Ana Ivanovic celebrated her 24th birthday by successfully defending her Tournament of Champions title with a comfortable 6-3, 6-0 victory over Spain’s Anabel Medina Garrigues yesterday.
The victory was the Serbian’s 11th singles title, but first since winning the event last year. Her previous best results this year were achieved with semi-final appearances in Birmingham and Carlsbad.
The Spaniard was seeking her third title of the season following victories in Estoril and Palermo and had enjoyed an easier route to the final after her previous two opponents last week retired from their matches.
Marion Bartoli suffered an ankle injury and quit after holding two match points and Sabine Lisicki failed to complete the third set of their semi-final due to a back problem.
Earlier, Russia’s Nadia Petrova of Russia took third place in the tournament by defeating Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia 6-2, 5-7, 6-0.
Hantuchova, ranked No. 23 in the world entering the tournament, played in place of third-seeded Lisicki, who beat Hantuchova on Friday in their quarter-final match.
After retiring from her match against Medina, Lisicki retired from her semi-final against Medina, and said: “I wanted to go all the way and was fighting until the end, but it simply wasn’t possible for me to continue.”
Reuters, BASEL, Switzerland
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic was surprisingly beaten by unseeded Kei Nishikori of Japan in the semi-finals of the Basel Open on Saturday, suffering a new injury setback in the process.
The Serbian, returning to action this week for the first time since aggravating a back injury in the Davis Cup tie against Argentina in mid-September, was troubled by his shoulder as he lost for only the fourth time on the ATP circuit this year.
Nishikori’s final opponent will be Roger Federer, who continued his dominance over his fellow Swiss, Stanislas Wawrinka, with a straight sets win in Saturday’s other semi-final.
Nishikori, a wildcard entrant, romped through the final set as Djokovic, who received treatment on his shoulder between games, lost heart, winning 2-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-0.
“Recovering is what matters now,” said Djokovic, who is scheduled to play in Paris this week. “I don’t think in these conditions I will be able to train for the next couple of days. I’ll see what the team think.”
Djokovic, the reigning Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open champion, came onto court for his first match on Tuesday wearing a Halloween mask, but was not in the mood for joking after Saturday.
“It’s tennis, sometimes you lose these matches. I have to give my opponent credit, he was better than me, but I didn’t take my chances,” said Djokovic, who has reached the semi-finals in all 13 ATP tournaments in which he has competed this year. “He didn’t make any mistakes and he was getting some impossible balls back.”
Djokovic admitted his back injury had been on his mind all week as he dropped sets in two of his first three matches.
“Competition is different to practice. I have carried it from the US Open and I am still afraid something is going to happen,” he said.
Djovkovic had little trouble in rattling off the first set, but was already receiving massage on his shoulder and arm.
Both players broke once in the second set, but 21-year-old Nishikori, ranked 32, took control in the tiebreak and never looked back.