VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: Venus Williams Vs Ana Ivanovic, ASB Classic, 2014
Saturday 4 Jan 2014 1:28 p.m.
Hello and welcome to ASB Tennis Centre in Auckland where we have the dream final we all hoped for…Venus Williams vs Ana Ivanovic.
Williams walked into the final without serving a ball after her semi-final opponent fellow American Jamie Hampton withdrew beforehand with a hip injury.
Ivanovic beat good friend and doubles partner Kirsten Flipkens 6-0, 7-6 (7-3)
The final is set to start no earlier than 2:30pm, so in the meantime catch up on the highlights of Ivanovic's match last night.
We bring you live streaming written commentary, video highlights once the match is finished, and all the tennis action.
Venus Williams - 2, 7, 4
Ana Ivanovic - 6, 5, 6
Game 10 (A): Ana back serving for the Championship. She takes the first point, but then double faults. Wouldn't this be a time to choke? She hits the next one long, and takes a second to talk to herself. Venus then gets some help from the net, to take a 15-40 lead. Ana comes back with a great first serve, and then puts Venus on the ropes to force deuce...Williams pulls it wide, AND ANA IVANOVIC WINS IT. Video highlights up now.
Game 9 (V): Venus pulls out a sweet drop shot, Ana gets on her bike, but hits the return long. A baseline rally breaks out, before Venus runs to the net to finish it off. Williams hold. It's time to see if Ana can pull it out.
Game 8 (A): Ana pulls out her 4th ace of the match, and holds her serve once again. Up 5-3, will this be it.
Game 7 (V): Don't forget about the Venus serve, she pulls out another ace. And just for the fun of it adds another. Ana is dealing to Venus the longer the ball stays in play. Back to deuce, and Venus wins it. Both players still showing plenty of energy.
Game 6 (A): Both players walking with determined looks on their faces, but it's Venus who has to make the move. She pulls two in a row wide, and Ana holds.
Game 5 (V): Venus finds herself in trouble again, going down very quickly giving Ana three break points. She saves one, saves two, and then saves the third! Into deuce, and Venus goes onto hold. Wow.
Game 4 (A): Ana talking to herself under her breath pumping up. She plays a great shot down the line, but the American comes back to force a break point...and Ana gets her with the second serve. Deuce again...and Ana holds. The Serb even cracks a smile.
Game 3 (V): Williams comes back strong and battles hard. Smashes a winners before it goes to deuce. This is a match off the titans here, and exactly what the crowd wanted. Third set and Williams still hasn't lost any power, smashing a volley to win advantage, then forces an error for a big hold. Needs to break though.
Game 2 (A): Great serve from Ana to win a point, forget people questioning her mental strength. It goes to deuce. Ana starts it off with an ace, but leaves the door open for Williams to pull it back. However it's the Ana fist pump we see as she goes on to hold.
THIRD SET, Game 1 (A): Williams starts the third set extremely flat, and gifts Ana three break points. The Serb only needs one though, and Ana breaks straight away.
Game 12 (V): Williams getting aggressive as she starts to believe as she brings up set point. We're going to a third here when she trailed 4-2 earlier.
Game 11 (V): Williams can't seem to settle and her biggest opponent has been herself. Ana launches at a forehand to give her two break point chances, but she'll wish she had three as Venus forces deuce. Ana takes advantage, but then next point leaves a shot hanging on the net. Williams holds to lead 6-5 in the second set.
Game 10 (V): Williams opens up and plays a top forehand winner. She's not going away just yet and forces a break point, but Ana fights back. Into deuce and after some great rallies it's Williams getting the break. The crowd is playing up, they don't want to go home early.
Game 9 (V): Venus falls back on her serve to give her the edge, but then ventures to the net and it doesn't bode well for the American. Championship point up for Ana...and she hits Williams' second serve into the net. Deuce, and Williams fights back to hold. She's just hanging in this one.
Game 8 (A): Ana plays a great forehand winner, and the follows it up by forcing Venus to hit it deep. Ana is looking trumps, her shot selection has been great. Just one game away now...
Game 7 (V): Venus finally wakes up and comes out wrapping up her serve with an ace.
Game 6 (A): Ana continues to be dominant, but a double fault pins back her efforts. The way Venus is playing it doesn't matter. She takes a 4-2 lead. I don't think the crowd expected this to be so straight forward.
Game 5 (A): Williams struggling to get going, double faults, and then hits another unforced error. Ana has the break in the second set and has momentum.
Game 4 (A): Ana wins a point mixing up the speed on her forehand, which Venus returns long. Ana pulls out an ace to give her the edge, and she holds again with ease. Venus will need to apply more pressure if she wants to get back into this one.
Game 3 (V): Venus shows a great second serve, winning two straight points off it to hold her serve.
Game 2 (A): Ana whips through to 40-0, before playing a forehand into the net and giving Venus hope, but she goes on to hold.
SECOND SET, Game 1 (V): Ana rockets out to 30-0 lead and Williams is feeling the heat again. It seems like Venus will need to use her serve to win some points. She does just that winning back to back, the second at 192km/s. Ana wins another long rally, it seems to be the ways things have gone if they go longer than a couple of hits. It goes to deuce, and Williams has come back to hold.
Game 8 (A): Here we go, Ana serving for the first set...Williams not giving this up easy, and very eager to win the point to put her in position at 40-30. But she can't handle Ana's second serve and returns it into the net. Deuce now, but Williams pulls it and Ana takes the first set, 6-2.
Game 7 (V): Ana starts off winning the point. Surely she couldn't break Venus three times in one set? Any chance Venus gets to finish with power sends Ana reeling. Back to back points puts Venus back on top. Ana doesn't give end and makes the American run to force deuce. But Williams holds and holds on for just the second time.
Game 6 (A): Venus hits a forehand into the net and looks down disappointed, shes now up to 12 unforced errors. Ana struggles with the serve and both players are making mistakes in the first set as they settle into this match. Ana punished for a short second serve, Venus will eat those up. Ana faulting, we're into deuce again. Venus shows off her power to win advantage, but then gets too much of the next one and we're back to deuce. Rallies are few and far between in this match. Ana breaks a backhand down the line and holds serve...barely.
Game 5 (A): Venus is continuing to struggle with the unforced errors, but then comes back with her serve to win a point leaving Ana frozen for the ace. Williams comes to the net and makes Ana run around. Another great rally as both players end up at the net. Ana keeps her nerve and places it past Venus for the point. Venus then hits a drop shot into the net, she's disappointed in herself and we got to deuce...One more Venus error and a brilliant return of serve from Ana and we have ANOTHER break early.
Game 4 (A): Ana is looking good early on. Williams unforced errors now up to 9 already.
Game 3 (A): We have a rally break out, but Ana pulls her drop shot wide. Wrong shot selection costs her there but she comes back. Ana then shows her forehand placing Venus in the corner and forcing the error. Venus comes right back with the serve, but then double-faults to gift Ana the first break.
Game 2 (A): Williams wins with a great return of serve... She the same shot again after Ana pushes her wide on the serve, but it's out this time. Williams then hits Ivanovic's second serve into the net for the error. Ana holds.
FIRST SET, Game 1 (V): Venus gets home on her serve, it was pretty straight forward for the American wrapping that up quickly. Game on, Ana. She'll have to work in this one.
2.35pm - And both players walk out to a big crowd welcome. Players are on court warming up. Ana in blue with a splash of red, Venus in white with a bit of zebra print...not that you lot can see that yet.
By Robert Lowe
Ana Ivanovic powered past good friend Kirsten Flipkens to set up a dream ASB Classic tennis final against fellow former world No.1 Venus Williams.
Seven-time grand slam winner Williams and 2008 French Open champion Ivanovic came to Auckland as the event's drawcards.
Williams, who as the world No.47 is unseeded, made it through to the title decider via a walk-over after American compatriot Jamie Hampton withdrew with a hip injury.
Ivanovic was impressive in dispatching Flipkens 6-0 7-6 (7-3) in 70 minutes in a clash between the respective No.2 and No.3 seeds.
Ivanovic raced through the first set, the Serbian setting up many of her points with her solid serves, which she backed up with accurate shot-making.
"It's something you work towards," she said of her performance in the opening set.
"It really was almost without mistake. I served well, I hit the ball good, I had good timing and I was aggressive too."
Flipkens improved her own serve in the second set, avoiding breaks, but she couldn't manufacture one break-point opportunity herself.
A rare Ivanovic double-fault had her behind early in the tie-break.
But the world No.16 then took control with four points in a row and went on to close out the contest with her first match point.
Williams and Ivanovic have met nine times before, with Williams winning eight.
Ivanovic's victory was in the quarter-finals of the 2008 Australian Open on the way to finishing runner-up to Russian Maria Sharapova.
She admitted she had struggled against both Venus and sister Serena's big serves.
"Sometimes that's overwhelming, when you can see that coming at you," she said.
"But over the years, you get used to it a little bit and you mature and become more calm and you handle the situation differently."
Hampton, the fifth seed, picked up her hip injury in a morning practice session.
"I was taking a couple of extra swings and I just jammed my hip," she said.
"I spoke with the physio and doctor and there's a possibility I can make it worse if I played."
Hampton was confident of being right for the Australian Open, saying she "probably" would have played against Williams if the year's first grand slam wasn't so close.