Ivan Ljubicic did it again!
REPEATING THE FEAT
By Jeff Lesser
Ivan Ljubicic did it again! For the second week in a row, Croat Ivan Ljubicic won a high-level ATP tournament. After not having won a tournament in four years, Ivan has put together an amazing streak, winning 13 straight matches (As of the time I write this article, he has just won the first round of the Madrid Tennis Masters).
Prior to these two weeks of fabulous play, Ivan has appeared in four finals this year, only to lose in each and every one. This includes three losses to dominant world #1 Roger Federer and one to hard-hitting Swede Joachim Johansson.
Now, however, Ljubicic has reversed the curse. He is in the midst what is by far his best season ever. Despite still not having reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam, the Bosnian born 26-year-old has reached the finals of six tournaments, winning two of them. Going into the Tennis Masters Madrid, he is clearly the hottest player. It would not be a surprise for him to do extremely well, with a relatively easy draw and without Roger Federer in the tournament.
Ljubicic has had more success than just making it to the finals of six events, which would surely qualify a tremedous season for almost every tour player. Besides for this, he has almost single-handedly vaulted Croatia into the Davis Cup finals, to be held December 2-4. He was responsible for all three victories [two singles, one doubles victory (with partner Mario Ancic)] in Croatia's first round shocking upset over the United States, who had assembled what was potentially the best Davis Cup team to ever play. This feat, alone, was unheard of, as the United States media made a tremendous deal of one man single-handedly defeating ANY team, let alone the United States. In the next two rounds, Croatia played Romania and Russia. Against both, Ljubicic repeated the amazing feat he first unleashed on the United States, winning all three matches. This has truly been a great year.
Ivan Ljubicic has also reached a career-high ranking of #12, matching what he obtained in the beginning of the season with another hot streak of tennis. It has now become clear that Ivan Ljubicic has the talent and the opportunity to crack the top ten. Add to all this his six finals appearances, two straight tournament victories, 13 straight match wins, and his instrumental role in putting Croatia in the Davis Cup final for the first time in the nation's young history, and Ivan Ljubicic is quickly rising as one of the best players on the men's tennis tour.