Petrova knocks out former No 1 Ivanovic

Tokyo, September 18:

Former world No 1 Ana Ivanovic became the biggest casualty this week when she crashed to Nadia Petrova in the second round of the Pan Pacific Open today.

The Serbian second seed, who reached the top spot after winning her first Grand Slam at Roland Garros, fought back from losing the opening set to take the second and level the match. But she lost her service in the first game of the final set and never recovered, losing to the Russian 6-1, 1-6, 6-2.

Other favourites — her compatriot and top seed Jelena Jankovic and Beijing Olympics gold medallist and third seed Elena Dementieva of Russia — safely went through to the quarter-finals. Jankovic, aiming to regain the No 1 ranking she held only one week during the Olympics, breezed past Flavia Pennetta of Italy 6-2, 6-1, while Dementieva whipped Alize Cornet of France 6-0, 6-3.

The unseeded Petrova, ranked 20, used her powerful groundstrokes and charged hard to the net on any short balls as she dismantled Ivanovic’s game. When she fired a forehand winner on her advantage point to break Ivanovic for a second time in the final set, it was always going to be her day.

Dementieva earned a place in the season-ending championships with her win today, joining Jankovic, Serena Williams, Dinara Safina and Ivanovic in qualifying for the elite $4.45 million Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha, Qatar from November 4-9.

“This is great that I’m going to be there, because this year I was fighting to get into the tournament. It’s very nice, I’m very excited about Doha,” said Dementieva, ranked fourth in the world. “First of all, it’s great to have a chance to play there, because at the end of the year, this is the biggest event,” she said.

In other matches, sixth seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland defeated Marion Bartoli of France 6-2, 6-3, while fifth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia powered past Japanese wildcard Ayumi Morita 6-1, 6-1.