Ana Ivanovic from Serbia wins her first Grand Slam!
The new queen of tennis will not forget this day, June 7th, 2008, as she reached a major milestone in her young career. Ana conquered her first Grand Slam crown at the French Open, as she beat Russian Dinara Safina 6-4, 6-3 on a cloudy afternoon in Paris.
It was the perfect way to end a dream fortnight for the 20-year-old, who will appear at the top of the Sony Ericsson WTA Rankings on Monday. She had secured the top spot with the semi-final win over third seed Jelena Jankovic. Justine Henin, former No.1 and a four-time French Open champion, gave her the winner's trophy. The image served like a metaphor: the abdicating queen offering the crown to her successor. Ana is the only winner who is at least 6-foot tall in the Open era.Ana got off to a perfect start, hammering unretrievable returns to break Safina in the opening game. She looked fast, confident, and used to a big-match scenario. The Russian, on the other hand, started to feel the pressure and double-faulted to give the Serb a 4-1 lead. From that moment on, Safina recomposed herself, adjusted her movements, took advantage of Ana's brief moment of hesitation and broke back twice to even the score with a backhand winner. Ana became aware of the danger and started dictating right on time, in order to get another break with a formidable down-the-line backhand winner. The first wouldn't end without a touch of suspense, as Ana had to save two break points while leading 5-4, both thanks to winners. During that first set, the 20-year-old converted three of her four break point chances. The second chapter did not offer major changes: Ana was still forcing Safina with her trademark forehand and the cross-court backhand. The new N° 1 won the best point of the match with a wonderful backhand touch after a series of lobs and overheads, and gained a crucial break to lead 2-1. She wouldn't lose a service game again, while Safina appeared to grow in anger and tiredness, and played a shaky game when trailing 3-5. Ana gained three match points and, incidentally, a mishit backhand gave her the desired win. "I still can't believe what happened!," said a joyful Ana. "The crowd was amazing, they've been a great support. I've got no words to describe that. Last year's final was a great learning experience for me and I could make it this time". Ana had lost her previous two Grand Slam finals (Roland Garros 2007 to Henin and Australia 2008 to Maria Sharapova). Now the four magic letters became a champion's war cry: Ajde!ва.