Without winning a title or even reaching a final, Ana Ivanovic can climb back into the WTA top 5 by the first week of August next year. A guest article from OnCourtAdvantage.com <http://www.OnCourtAdvantage.com> outlines a potential schedule and the results that Ana can record in order to achieve that projection.  (OCA is an organization devoted to the support and promotion of tennis, based in Hong Kong, that is run by a group of highly trained professionals with experience in the tennis industry.  Statistics have been verified by Kevin Fischer at the WTA; title and images supplied by Sharapovanovic.)

Former World No.1 Ana Ivanovic made a very strong finish to the 2010 season to move back into the Top 20.  The 2008 Roland Garros singles champion won 13 of her last 15 matches for the season, with 12 of those victories in straight sets. Following that streak the current World No.17 improved her 2010 win-loss record from 20-18 to 33-20.
 
The 2008 Australian Open runner-up won two of her last four tournaments in 2010, the Tournament of Champions in Bali and Linz in Austria.  The statuesque Serb also reached the quarterfinals of the other two tournaments, including at the Premier Mandatory tournament in Beijing.  There, Ana battled current world No.1 Wozniacki in Beijing through two tense sets before narrowly succumbing to the Dane.  (During this stretch, Ivanovic also made the quarterfinals at the Luxembourg tournament.)

A top-five ranking on the WTA Tour usually requires a player to have a ranking points total in a range between 4700 and 5000 points.  Ivanovic currently has 2,600 WTA ranking points, and her No.17 ranking will see her receive a bye in the 1st round of some events.

Surprisingly, the stylish Serb could return to the Top 5 in the next eight months while reaching one Slam semifinal and advancing beyond the quarterfinals in no other tournament.  This pattern would allow her to predominantly defeat opponents ranked lower than her.  Currently just outside the top 16, she seems likely to enter that group early in the new season.  As a top-16 seed at majors, for example, Ana would need to defeat at most one player ranked above her in order to reach the quarterfinals.  On occasions when she gains a top-16 seed at a 64-player draw, she also would need to defeat at most one higher-ranked player to reach the quarterfinals.

Ivanovic has played in three Grand Slam singles finals and averaged two singles titles per year over the past four years. To meet the projected quarterfinals consistently in the proposed 2011 tournament schedule below, she would need to have a 38-13 win loss record from 13 tournaments. The proposed schedule provides 11 weeks of rest from tournament play and adds only one tournament compared to her tournament load during the same period in 2010.
 
Do you think that Ana can do it? We certainly do!

The following are the results that Ivanovic achieved from her 2010 tournament schedule:
 
Semifinalist – Brisbane = 130pts (32 draw);
2nd round – Australian Open = 100pts (128 draw);
2nd round (bye 1st round) – Indian Wells = 5pts (96 draw);
3rd round (bye 1st round) – Miami = 80pts (96 draw);
1st round – Stuttgart = 1pt (32 draw);
Semifinalist – Rome = 395pts (64 draw);
2nd round (bye 1st round) – Madrid = 5pts (64 draw);
2nd round – Roland Garros = 100pts (128 draw);
2nd round – s-Hertogenbosch = 30pts (32 draw);
1st round – Wimbledon = 5pts (128 draw);
2nd round – Stanford = 60pts (32 draw); and
1st round – San Diego = 1pt (32 draw).

2011 suggested schedule for Ivanovic:

1.  Sydney 30-draw QF = 120pts

2. Australian Open 128-draw QF = 500pts

2 weeks after the Australian Open without tournaments.
Play 2 consecutive weeks in the UAE and Qatar to minimize travel and better acclimatize to the local weather conditions and the court surface.

3. ADD Dubai 56-draw QF =200pts

4. ADD Doha 28-draw QF = 120pts

2 weeks after Doha without tournaments.

5. Indian Wells 96-draw QF = 250

6. Miami 96-draw QF =250

END of hard court season

1 week after Miami without tournament play.
 
START of clay court season:

7. Stuttgart 30-draw QF = 120pts

8. Rome 56-draw QF = 200pts

9. Madrid 64-draw QF = 250pts

1 week after Madrid no tournament

10. Roland Garros 128-draw SF = 900pts  

END of clay court season

1 week after Roland Garros without tournament play.

START of grass court season

Play 2 consecutive weeks in the UK to minimize travel and better acclimatize to the local weather conditions and court surface.

11. Replace s’-Hertogenbosch (Netherlands) 220K with Eastbourne (UK) 28-draw QF = 120pts 

12. Wimbledon QF = 500pts

END of grass court season  

3 weeks after Wimbledon without tournaments

START of the US hard court season

13. Stanford QF = 120pts

Remove San Diego in order to peak for the major tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati, which are held consecutively.

***

Ivanovic would gain at least 120 points from each of these 13 tournaments.  Since she has five results from August 2010 onwards that provide more than 120 points (Cincinnati, US Open, Beijing, Luxembourg, Bali), she would drop two of the 120-pointers from the first half in order to fulfill the 16-tournament requirement.  Nevertheless, she would have 4990 points by the beginning of August 2011, well within the top-5 range.  From a realistic perspective, we expect Ana to suffer a handful of pre-quarterfinal losses, but we also expect her to surpass the quarterfinals at some events.  Thus, the OCA projection provides a useful measure for the Serb’s potential progress if she extends her momentum from the second half of 2010.  In December, of course, we will review Ivanovic’s season in a special article of our own amidst a series of similar articles that review 2010 in tennis.

We return tomorrow with a preview of the World Tour finals similar to our Doha preview!

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