Ivanovic wins in Bali
Ana Ivanovic (Gallo Images)
Nusa Dua - Ana Ivanovic defeated Alisa Kleybanova 6-2, 7-6 (7/5) on Sunday to complete her season turnaround with a trophy at the Bali Tournament of Champions.
Nine months after sinking to a lowly 65th world ranking after a two-year-lull following her 2008 Grand Slam success at Roland Garros, the Serb, who turned 23 this weekend, won her second title in her last three events, cementing a strong comeback.
Ivanovic earned a place at the eight-woman event reserved for winners of WTA International titles during 2010 by lifting a title at Lina, Austria in October.
Her Bali victory over Russia's Kleybanova, who failed to complete an Asian hat-trick after winning in Kuala Lumpur and Seoul this season, will lift 24th-placed Ivanovic back inside the top 20 for the first time in over a year.
Ivanovic is expected to be placed 17th when she begins 2011, after claiming her third win from five meetings this year with the Russian.
The Serb won on a third match point after one hour and three-quarters to lift the tenth title of her career.
In the third-place match, Japanese veteran Kimiko Date Krumm capped her best season since returning from retirement in 2008 by seeing off Daniela Hantuchova 7-5, 7-5 in just under two hours.
The victory should see her move to around 46th in the world rankings.
Date Krumm, who in August became the oldest player in more than a quarter of a century to rank in the top 50, needed four set points to secure the 66-minute opener against her Slovak opponent, who has won three career titles from 10 finals.
The Japanese player was broken to love while serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set, but broke back a game later and held on to end her week on the Indonesian resort island with a win.
Date Krumm, a fan favourite in Asia, once ranked fourth in the world, quit the tour in the 1990s but has made a successful comeback over the past three seasons.