After struggling in her first match at the Australian Open since losing last year’s final,Ana Ivanovic finished with a flourish in a 7-5,6-3 win over Julia Goerges on Monday.
Fifth-seeded Ivanovic was broken once in each set but fended off five other break points before finishing with consecutive aces against Goerges,a German ranked No. 107 and playing only her fourth major.
Ivanovic lost the 2008 Australian final to Maria Sharapova,who is not defending her title because of an injury,and then won the French Open to move into the No. 1 ranking midway through the year.
But the 21-year-old Serb was bothered by injuries in the middle of the season and her form at the majors waned,going out in the third round at Wimbledon and second round at the US Open.
She and Goerges finished with a combined 66 unforced errors to just 34 winners and were called for several foot faults.
“I took some time to adjust to the rhythm and everything,to slowly get into match,” Ivanovic said. “I’ve never played against her before … never seen her play. She was hitting the ball very well.
“I don’t expect myself to step on the court and play perfect tennis from very first moment. You just want to give yourself the best possible chance and give time to work yourself into the tournament.”
Top-ranked Jelena Jankovic,who lost the U.S. Open final to Serena Williams and is yet to win a major title,had an easier time than her fellow Serbian. Jankovic ripped 27 winners against Yvonne Meusburger’s four in a 6-1,6-3 win.
“Today it was so hot,my feet were really burning,” said Jankovic,recovering from an illness that caused her to pull out of a Hong Kong tournament this month. “I knew I had to deal with it.”
Seventh-seeded Andy Roddick also was impressive in a 6-0,6-2,6-2 win over 31-year-old Swedish qualifier Bjorn Rehnquist in the first match at Rod Laver Arena.
The 2003 U.S. Open champion lost only nine points in the first set,sealing it in 28 minutes after setting up triple set point with consecutive aces.
Roddick,a semifinalist in Australia every alternate year since 2003,had 17 winners,nine aces and kept his unforced errors down to 10.
He came into the tournament as runner-up to fourth-ranked Andy Murray at the Qatar Open in Doha and hasn’t given up hope of winning a second major,despite the domination of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
“I’m 26,so I’m not quite over the hill,” he said. Another Grand Slam title “is what I’m shooting for.”
He next plays Belgium’s Xavier Malisse,who earned a 7-6 (8),6-1,6-1 win over Michael Llodra of France.
Federer,bidding to equal Pete Sampras’ record 14 major titles,had a night match later Monday against Andreas Seppi of Italy.
Third-ranked Novak Djokovic,the defending champion,will play Andrea Stoppini in the third match on center court.
Czech Republic’s Tomas Berdych,seeded 20th,beat American Robby Ginepri 6-4,6-4,6-3. Veteran Dominik Hrbaty,who guided Slovakia to a surprise title at the Hopman Cup international mixed team event in Perth earlier this month,beat John Isner in four sets.
Two other Americans went out in the first round.
Robert Kendrick lost to No. 16 Robin Soderling of Sweden in four sets and Bobby Reynolds went down in straight sets to No. 21 Tommy Robredo of Spain.
Women’s No. 7 Vera Zvonareva of Russia posted a 7-6 (2),6-0 win over Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova and No. 15 Alize Cornet of France beat Ukraine’s Mariya Koryttseva 6-3,6-4. No. 16 Marion Bartoli advanced with a 6-2,6-4 victory over Britain’s Melanie South.
Former fourth-ranked Kimiko Date Krumm,returning to the main draw of a major after a 13-year hiatus,was beaten 6-4,4-6,8-6 by 25th-seeded Kaia Kanepi of Estonia.
The 38-year-old Japanese player,who came out of retirement last year,had won three matches in qualifying.
On a warm,cloudless day,Ivanovic constantly struggled to find her form against Goerges,committing 10 unforced errors and three double-faults in the first five games alone.
With the midday sun playing havoc on serve tosses at one end,the errors continued to pile up as the two players swapped breaks in the first two games of the second set – Ivanovic double-faulted on break point.
After another double-fault,she shouted and pumped her fist after she fended off double break point while serving at 2-2,then saved another pair of Goerges break chances at 3-3.
Ivanovic then made Goerges pay for her lost opportunities,breaking in the next game for a 5-3 advantage. She slammed back-to-back aces – her second and third – to advance to the second round.