a future threat by former world No. 1 Henin-Hardenne.

"She's (Ivanovic) improving so much," the Belgian said after trouncing Russian Vera Dushevina 6-2 6-2. "She had a great season last year, so it's probably not a big, big surprise.

"She's a very good player and she's still very young, so we're gonna have to deal with her in the next few years."
- Leo Schlink, Herald Sun