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Rediff.com  » Sports » Ivanovic toppled by unknown Frenchwoman

Ivanovic toppled by unknown Frenchwoman

August 29, 2008 10:37 IST

Ana Ivanovic was unceremoniously tossed out of the US Open on Thursday by an obscure Frenchwoman who had never played a tour-level match before arriving at Flushing Meadows.

Julie Coin set alight the Arthur Ashe Stadium court when she produced the match of her life to shatter the world number one's title hopes in the second round 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

That she had never played a match on the WTA Tour, let alone at a Grand Slam, before this week failed to faze the 188th-ranked qualifier and she sealed the Serbian's fate after one hour 57 minutes of nerve-shredding drama.

As Coin celebrated her moment of triumph by slamming a ball high into the stands and holding her arms aloft to lap up the applause from the hollering fans, a dejected Ivanovic was left to dwell on the worst showing by a women's top seed at the US Open since 1966.

"This was a very, very disappointing loss for me but it's something that I have to accept," said Ivanovic, who had been troubled by a sore right thumb in the run-up to the tournament.

Ivanovic would perhaps be best to wipe out memories of her 2008 New York jaunt but if she ever chooses to read up on it, it will make for grim reading.

In two matches she piled up an astonishing 74 unforced errors -- certainly not the kind of statistics a world number one would be proud of.

"I don't realise yet that I beat the number one in the world. I don't realise I played on a big court. I don't know how I'm going to sleep tonight," grinned Coin before adding she had contemplated giving up the sport just two weeks ago.

Coin's compatriot Severine Bremond and Italy's Tathiana Garbin continued a day of upsets. Bremond secured a 7-5, 6-3 win over 20th seed Nicole Vaidisova and Garbin beat Hungarian 13th seed Agnes Szavay 5-7, 6-2, 6-3.

Like Ivanovic, men's world number one Rafael Nadal faced a Grand Slam debutant. Unlike Ivanovic, though, Nadal emerged unscathed in a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 demolition of American qualifier Ryler DeHeart.

The fading memory of her two title-winning runs at Flushing Meadows spurred Venus Williams to hit top gear on Thursday.

Williams looked set to hand Paraguay's Rossana De Los Rios the dreaded whitewash after bagging the first seven games but eventually cantered to a 6-0, 6-3 win.

In her two matches so far, she has dropped only eight games and is determined to maintain her ruthless streak as she bids to pick up the trophy for a third time following her triumphs in 2000 and 2001.

"I'd like to have a more recent memory, as of like '08. I guess, [I'm] kind of overdue. So that's pretty much the goal," said Williams, who won her fifth Wimbledon title in July.

Her potential quarter-final opponent, sister Serena, also enjoyed an easy ride. She beat Russian Elena Vesnina 6-1, 6-1.

Dinara Safina appeared to be in a hurry to reach the last 32 and had it not been for lapses in concentration, the sixth seed would have beaten Italy's Roberta Vinci more emphatically than suggested by the final 6-4, 6-3 scoreline.

BACK INJURY

Men's sixth seed Andy Murray narrowly avoided being stretched into a fifth set in his 6-4, 1-6, 7-5, 7-6 win over France's Michael Llodra, while ninth seed James Blake seemed set for a marathon encounter until his Belgian opponent Steve Darcis quit with a back injury. The American was leading 4-6, 6-3, 1-0.

Fourth seed David Ferrer, number seven David Nalbandian and 10th seed Stanislas Wawrinka also advanced.

But the day belonged to Coin.

For a woman who had never before experienced the imposing surroundings of the Arthur Ashe arena, Coin wasted little time in settling in and rattled Ivanovic from the start.

Ivanovic, who had almost fallen in the opening round, survived the second set but never looked comfortable as she struggled to find a way to handle Coin's blistering strokes.

Sensing Ivanovic's unease, Coin pounced to break in the sixth game of the decider and steamed towards victory.

It was only when the win was within her grasp, the 25-year-old Frenchwoman showed the first sign of nerves and double faulted on her first match point.

After another match point went begging, Ivanovic surrendered her title hopes on the third when she sprayed a forehand wide.

"It was my first time on a big court... I really hope I can play more matches here," said Coin.

Coin, who is guaranteed to boost her modest career earnings of $99,563 by at least $46,000 thanks to her run here, may just get her wish since next up for her is former world number one and fellow Frenchwoman Amelie Mauresmo.

Source:
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