PARIS — Even if Ana Ivanovic owns a French Open championship and once was ranked No. 1, she still finds herself feeling jitters during matches.
The Serbian overcame an admittedly inconsistent performance in a chilly start Sunday at Roland Garros before holding on to beat 108th-ranked Petra Martic of Croatia 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 to reach the second round at a tournament she won in 2008.
"I really was a little nervous," the 14th-seeded Ivanovic acknowledged. "I lost it a little bit for a few points."
She began the match playing rather impressively, while wearing a long-sleeved shirt to brace herself against a temperature that dipped to 55 degrees (13 Celsius).
But she faltered in the second set, then had trouble closing out Martic before finally converting her fifth match point.
"Obviously it was a bit of up-and-down game today. I started really well, played very aggressive. And in the second set, I kind of let her back in a little bit," Ivanovic explained. "She started serving better, going for her shots and mixing up a lot of drop shots and slices."
When Ivanovic served for the match the first time, ahead 5-1 in the second set, she wasted two match points and got broken.
After Martic held to get within 5-3, Ivanovic again let match points slide while trying to serve it out, but this time managed to get the job done.
Still, there were some doubts in her mind.
"Well, it's hard. It's a battle inside, but I really know what I have to do," Ivanovic said. "That's what I tried to do, and go for my shots even when my back was against the wall. Even (if) there was some moments when I didn't feel like going for it. I knew I had to step up and be aggressive and put pressure on her. And I'm just very happy to close that match."
Martic showed she can be tough on red clay by knocking out eighth-seeded Marion Bartoli en route to reaching the fourth round at the French Open last year.
But Martic's bona fides are nothing compared to those of Ivanovic, who in addition to her Grand Slam title also was the runner-up in Paris in 2007.
Those successful trips to Roland Garros in consecutive years don't really seem as they though happened all that long ago to Ivanovic.
"It feels like yesterday," she said. "Just scary how fast five years go by."
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