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Former world number one Ana Ivanovic had to save two match points against unheralded Lucie Hradecka to reach the Wimbledon second round yesterday.
Fans clambered into precarious positions to catch a glimpse as the drama unfolded on the intimate court four, where the 2008 French Open champion struggled to contain the ambitious Czech's lethal double-handed backhand in a 5-7 6-2 8-6 victory.
The 26-year-old Hradecka, whose left thigh was strapped, had a determined air about her as she made the 13th seed's shots look as flimsy as the wispy layers of the Serb's skirt.
The Czech pumped her fists in celebration as Ivanovic's backhand went long to hand her the first set on her first appearance in the main draw at Wimbledon.
The 21-year-old Serb, a semi-finalist here in 2007, swapped her racket at 2-2 in the second which seemed to do the trick as she immediately broke and did not drop another game in the set.
Ivanovic, who looked to be tossing the ball slightly out of line before serving, broke in the ninth game of the decider.
She was then serving for the match but Hradecka fired another unreachable backhand to save match point.
After breaking, the Czech then held and earned two match points of her own but Ivanovic smashed her way out of trouble.
Two games later, the Serb looked up to the sky in thanks after a lucky net cord set her up with two more match points and she snatched victory when Hradecka's service return went wide.
Ivanovic, who has slipped from top of the rankings to 12th over the past year after some indifferent performances, will face Italian Sara Errani for a place in the third round.
(Agencies via Shanghai Daily June 24, 2009)