Ivanovic hails new generation of tennis stars | sports | Hindustan Times
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Ivanovic hails new generation of tennis stars

sports Updated: Jan 23, 2008 15:21 IST

Serb fourth seed Ana Ivanovic said a new generation of women's tennis stars was emerging after sending Venus Williams spiralling out of the Australian Open on Wednesday.

Six-time Grand Slam champion Williams joined her sister Serena -- the defending champion -- and world number one Justine Henin on an early flight out of Melbourne after being eliminated from the year's first major tournament.

The trio have 21 Grand Slams between them and were regarded as major chances at the Australian Open.

But Ivanovic, 20, said she and other rising stars such as her compatriot Jelena Jankovic, 22, and Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova, 25, had made the most of their chances to reach the semi-finals at Melbourne Park.

Ivanovic included Maria Sharapova among the new crop because the Russian fifth seed is still only 20, even though she has two Grand Slams after making her breakthough at Wimbledon at the tneder age of 17.

"I think it's for everyone interesting to see new faces and fresh faces," Ivanovic said.

"You know, most of us are very young. Maria is 20, Jelena is 22, Daniela also very young.

"I think it's great for women's tennis. We all have a great opportunity here this year. It's just a matter of who can stay stronger and do it."

Ivanovic will meet ninth seed Hantuchova in the semis Thursday, while third seed Jankovic lines up against Sharapova.

Ivanovic added that more players were working their way up the ranks as the sport attracted fans in new regions as its global profile grew.

"I think tennis, it's becoming more like a global sport," she said.

"There are also many girls from China coming up. You know, it's great to see new faces on the tour.

"I think from eastern Europe, people are very, very determined to succeed."