A re-run of last year’s final in the quarter finals this time round as Serena Williams will be looking for her ninth win against Ana Ivanovic who has only beaten the world number one once at last year’s Australian Open winning 4-6 6-3 6-3.
As we know Ana is working with Nigel Sears again however what is a bit of a surprise is that Nigel isn’t with Ana in Cincinnati right now but is back in the UK commentating on BT Sport and even last week commentated on Ana’s match against Belinda Bencic in Toronto which she lost. It is interesting to see what changes/improvement we see from Ana working with Nigel over the next few weeks. She is only 27 and has had 12 coaches in the last 13 years.
Last week we saw a rarity on the tour as Serena lost only her second match of the year against Belinda Bencic in the semi-finals of Toronto and as world number one every match you play the pressure is on to win all the time. To play consistently throughout that pressure is pretty spectacular and she has been very impressive so far this week in Cincinnati with a 7-5 6-3 win against Tsvetana Pironkova and an even more impressive 6-0 6-2 win against Karin Knapp but faces a tougher test in Ana Ivanovic who has only had to play one match this week as her second round opponent Venus Williams withdrew from the tournament with injury but in the last round fought from a set down to beat Sloane Stephens in three sets.
Ana is a very good player and did have a lot of early success on the tour winning Roland Garros back in 2008 when she was 19/20 but has failed to replicate that form since but this year after 27 Grand Slam events finally made the semi-finals of a tournament again this year which is incredible how it took so long! Ana does have a good game however I don’t think she can challenge Serena consistently during a match despite doing it last year, it will be interesting to see Ana potentially mix things up a little on the court and maybe come to the net but has to make sure she doesn’t find herself on the back foot of almost every rally and get good depth on the ball.
If Serena plays like she did against Karin Knapp then there will only be one winner. The world number one was pretty much faultless in her match and served very well which is good to see after a poor performance in the second and third set against Belinda Bencic in Toronto last week.