BOTTOM LINE – Winning percentage through French Open: 82% (27-6)
Winning percentage for rest of season: 55% (11-9)
It was a tale of two seasons for Ana Ivanovic – an excellent first half and a disastrous second half, the opposite of the reversal of fortunes experienced by Dinara Safina.
Ivanovic’s 2008 season began with an impressive run: the Australian Open final, the Indian Wells title, a maiden Grand Slam title at Roland Garros, and the No. 1 spot in the world rankings. But she fell apart after the French, going 7-7 in her next 14 matches, including a 6-1, 6-4 drubbing by Zheng Jie in the third-round Wimbledon.
A thumb injury kept Ivanovic out of the Olympics, and she entered the U.S. Open seeded first but low on match play and confidence. The Serbian sensation was stunned in the second round by 188th-ranked qualifier Julie Coin of France in an historic defeat – never before had a No. 1 player lost to someone ranked that low. Though Ivanovic did win Linz in October for her first title since the French Open, the second half of her season was an unequivocal disappointment.
Still, the 21-year-old Serb is likely to rebound at some point next year. Her game is still being fine-tuned and she believes she’s now adjusted to life at the top.
“It was kind of a new experience for me and to be honest I had to work on it because at the beginning it was a little bit hard to handle all of it,” she told the BBC last month of her 2008 breakthrough. “I have a personality that I’m more concerned about other people’s feelings and what other people are saying. So I took some time to work on that, and actually, [realized] the pressure I have comes from myself, from within, because I expect more from myself and want to achieve bigger things.”
And she did score some off-court victories during the second half of the year – Ivanvoic recently confirmed that she and fellow pro Fernando Verdasco have been dating since the U.S. Open.
To-Do List: Play all of 2009 like the first half of 2008