Ana Ivanovic made the second round of the Qatar Open on Monday, but she was denied a full match as rival Carla Suarez Navarro retired with a back problem in the second set.
Ivanovic, the former world No. 1, who has slipped to 19th in the rankings, had won the first set 6-1 and was leading 4-1 in the second when her Spanish rival quit after receiving courtside treatment, but the Serbian star knows she has a long way to go before she reaches the level that saw her win the French Open in 2008.
“I think it’s different in the sense that now a lot more girls can challenge top players from the early rounds,” Ivanovic said. “That’s exciting for us because we do want challenges.”
Despite the challenges, the Serbian said that her goal is to get as high in the rankings as possible.
“Well, that’s why I’m here,” she said when asked if she was targeting the No. 1 spot again. “If I didn’t think so, I probably wouldn’t be sitting here, but, yeah, I definitely believe so.”
Meanwhile, former US and French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova survived a tough first set to beat Spaniard Maria Jose Martinez-Sanchez 7-5, 6-3.
The first upset of the tournament came when Kazakhstan’s Ksenia Pervak defeated 10th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenko of Russia 1-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Israel’s Shahar Peer and China’s Peng Shuai also advanced, beating Arab wild cards Nadia Lalami of Morocco and Fatma al-Nabhani of Oman respectively in straight sets.