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By Erik Gudris | Saturday, April 26, 2014

Ana Ivanovic Stuttgart Semifinal 2014

Ana Ivanovic will seek her third title this season after reaching the Stuttgart final over Jelena Jankovic.

Photo Credit: Getty

After a few up and down years, Ana Ivanovic is easily having one of the best starts to a season in some time. Winning two titles already in Auckland and Monterrey, Ivanovic will now seek her third of the year at the Porsche Grand Tennis Prix in Stuttgart.

Stuttgart Semis: Sharapova Stomps Errani in Straights

To do that, Ivanovic first had to contend with her fellow Serbian Jelena Jankovic in Saturday's semifinal. Jankovic is also enjoying a career resurgence herself having climbed back into the top 10 last year.

This meeting was originally scheduled as a first round encounter before the draw got reshuffled due to player withdrawals. Now as a semifinal, the stakes were even higher with both Ivanovic and Jankovic trying to build momentum heading into the clay court season.

Both started out hitting the ball cleanly with Ivanovic's power matching up against Jankovic's well-known defense. Each missed out on early break point chances, but it was Ivanovic who took the first break for 3-1. Jankovic countered by going for more on her own shots while also attempting to land each ball on the line. It worked for a while, but Ivanovic's potent serving, followed up by even more stinging forehands, gave her the 6-3 first set.

Jankovic didn't seem too disturbed at being behind. She bounced back to take a 2-0 lead in the second.

But Ivanovic would break back right away as Jankovic's level dipped. From 2-all, each began to enjoy easy service holds with neither giving the other much to work with. Though Jankovic looked poised to perhaps take the set, she would throw in a poor game while serving at 5-all that included a netted volley and a double fault. A backhand error punctuated the lapse from Jankovic as Ivanovic broke for 6-5.

Serving for the match, Ivanovic needed several chances to close it out. Jankovic, having saved two match points against her earlier, would play the best point of the match as she chased down a drop shot and then hit a slice backhand winner.

That would be her final moment of glory as Ivanovic would soon hold another match point. A last error from Jankovic was all Ivanovic needed to complete the 6-3, 7-5, win.

Ivanovic, who enjoyed a healthy head to head record against Jankovic, now finds herself in the opposite scenario for Sunday's final against two-time defending champion Maria Sharapova.

Sharapova, who beat Sara Errani earlier, holds a 7-2 record over Ivanovic.

While Sharapova secured her place in the WTA top 10 for another week, Ivanovic is still hoping to get back into that elite tier. But if Ivanovic keeps having the season she's been having so far in 2014, returning there probably won't take her very long.


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