Ivanovic and friends paint the town pink after first flush of Grand Slam triumph

Like in any major city, the Parisian police are prepared for most eventualities late on a Saturday night. It can be safely assumed, however, that they experienced a first in the small hours of yesterday morning when they stopped four men attired in salmon-pink dresses under the Arc de Triomphe. Among the witnesses to the incident was Ana Ivanovic, who had been celebrating her first Grand Slam in a nearby restaurant.

The four men were Scott Byrnes, her fitness trainer, Sven Groeneveld, her coach, Marcin Rozpedski, her hitting partner, and Milos, her brother. They had promised the 20-year-old Serb a fortnight earlier that if she won the French Open they would run round the Arc de Triomphe wearing her tennis outfit.

From the moment Ivanovic won her first-round match here her entourage must have started to wonder what they were letting themselves in for. She dropped only one set in the whole tournament, against her compatriot Jelena Jankovic in the semi-finals, and has proved over the last two weeks that she is a worthy holder of the world No 1 ranking which she will inherit today.

Saturday's 6-4, 6-3 victory over Dinara Safina was a logical conclusion to 12 months of progress. Having frozen so badly in last year's final against the now retired Justine Henin, who presented her with the Suzanne Lenglen Trophy on Saturday, Ivanovic showed with her much-improved display against Maria Sharapova in the Australian Open final in January that she had the mental strength to claim the game's biggest prizes.

Another key difference this year has been her fitness. The 2008 Ivanovic is a sleeker version of last year's model and her improved mobility has strengthened her defensive game. Nowhere was this more evident than on what proved to be a crucial point in the second set, with Safina serving at 1-1 and 40-30. In one of the best rallies of the match Ivanovic defended deep behind the baseline to return two smashes and then raced to the net to chase down a drop shot before hitting a clever backhand winner.

Ivanovic went on to win the game with a huge forehand return. There were no more breaks until Safina, at 3-5, finally wilted under the pressure of Ivanovic's forehand returns and dropped her serve to love. There is no more effective shot in the women's game than Ivanovic's majestic forehand. The inside-out version, struck flat and hard across court, is a fearsome weapon that frequently felled Safina. The Russian, playing in her first Grand Slam final, gave a decent account of herself, but in a showdown between two players who like to go for their shots the world No 14 always looked the more likely to make mistakes.

After some retail therapy at Louis Vuitton and Chanel this morning, Ivanovic flies home to Belgrade, where there are likely to be more celebrations. Serbia's first female Grand Slam champion is due to play at Eastbourne next week, though it would be no surprise if she decided to rest instead in preparation for the start of Wimbledon in a fortnight's time.

Completing the French-Wimbledon double is one of the tallest orders in the game, but Ivanovic proved with her run to last year's semi-finals at the All England Club that she can play on grass. While her volleys can be suspect and she rarely goes to the net out of choice, Ivanovic's booming forehand and improved athleticism make her a threat on any surface. For the last two years she has lost at Wimbledon to the eventual champions, Amélie Mauresmo and Venus Williams.

"To tell the truth, I'm still trying to enjoy this victory and not thinking about grass," Ivanovic said when asked about her chances of winning at Wimbledon. "A lot of players will now play their best tennis against me, but I still think I have a good chance. I've been working really hard and that has brought results."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Extras
indybest
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Poet’s corner: Philip Larkin at the venetian window of his home in 1958
booksOr caring, playful man who lived for others? A new book has the answer
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
News
Matthew McConaughey and his son Levi at the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on August 17, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
advertisingOscar-winner’s Lincoln deal is latest in a lucrative ad production line
Life and Style
Pick of the bunch: Sudi Pigott puts together roasted tomatoes with peppers, aubergines and Labneh cheese for a tomato-inspired vegetarian main dish
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape