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March 20, 2009

Ana Ivanovic


A. IVANOVIC/A. Pavlyuchenkova
6-2, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Tonight you didn't allow her to show her game, but do you think that Pavlyuchenkova can be a dangerous player?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, definitely. She can be very dangerous. She's been playing really well. She had a great run had week, you know, beating lots of top 10 players. That's very good and should give her a lot of confidence.
She's very young, and she has a lot of things still to learn and improve. She can be a tough player, definitely.

Q. It's been tumultuous with ups and downs over the last 12 months. How does it feel to be back to almost the site where it all began?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, I feel great. I mean, I've been really practicing well over last few weeks, and have good confidence, you know. During my practices. But I obviously wanted to transfer that into my matches.
That's what I've been doing this week, so I'm really, really happy with my performance.

Q. That was maybe the best late match in a tournament you've had where you've actually beaten someone decisively.
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah. I mean, I was really happy with my performance. She's not an easy opponent, especially -- she doesn't give you much rhythm. Going into the match, I didn't know anything about her. I haven't actually seen any of the matches she played.
Yeah, I just tried to do my game and to play my game and be aggressive on her serve, and that helped me a lot to be more or less on my service game and win a couple of them easily.

Q. So what's been working for you since you've been here stroke-wise that maybe wasn't working last month or the month before?
ANA IVANOVIC: Um, I just feel much more confident overall with my game, with my aggressive game and stepping forward, coming to the net often.
You know, before I had lots of chances to come in and finish points with the volley, but I kind of wasn't committing enough. And now I feel more confident to do that.
That's something that's been biggest difference I think since, you know, probably French Open.

Q. After reaching No. 1 and winning the French, why do you think, by your standards, you've struggled the back half of the last season?
ANA IVANOVIC: I think there's been a mixture of lots of things. You know, yeah, it took me a while to actually understand what's been happening, and for French Open and for position No. 1 to sink in and realize these kind of things.
Wimbledon I was really emotionally flat, and it was very hard for me to bring myself to that high level like I was at the French Open.
Then after, I've been struggling with injury. It's been frustrating at times, because, yeah, I was expecting myself to do straightaway -- when I was feeling healthy to play at a same level I was, but obviously that wasn't the case.
I needed some time to get back into competing again and get my rhythm back. That was really frustrating. Obviously after you have some tough losses you sort of lose a little bit confidence in, you know, in your abilities and the things you've been doing.
I haven't had clear picture about the way my game should be, and now I feel I have that back. I know what I have to do, and some days I may make more mistakes than the others. But that's the game that brought me so far, and that's the game I have to stick with.

Q. The way you talk about your confidence and level of play, where do you feel you are right now compared to, say, last year at your best?
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, I think at the moment, I'm physically fitter than I was last year, and my strokes are a little bit more powerful.
Um, there are still areas I want to work on and improve, and I think there is room for improvement. But overall, I feel a little bit better in all areas, yeah.

Q. And the confidence? Where's that at? Where's that at compared to last year?
ANA IVANOVIC: Obviously, you know, victories I had this week helped me with my confidence. Because coming into tournament I was very confident the way I was practicing, but still wanted to prove that once I was actually on court competing. Because it's different kind of nerves once you're out there. I'm really happy and I feel much more confident.

Q. What is it about the desert that you like so much?
ANA IVANOVIC: Um, I enjoy playing here, really. It's so relaxing. You know, everything is so easy going, and organization, it's great. We have a lot of courts for practicing, and I think the balls also fly faster here. That's something that I like.
Yeah, dry heat, I like playing in heat.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about playing Zvonareva and how you're going to approach that?
ANA IVANOVIC: It's going to be tough. I think she is very confident at the moment. She's been playing really well end of last year and the beginning of this year. I just -- I have -- I think I have, from the first point on, to be there and try to be aggressive and move forward, you know, like I've been playing so far.
Yeah, and it's going to be for sure a tough match, but I look forward to a challenge. It's going to be a good test.

Q. If you win this tournament, are you going to invite your hitting partner, Marcin, to Paris again?
ANA IVANOVIC: He's definitely going to come to Miami, and we're going to see, because he also has some commitments here and everything. He's been really good and really helpful. I enjoy working with him, like I was talking about.
Yeah, we will see.

Q. Can you talk about your serve? Have you been working with Craig on it? It seems like your service speed is up a bit on the first serve, and the kick serve seems to be working a little bit better, too.
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, I've been working a little bit on my serve, because I sort of lost a little bit rhythm on it. My ball toss was going all over the place.
Still, sometimes I occasionally toss it really bad, but that's something I've been working on, and trying to commit more and to jump more into my serve and put more effort, actually, in it. But I've been serving much better in my practices, as well. I still have to keep working on it and still get more confidence.
My speed, like you said, it's up, and I'm going for more of the flat serves than I've done in the past. So it also gives me confidence, but there is still, I think, room to build up.

Q. When you've played Vera in the past, I know last year you had some comfortable wins against her, and then she was able to get you at the Championships. Can you see what's been different with Vera and how she's evolved as a player up till now?
ANA IVANOVIC: She can be very dangerous player. Against her, I had -- I think that was probably -- you asked me that question the other day, if I played like a perfect match in last eight months, and I think that was one of the matches I played really well in Linz against her. It was perfect. I think I had hardly any mistakes and was really hitting the ball well.
That's something you have to do against her, you know, to try to dominate and come more forward. And don't give her any chances, because she likes also to use the pace of her opponent. If you sort of don't commit to your shots, she can move balls really well.

Q. Walk us through your day tomorrow. Is there anything physically you're going to do to prepare for the final?
ANA IVANOVIC: No. I'm going to practice, do lunch, and just relax. It's really nice here. I mean, with my coaches, I went on the putting range next to the hotel.
So we do have some fun (laughter.) But, you know, I get upset because I always lose. I'm so bad. So maybe I get revenge tomorrow. (laughter.)

Q. There's been a lot of great champions who have won this tournament, but the only one to win it back to back was Martina Navratilova. Can you talk about the prospects of going for your second straight title here?
ANA IVANOVIC: Oh, that would be amazing. I mean, she's such a great player. To be up there with her would be an amazing feeling for me. I've really been enjoying playing out here, so I hope I can play another good match on Sunday and take the title and be up there with her.

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