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Ana Ivanovic feels she will have to lift her game to beat Serena Williams after downing Samantha Stosur to set up a fourth-round clash with the world number one at the Australian Open.
The Serbian ace has now returned to somewhere near the form that saw her claim the 2008 French Open title en route to the top of the world rankings, and she was too good for the home favourite on Friday with a 6-7 (10-8) 6-4 6-2 victory.
The 26-year-old reached the Melbourne final in 2008 but has never made it past the fourth round in five attempts since, and she will now face the red-hot favourite for a place in the quarter-finals.
Ivanovic will be a huge underdog in the match, but will be roared on by an Aussie crowd that has taken to the Basel resident.
And she recognises the fact that things are now about to get a lot tougher as she prepares to face one of the best players ever to have lifted a racket in the women’s game.
“I think it has to be twice the best,” she said. “We had tough matches in the past. It’s very tough. Tonight was also very tough but I look forward to the challenge.”
Williams eased into the fourth round with a comfortable win over Daniela Hantuchova in the searing Victoria heat.
The American was rarely troubled and was delighted to run out a 6-3 6-3 winner to continue her comfortable progress Down Under.
“I feel good to have got through that one because it was tough conditions out there,” she said. “But I was happy to win.”