Ivanovic drops Goerges in 1st round

Updated: January 19, 2009, 3:43 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

MELBOURNE, Australia -- After struggling in her first match at the Australian Open since losing last year's final, Ana Ivanovic finished with a flourish in a 7-5, 6-3 win over Julia Goerges on Monday.

Fifth-seeded Ivanovic was broken once in each set but fended off five other break points before finishing with consecutive aces against Goerges, a German ranked No. 107 and playing only her fourth major.

Ivanovic lost the 2008 Australian final to Maria Sharapova, who is not defending her title because of an injury, and then won the French Open to move into the No. 1 ranking midway through the year.

[+] EnlargeAna Ivanovic
Clive Brunskill/Getty ImagesAna Ivanovic struggled in her first Australian Open match since losing last year's final to Maria Sharapova.

But the 21-year-old Serb was bothered by injuries in the middle of the season and her form at the majors waned, going out in the third round at Wimbledon and the second round at the U.S. Open.

She and Goerges finished with a combined 66 unforced errors to just 34 winners and were called for several foot faults. Ivanovic was pleased to have escaped with a victory.

"I took some time to adjust to the rhythm and everything, to slowly get into match," Ivanovic said. "I've never played against her before ... never seen her play. She was hitting the ball very well.

"I don't expect myself to step on the court and play perfect tennis from very first moment. You just want to give yourself the best possible chance and give time to work yourself into the tournament."

Top-ranked Jelena Jankovic, who lost the U.S. Open final to Serena Williams and is yet to win a major title, had a more straightforward win than her fellow Serbian. Jankovic ripped 27 winners against Yvonne Meusburger's four in a 6-1, 6-3 win.

"Today it was so hot, my feet were really burning," said Jankovic, recovering from an illness that ruled her out of a Hong Kong tournament last week. "I knew I had to deal with it."

No. 3-seeded Dinara Safina, the Olympic silver medalist, wasted little time in beating fellow Russian Alla Kudryavtseva 6-3, 6-4.

Women's No. 7 Vera Zvonareva of Russia posted a 7-6 (2), 6-0 win over Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova.

Former fourth-ranked Kimiko Date Krumm, returning to the main draw of a major after a 13-year hiatus, was beaten 6-4, 4-6, 8-6 by 25th-seeded Kaia Kanepi of Estonia.

The 38-year-old Japanese player, who came out of retirement last year, had won three matches in qualifying.

Also advancing were No. 15 Alize Cornet of France, No. 16 and 2007 Wimbledon finalist Marion Bartoli of France, and No. 26 Ai Sugiyama of Japan.

On a warm, cloudless day, Ivanovic constantly struggled to find her form against Goerges, committing 10 unforced errors and three double faults in the first five games alone.

With the midday sun playing havoc on serve tosses at one end, the errors continued to pile up as the two players swapped breaks in the first two games of the second set -- Ivanovic double-faulted on break point.

After another double fault, she shouted and pumped her fist after she fended off double break point while serving at 2-2, then saved another pair of Goerges break chances at 3-3.

Ivanovic then made Goerges pay for her lost opportunities, breaking in the next game for a 5-3 advantage. She slammed back-to-back aces -- her second and third -- to advance to the second round.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.