Tennis: Resurgent Ivanovic gunning for year-end championships in S'pore

MELBOURNE (AFP) - Reinvigorated former world No.1 Ana Ivanovic said she was targeting this year's elite WTA Championships after continuing her fine start to the season at the Australian Open on Monday.

The 26-year-old, making her 10th straight appearance at the year's opening Grand Slam, beat the Netherlands' Kiki Bertens 6-4, 6-4 to stay on track for a possible fourth-round clash with Serena Williams.

The first-round victory followed her success over Serena's sister Venus in the final of the Auckland International this month, and the 14th seed is confident of making inroads at Melbourne Park.

"It was the best start I could have had and the best I've made in a few years," she said of Auckland.

"The draw is tough for me, but I'm playing well and that's all I can do. It was a very up and down match, a lot of nerves, but I am happy and thrilled to be through."

Ivanovic has never revisited the highs of 2008, when she won the French Open and made the Australian Open final, but she said she had worked in the off-season, adding: "I really hope I can go far".

"This year I really want to make Singapore, the WTA Championships. That's my big goal," said the Serb, a crowd favourite in Melbourne having dated Australian golfer Adam Scott and with family in the city.

"I'm aware I have to work hard towards it," she added of the eight-player season finale.

"I had a good start, but still plenty more weeks of tennis. Still many, many matches to come. But that would be my biggest goal for this season."

Despite the prospect of meeting Williams, Ivanovic said she saw it as a challenge rather than a roadblock.

"She's definitely hot favourite. She's been playing amazing tennis. She's on top of women's game, there is no doubt about that," she said.

"But I think a lot of girls are out for a challenge. You just want to go out there and give your best and you never know what can happen on any given day."

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