By Julien Pretot
Former champion Ana Ivanovic was at her brilliant, aggressive best as the seventh seed swept aside Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina 6-3 6-2 on Tuesday to storm into the French Open semi-finals.
The Serb, who lifted the Suzanne Lenglen Cup in 2008, shrugged off the windy conditions to set up a meeting with Czech Lucie Safarova, who beat Spain’s Garbine Muguruza 7-6 6-3
Ivanovic took control early on and never allowed her 19th-seeded opponent into the contest on Court Philippe Chatrier.
She put an end to a one-sided encounter on her third match point with a forehand passing shot to reach the last four of a grand slam for the first time since 2008.
“I don’t know if I should feel old or happy,” the 27-year-old told a courtside interviewer.
“The only thing I could do was stay calm. The ball was going all over the place.”
Her powerful forehand earned Ivanovic the first break as she went 2-0 up only for the Serb, under the watchful eye of her boyfriend, Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, to drop serve in the following game.
She then broke again for 3-1.
The sun crept through and the spectators came back from their late lunch to watch Ivanovic clinch the opener by holding serve to love.
Ball girls and boys wiped their teary eyes as strong winds sent the red dirt swirling at the change of ends before Ivanovic resumed her domination.
She stole Svitolina’s serve in the first game and saw off two break points en route to holding for 2-0. She broke again for 5-2 and finished it off on her serve.