Goran Wins Five Set Thriller
24 June 2004
The great romance between Wimbledon and Goran Ivanisevic continued at high intensity on No.2 Court today, as the 2001 champion gained a third round place after an enthralling five set battle with the Italian Filippo Volandri.
It was the 600th victory of the Ivanisevic career in his 15th Wimbledon. Ivanisevic was on court for two hours and 32 minutes before he won 4-6, 7-6 (10-8), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 to earn a match against the man who succeeded him as champion, Lleyton Hewitt of Australia, the seventh seed.
There were no seats to spare, as the Voladri-Ivanisevic match turned into its final stages with Ivanisevic fighting back from two sets to one down to gain victory over the 22 year-old Italian.
When he won, Ivanisevic punched the air with a clenched fist and then threw his racket high into the West stand where it landed on the shoulders of a steward. Then the Croatian crossed to the opposite side of the court to throw his shirt into the crowd.
Ivanisevic has good reason to respect Volandri because in the year he won Wimbledon, the Italian beat him afterwards when he triumphed in a Davis Cup match on clay in Rome. Today, Volandri challenged Ivanisevic head on and the ensuing tussle led to a momentous match.
Both players were able to sustain hard serving, fierce ground strokes, and a sureness at the net. Ivanisevic finished ahead on the ace count, 19 against 9, and served eight of them in the second set which produced the only tie break of the day.
Volandri, who won a grass court match for the first time in the opening round at The Championships when he beat British qualifier Jamie Delgado, was great value for his ranking of 52nd in the world and set the pace for the contest by winning the first set. But after that Volandri was reminded of the passion and ambition of Ivanisevic as he fell 3-1 behind - he broke back in the sixth game but the set progressed to a tie break which Ivanisevic won 10-8.
The third set was all too brief for Ivanisevic as Volandri raced through for the loss of only one game. But in the fourth, Ivanisevic began to take control - he broke through to lead 5-3 and brought the match level with his first set point when he served a winner.
In the last set, Volandri did not lack for support but he could doubtless sense the strength of the task against him as he had to fight off break points in both the third and fifth games. Finally, Ivanisevic cracked the Volandri serve to lead 5-4 and served out to take the match and book a place in the third round.
Interviewed after the match, Goran Ivanisevic said he “was a little nervous. I didn’t want to lose that match and I didn’t perform well. I didn’t play a good match, not even close like the first round. And this is a great thing that I came through and I won a match.”