BRISBANE—For the first time, Ana Ivanovic admits that she thought she was going to beat Maria Sharapova in the 2008 Australian Open final, which the Serb lost, 7-5, 6-3.
“Yeah, definitely,” Ivanovic said. “The year before, against Justine in French Open [in 2007], it was first time and the nerves overwhelm me. Against Maria, I really felt confident going into the match, and all the way through I felt like I could do it. That's why it was really, really tough loss for me.”
Ivanovic and Sharapova will meet in the final at the Brisbane International on Saturday.
Ivanovic still thinks about that final, she admitted. Although she was very upset at the time, she was able to regroup and reach No. 1 that June.
“I remember that match, very vividly,” she said. “I felt like I had a lot of chances in the first set. It was my second Grand Slam final, and I really thought I could do it. It was quite disappointing the way second set finish. I remember it was 6-3. I didn't really sleep much after that. That was tough loss, but it made my stronger. After this I won Indian Wells and French Open.”
Sharapova recalled the tournament in press as well, saying it was a seminal moment in her career.
“That was just a great tournament for me overall. I had one of the toughest draws in a Grand Slam environment, and I faced a lot of different players, very different games,” Sharapova said. “I actually thought that in the final I didn't play as well as I did throughout the tournament. I was quite lucky to win that one. But I did everything that I had to do, and I finished it off really strong. So it was a nice moment in that year. It was the nicest moment, because then I ended up having surgery after that. Career-wise it was the highlight for me.”