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By Chris Oddo | Sunday May 24, 2015

Ana Ivanovic, Roland Garros

Ana Ivanovic rallied from a set down to cruise past Yaroslava Shvedova on Day 1. It's a step in the right direction for the struggling Serb.

Photo Source: Clive Brunskill/Getty

In early May Ana Ivanovic parted ways with Dejan Petrovic, which marked the third time in three years that Ivanovic has split with a coach. This time it was a bit scary, given the excellent strides Ivanovic had made in 2014, a season that saw her rocket back to the Top 5 and engineer ten Top 10 wins.

More: 2014 Runner-Up Halep Advances in Straights

Ivanovic admitted today after her 4-6, 6-2, 6-0 victory over Yaroslava Shvedova that she doesn’t like to change coaches either. “Many people do not understand how hard it is to find the right match and the right person,” Ivanovic said. “Not necessarily one coach is good for another player. I don't like changes, to be honest. It's always hard because you have to sort of start from the beginning.”

Despite the setback with regard to her team, Ivanovic is soldiering on, and she’s formed an alliance with Mats Merkel of Adidas Tennis that has helped her begin to pick up the pieces after a difficult period.

“I was doing a lot of work with my sparring partner throughout Madrid and Rome, and then this week Mats from Adidas program has been helping me,” Ivanovic said. “It was good because we worked in the past together; to have someone on the side sort of putting some patterns back in my game, because I felt I was a little bit lost. I played without a purpose, and I can't do that. I have talent and possibility to do many things, but need to have purpose and goal when I step on the court, and I was lacking that. So now I feel I got it back. Obviously it's about getting enough time to practice it and to grow it.”

Ivanovic said that putting in some seriously hard work after tough losses in Madrid and Rome have helped her solidify belief. “I worked really hard last week,” Ivanovic said. “I was really trying to rely on that. I knew I put the work I had to put in, so that gave me confidence. Even after first set I really tried to look for my game, and I was really happy to turn it around.”

The former Roland Garros champion will next face Japan’s Misaki Doi in the second round. The 7th seed got a break on Sunday when her official 2015 nemesis, Caroline Garcia of France, was upset by Donna Vekic in the first round. Garcia has defeated Ivanovic on three consecutive occasions this season, and because of her loss, Ivanovic won’t have to play a seeded player until the round of 16, when she’s slated to meet Ekaterina Makarova.

Though she wasn’t perfect today, Ivanovic can he happy that her partnership with Merkel appears to be productive and stabilizing, and that her work in the gym and on the practice courts is paying off. “It's still obviously not at the level I want it to be,” she said of her game, “but at least I know I'm on the right path. I’ve been doing a lot of drills, moving, a lot of time in the gym. So it's showing, and I feel it in my practice sessions. Now it's just matter of trusting it on the court. Like I said, even after first set I knew I had this work in my bank. I really tried to think positive and still fight.”


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