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Djokovic reels in Fish to triumph

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PICTURE PERFECT: Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic poses with the trophy after her triumph in the Pacific Life Open on Sunday.
PICTURE PERFECT: Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic poses with the trophy after her triumph in the Pacific Life Open on Sunday.

Ivanovic makes it a Serbian double at the expense of Kuznetsova

INDIAN WELLS: Novak Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic delivered a sparkling Serbian double on Sunday, their convincing victories at the Pacific Life Open reaffirming their nation’s arrival on the tennis map.

Djokovic, the third-ranked player in the world, had already become a national hero with his triumph at the Australian Open, where Ivanovic finished runner-up in her second Grand Slam final.

First win

On Sunday, third-seeded Djokovic downed unseeded American Mardy Fish 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 to win the first of the prestigious ATP Masters Series events of the year.

Ivanovic, the top seed in the WTA portion of the $5.7 million tournament, consigned second-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova to runner-up for a second straight year by winning 6-4, 6-3.

Djokovic was given the tough match expected by Fish, the lowest-ranked finalist in nine years at 98th. Fish, who had downed Roger Federer, Nikolay Davydenko and David Nalbandian, refused to buckle under Djokovic, who came within two points of the title receiving serve at 4-5 in the second set.

“When you start winning the major events, you have proved to yourself in the first place and to everybody else that you have quality to be there at the top. It’s just a matter of mental ability and mental strength,” said Djokovic.

Long match

Ivanovic claimed her sixth career WTA Tour title with a blazing forehand winner after 81 minutes. The 20-year-old Serb pushed Kuznetsova twice off the court into forced errors for the 5-4 break then served a love game for the first set.

In the second, the two traded early breaks but Kuznetsova was under increasing pressure and lost the last four games.

Kuznetsova, runner-up to Daniela Hantuchova last year, had ended Maria Sharapova’s 18-match winning start to this season in the semifinals on Friday. She has a career mark of 9-15 in tour finals.

The results: Men: Final: Novak Djokovic bt Mardy Fish 6-2, 5-7, 6-3.

Women: Final: Ana Ivanovic bt Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 6-3. — Agencies

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