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Ivanovic consoles herself with Serbian success

Sep 5, 2011, 5:54 p.m.
Ana Ivanovic of Serbia sits between games against Serena Williams of the U.S. during their match at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, September 5, 2011. REUTERS/Kena Betancur

By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former world number one Ana Ivanovic was swept out of the U.S. Open by Serena Williams in the fourth round Monday but consoled herself with the success of fellow Serbs Novak Djokovic and Janko Tipsarevic.

"It's been great to have so many players playing so well," the 2008 French Open champion she said after her 6-3 6-4 loss. "I saw Janko had a win. It's really exciting.

"People back home are very thrilled, and they wake up in the middle of the night to watch our matches. We always get messages of support, which is great. That's something that also motivates us."

Top seed Djokovic and his Davis Cup team mate Tipsarevic will play each other in the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows.

"I think the guys, they have really good relationship with each other," Ivanovic said. "It's always tough to play someone from your own country. But I'm sure they'll be a great match."

Ivanovic said she thought the recent success of Serbians on the circuit had spurred them on to greater heights and inspired more kids back home to take up the sport.

The 16th seed said she thought there was something in the make-up of many Serbians that served them well on court.

"I think Serbians actually have quite a combustible character," she said. "Maybe that's good for tennis. Maybe that's something that drives us. Sometimes we can have fired up emotions out there."

Djokovic agreed with Ivanovic.

"There is something in the mentality that obviously helps us to be here, helped us to be successful in what we do," the world number one said after his straight-sets victory over Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine.

"The past and the life story that we have behind us ... because we have all experienced the war, we have all experienced the tough times back home, struggles to have the right conditions to become a professional player.

"In the end, those things, when you turn around, make you appreciate life much more. So I think that's an advantage of the mentality."

Djokovic, winner of this year's Australian Open and Wimbledon titles, has put together one of the most impressive seasons ever, taking his 2011 record to 61-2 on Monday.

Ivanovic said Djokovic's Wimbledon triumph had won a tremendous response back home.

"It's huge," she said. "I don't know if you have seen the celebration after he got back. It's amazing.

"To have him win that made Serbia very proud."

Asked what a U.S. Open title would mean for Djokovic, she said: "It would be amazing, because then he's going for all four eventually."

(Editing by Ian Ransom)

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