FORMER world No1 Ana Ivanovic’s dramatic fall from grace continued yesterday when she crashed out of the Australian Open in the second round.
The Serb, runner-up in Melbourne in 2008, again looked horribly out of sorts as she succumbed to the unseeded Argentinian Gisela Dulko 6-7 (6-8), 7-5, 6-4.
Just 18 months ago Ivanovic was the toast of the WTA Tour; top of the rankings having just won her maiden Grand Slam title at the French Open.
Now she is out of the top 20 for the first time in five years, following a disastrous run of defeats last year, and has failed to reach the third round in six of her last seven tournaments.
But the 22-year-old is determined not to let her latest setback dent her confidence further.
“I am striking the ball better than ever, but there are still some areas that are not there for me to rely on in moments I need them the most,” said Ivanovic. “I just have to sort of keep my head up and try to improve and work. It just might just take some time, and I have to accept that, although it’s hard.”
Elsewhere yesterday at the tournament, men’s top seed Roger Federer looked in ominous form as he cruised into round three by beating Romania’s Victor Hanescu 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.
Former finalist Marcos Baghdatis pulled off a superb comeback to defeat 17th seed David Ferrer.
World No3 Novak Djokovic recovered from dropping the first set to see off Marco Chiudinelli 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 6-3, while sixth seed Nikolay Davydenko maintained his unbeaten 2010 by despatching qualifier Illya Marchenko in straight sets.
Defending champion Serena Williams thrashed teenager Petra Kvitova to set up a clash with 32nd send Carla Suarez Navarro. Fourth seed Caroline Wozniacki, who beat Julia Goerges, and sixth seed Venus Williams, conqueror of Sybille Bammer, also progressed.