Ana Ivanovic defeats Williams in epic final

DAVID LONG
Last updated 17:18 04/01/2014
Ana Ivanovic
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UNDER THE PUMP: Ana Ivanovic plays a forehand in the final.
Venus Williams
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FIGHT BACK: Venus Williams refused to give up.

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Ana Ivanovic has won the battle of the superstars at the ASB Classic, defeating Venus Williams 6-2 5-7 6-4 in the final.

Although this was the biggest match up in the tournament's history, for a while it looked like being one of the more disappointing finals as Ivanovic was in control for the first half of the match.

However, the sold out crowd at the ASB Tennis Centre ended up seeing a thrilling three-set contest played over two hours 19 minutes between two former world No 1s.

Williams was broken in the third and fifth games. In the next game Williams tried to step in and take Ivanovic's serve early and although this helped get her a couple of break points, she could get that much needed extra one.

Williams had another break point two games later but again the Serb held her nerve to serve out for the set.

Ivanovic got a break midway through the second set and from that point on the crowd got behind Williams, mainly because they wanted to see a decent contest. Thankfully for them they got one.

Williams faced a championship point when she was serving at 30-40 and 3-5 later in the set and from that point she took control, for a while. 

She needed a big serve and nailed one, sending a bomb down the middle that the stretched out Ivanovic couldn't get back over the net.

Ivanovic only needed to hold serve to win the match though, but for the first time in the final she was broken.

Williams then held and broke Ivanovic again, to send the match into a deciding set.

Ivanovic jumped out to a 2-0 lead in it and while the American continually pushed her opponent she just couldn't get that break back.

The match was over when Williams went too long with a forehand in the second championship point of the day and Ivanovic fell to the floor in relief before getting to her feet again to start the celebrations.

It is Ivanovic's 12th career title, while Williams continues to be stuck on 44, where she's been since October 2012.

In the doubles final earlier in the day, Sharon Fichman from Canada and America's Maria Sanchez needed the super tiebreak to defeat Lucie Hradecka from the Czech Republic and Michaella Krajicek from the Netherlands 2-6 6-0 10-4.

Meanwhile, Marina Erakovic has been drawn against ASB Classic semifinalist, Kirsten Flipkens in the first round of this week's WTA tournament in Hobart.

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- Fairfax Media

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