Ivanovic wants to follow Sharapova's recovery road
Former world No 1 Ana Ivanovic admits she wants to emulate fellow glamour girl Maria Sharapova's return to the top after moving into the Wimbledon second round with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory over Spain's Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.
Ivanovic was once regarded as the female game's brightest young star after winning the 2008 French Open just months after reaching the Australian Open final.
However, the 24-year-old has been unable to fulfill her vast potential since then and has failed to get past the fourth round in her 16 Grand Slam appearances since that triumph in Paris.
The world number 14 is in danger of being remembered more for her striking looks than her success on the court.
But she has been inspired by the way Sharapova, who also earns plenty of attention for her appearance, has battled back to the top of the world rankings after a slump in form caused by shoulder surgery.
Sharapova won the French Open earlier this month and Ivanovic said: "It's definitely inspiring to see what Maria has done. Hard work pays off sooner or later. That's why it's important to keep at it.
"You get what you deserve basically. I've been working hard and I've been feeling much better on the court. I know good things are around the corner.
"Seeing Maria do well and other players getting better and getting their rankings higher up, it definitely inspires me."
Ivanovic has rarely gone deep in any tournament this year and she had to survive plenty of nervous moments before seeing off the world number 51 to set up a second round tie against Ukraine's Kateryna Bondarenko.
Her meeting with Bondarenko will be a trip down memory lane for both players, who last clashed at Wimbledon in the 2004 junior final.
Ivanovic lost on that occasion and also in her two matches against Bondarenko on the senior tour.
"I remember playing her in the junior final Wimbledon on Court 18. It's going to be a tough match, a lot different than today's one," Ivanovic said.
"I just want to try and recover the best I can today and come fresh tomorrow (Thursday)."
Ivanovic was finally able to take control of an error-strewn opening set with her third break for a 5-3 lead.
But her mental fragility resurfaced early in the second set when she allowed Martinez Sanchez to break in the second game.
Ivanovic dug deep to break back in the fifth game, but carelessly surrendered her serve again and this time the left hander made her pay by taking the set.
The final set was a tense affair with both players scratching around for the momentum that would carry them to victory.
It was Ivanovic who finally turned the match in her favour, breaking for a 4-2 lead and serving out the win.