New York - Ana Ivanovic walked to the sideline with only one more game to win before she closed out her US Open victory over Ksenia Pervak of Russia. She laid on the ground near her chair and called for the trainer. But this was no routine injury.
Ivanovic is still mourning the death of her grandfather, Milovan, who passed away over the weekend. She was able to set it aside for most of Tuesday's match, but near the end, she said emotions got the best of her.
"I had quite a tough weekend," she said. "When I was serving for the match, I kept thinking, 'I'm doing it for him.'"
After a brief visit from the trainer, Ivanovic wrapped up the match and defeated Pervak 6-4, 6-2.
The 16th-seeded Serb, who won the French Open and made a brief appearance at No 1 in the rankings in 2008, has been slowly climbing back up after a drop into the 60s last year.
Part of her resurgence could have to do with a reconciliation with golfer Adam Scott, who was in the stands for the opening-round match. At the beginning of the year, Ivanovic told the (Sydney) Sunday Telegraph that her on-court performance had suffered in the aftermath of a breakup with Scott.
Asked on Tuesday if Scott's presence in the stands meant they were back together, she said, "It was really nice to see him there. Now we're just happy, and that's all that matters."
Every bit as much on her mind, however, was her grandfather.
Ivanovic choked back tears while describing a very close relationship with Milovan Ivanovic but said she had no regrets about playing so soon after his death; she believes he would want her to be out on the court competing.
"In the last couple of years, I've had to deal with many different things, many different issues out there," she said. "I've just tried to put it aside and try to focus on hitting the ball. There are moments where things creep in a little more. But it's important to be in the moment and think more tactically and take your mind off that."
Ivanovic is in a tough part of the draw, with possible matches against No 23 Shahar Peer, No. 28 Serena Williams and No 4 Victoria Azarenka possible in rounds three and four.
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