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Ivanovic has it all covered

The glamorous, if somewhat less than gregarious, 20-year-old Serbian beats Kuznetsova, 6-4, 6-3, to win women's title at Pacific Life Open.

March 24, 2008|Bill Dwyre | Times Staff Writer

The Serbian with the cover girl looks continued to demonstrate Sunday that she can play, too.

Ana Ivanovic, 20 years old and already No. 2 in the world, won the women's singles title in the Pacific Life Open on Sunday, in front of 15,860 fans at a nearly sold-out Indian Wells Tennis Garden. She beat Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6-4, 6-3.

Ivanovic's looks, and sometimes even her personality, are discussed as much as her tennis. She was labeled as "more quiet" a few days ago by the other Serbian women's star, Jelena Jankovic. Whether or not that label is correct for Ivanovic, it certainly works in comparison to Jankovic.

Interestingly, Ivanovic's victory over Kuznetsova allowed Jankovic, who lost to Ivanovic in the semifinals, to move past Kuznetsova to No. 3 in the rankings.

On the day Jankovic called her fellow Serbian star "more quiet" and said that she, Jankovic, tended "to speak my mind a lot," Jankovic spoke her mind a lot.

She charmed the press with descriptions of her shopping tendencies (a $4,000 Louis Vuitton purse, bought when she was with her father because her mother would never let her get away with that).

"I like to swipe my card," she said.

Also, she talked about the land she bought recently in Rancho Santa Fe. (She told reporters where it was, then told them they couldn't write that, then invited them to come for a party once her house was built, then told them they couldn't get in because it was a gated community.)

Ivanovic, three years younger than Jankovic, is certainly direct, if not as flamboyant as her countrywoman.

"I'm a big fighter and I hate to lose," Ivanovic said Sunday. ". . . I felt I was doing much better as I progressed here. . . . I didn't get upset about some mistakes that I would usually get upset about."

She didn't make many in the final. She got her first serve in 71% of the time, had 30 winners to Kuznetsova's 14 and was better in aces hit, 5-0.

Ivanovic got the service break in the second set at 3-3, then served it to 5-3 with a quick love game.

Serving to stay in the match, Kuznetsova double-faulted to love-30, then Ivanovic got it to match point, 15-40, with a cross-court backhand winner. On her second match point, she took Kuznetsova's 92-mph serve and slapped a forehand winner.

Ivanovic entered the tournament with year-to-date earnings of $664,690, much of that from her second-place finish to Maria Sharapova at the Australian Open in January. Sunday's winner's check of $332,000 left her just shy of being a three-month millionaire, with $996,690.

Kuznetsova made $163,000 for her No. 2 finish, a spot that has become quite familiar to her. She could easily become a poster person for Avis.

The 2004 U.S. Open champion, Kuznetsova has now lost eight of her last nine finals on the WTA tour. The one she won in the streak was last August at New Haven, Conn., when her opponent defaulted midway through the match.

"It's not that it is the finals," she said. "It's just she played better than me. That's it."


The final attendance for this two-week event was 331,269, about 28,000 above last year's record. This is the best-attended non-Grand Slam tennis event in the world.


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