A real Ivanovic revival this time?

Ivanovic is coming alive.

FROM THE BNP PARIBAS OPEN AT INDIAN WELLS – Ana Ivanovic has had plenty of coaches, trainers and physios. Some have connected with her, some haven’t, but it’s fair to say that despite getting some pretty good advice since she won 2008 Roland Garros and briefly rose to No. 1, that she didn’t heed much of it, or was unable to absorb it, didn’t believe in it, or just wasn’t in then the mental state to make use of it. On Thursday after she reached her first WTA Premier mandatory semifinals since Indian Wells 2009 by whacking an ill Marion Bartoli 6-3, 6-4. Like she was in her upset of Caroline Wozniacki, she was quick and lethal off her forehand side and her often spotty first serve help up very well. She was vicious with her return and closed out points quickly.

There is absolutely no guarantee that this solid and inspiring play will continue throughout the year, but the world No. 16 does seem to get along well with the experience Sears, and does trust him. There have been so many times over the past few year that Ivanovic has spoken about playing aggressive and then was unable to keep the ball in the court, so her attempt to dictate was scoffed at by her foes. So what’s different now? “I worked so much on trying to get cover on the ball and just staying low,” she said. “I think also with confidence it comes that you sort of finish your shots. I felt like lots of times I would execute well in the past and I would doubt it so I would pull out a little bit, and then the result wouldn’t be as good as if I stayed through the ball. This is what I really work hard on, just finishing my shots and getting cover, especially on my forehand. It’s really weird that forehand has been my best shot, and Nigel, the first thing he said, ‘We have to work on your forehand. I’m like, why? It is the case, and I feel a lot more confident executing.” MORE FOR SUBSCRIBERS…

Maria Sharapova and her once close friend Maria Kirilenko has a bang-up, three-hour match that ended in a 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 win for the taller Maria. Kirilenko played brilliantly during the first set and half, mixing speed, power and inventiveness, but eventually Sharapova found her range, became less predictable and took over. Kirilenko had real chances to ward the end of the second set, but Sharapova out-toughed her mentally and finally began to win their forehand battles. Interestingly, Sharapova agreed with chair umpire Marija Cicak of Croatia

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