Each week, Baseline will take a look at a player who has thrived at one of the stops on the ATP and WTA tours during their career. (Photos: Getty Images)
The WTA tournament in Linz, Austria, is marking its 30th anniversary this year and a number of former champions have sent along congratulatory messages, including one of only a handful of two-time winners in the event’s history.
For Ana Ivanovic, Linz was one of the most successful stops in a Hall-of-Fame-worthy career: It’s one of only two tournaments she’s won more than once, the other being the WTA Tournament of Champions.
Ivanovic made her debut at the tour stop in Austria in 2005. Seeded eighth, the teenager advanced to the semifinals, where Patty Schnyder stopped her at that stage for the second tournament in a row. She followed up that performance with a quarterfinal showing the next year, losing to Maria Sharapova. Ivanovic missed the 2007 tournament, but when she returned in 2008, she was at a whole new level in her career.
At her first Grand Slam of the year in Melbourne, she reached the final. She went a step further than that in Paris, improving on her runner-up finish in ’07 by winning the title, the first Grand Slam championship of her career. She also rose to No. 1 in the world soon after, but struggled with injury and inconsistent results. Feeling healthy by the late fall, she stormed to the title in Linz, her first since Paris, beating Agnieszka Radwanska and Vera Zvonareva—both ranked in the top 10—in her last two matches.
Poor results in 2009, though, saw Ivanovic drop out of the top 20. She didn’t play Linz that year, but when she returned in 2010, she picked up right where she left off by winning the title, her first overall tournament triumph since that ’08 win. In the final, she beat Schnyder, who stopped her in her debut five years earlier.
Losing to the qualifier Kirsten Flipkens in 2012 in the quarterfinals, Ivanovic bounced back with a strong performance in ’13. The third seed reached the final, but another title was denied to her by Angelique Kerber.
Experiencing a resurgence in form in 2014, one that saw her return to the top 10, Ivanovic entered Linz, but withdrew after winning her first-round match.
That was her last appearance at a place that provided multiple highlights in a storied career.