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Sydney, Australia (Sports Network) - Sixth-seeded Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova was among the winners during Sunday's first-round action at the $600,000 Medibank International tennis tournament.
Kuznetsova moved into the second round with a 6-1, 5-7, 7-5 win over Shinobu Asagoe of Japan.
Ana drops five places in the first Sony Ericsson WTA Tour ranking list of 2006, which is published tomorrow. The fall is primarily due to the abolition of Quality Points, the bonuses awarded for beating highly ranked players.
Ana herself may be too humble to talk about being one of the world’s best and most marketable tennis players, but the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour certainly is not – she has been named a Gold Exempt player for the 2006 season.
First of all let me congratulate you on a very successful 2005. I remember seeing you at the Australian Open last year and you have improved so much more now. Although the Hopman Cup may not be as big as other Tier 1 events, I hope it will be a spring board for further success this year. As history has shown, the Hopman Cup has been a good warm up tournament for many players such as Hingis, Seles and your favourite, Federer.
Ana Ivanovic and Novak Djokovic have failed to enter the finals of this year Hopman Cup despite their win over the Russian national team. Even though, just like the USA national team, they had two victories and a match score 5:4, a better ratio of gained sets to the USA team's advantage was crucial (12:8 to 10:8). The question who would be the finalist was settled by the Swedish national team’s surrender before the mixed doubles match with the Americans due to the injury of Thomas Johansson, which gave the USA team a place in the finals.
By Toby Forage; Fox Sports editor
MARIA Sharapova may be a doubtful starter for the Australian Open, but those more interested in eye-candy than tennis talent need not fear - eastern Europe has thrown up yet another darling.
Ana Ivanovic, currently playing for Serbia and Montenegro in the Hopman Cup and a former teammate of Jelena Dokic, beat the Russian darling to the top of a tennis fans' poll of "sexy" players late last year.
Adidas is pleased to begin a new partnership with Ana Ivanovic at the 2006 Hopmann Cup. "Ana has a bright future in front of her, and she embodies many of the attributes that adidas believes are important to long term success, both on-court and off-court; passion, respect, sense of fair play and giving back to the sport and its fans. We look forward to working together with Ana on product and promotional ideas that will support her desire to reach the upper echelon of professional womens' tennis and adidas' ambition to be the leading tennis brand in the world."
Serbia & Montenegro keep Hopman hopes alive Victory in the doubles gave Serbia & Montenegro a 2-1 win over Sweden in round-robin play at the Hopman Cup in Perth on Monday.
The tie had been level after both singles matches, but Serbia & Montenegro triumphed in the mixed doubles, winning in straight sets 6-2, 6-4.
Ana Ivanovic had put Serbia & Montenegro ahead after overwhelming Sofia Arvidsson 6-3, 6-1 in just 43 minutes.
Despite dropping her serve in the opening game after leading 40-0, Ivanovic dominated the rest of the match.
The powerful American doubles combination of Lisa Raymond and Taylor Dent notched an impressive first-up victory in the $1-million ITF mixed teams championship when they downed newcomers Serbia & Montenegro two rubbers to one at Perth’s Burswood Dome.
After the singles had been split, with Serbia’s rising young star Ana Ivanovic beating Raymond and Dent levelling up with a similarly-impressive win over Novak Djokovic, the mixed doubles went USA’s way,7-6 (7/3), 6-2.
Serbia's Ana Ivanovic was named the Sexiest Women Player of 2005 in Tennisreporters.net inaugural fans poll.
"I'm very honored that fans voted for me for this award," said Ivanovic, the 18-year-old who finished 2005 ranked a career high No. 16.
"Although very flattering, I know that all these awards are ultimately based upon my tennis results and therefore I am very pleased to be receiving them. My fans mean a lot to me and I appreciate all of their support."