Short and not sweet

ROB LONGLEY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 1:12 PM ET

Her official website has made the boastful claim that it is the most-visited online destination for any female athlete in the world.

Unfortunately, Toronto tennis fans will have to be satisfied with visiting Ana Ivanovic on the World Wide Web rather than in the impressive flesh at Rexall Centre.

The statuesque Serb set about defending her Rogers Cup crown in the meekest possible way yesterday, by getting blown out by qualifier Zi Yan of China, 6-3, 6-1.

One of the biggest draws to actually show up to the tournament, Ivanovic was dominated in her brief appearance before a stadium-court crowd that was barely one-third full.

"This is obviously very disappointing for me ... I'm really sorry I couldn't hang around for a little bit longer," said Ivanovic, who lasted all of 64 minutes. "I needed some time to get into the match, but she didn't give me that."

Ivanovic wasn't the only contender blown away on a breezy afternoon at the York University facility, as three of the top eight seeds were sent packing.

Fifth-seeded Anna Chakvetadze of Russia withdrew from her match with Virginie Razzano because of a viral infection while trailing 7-6 (5), 2-0. And earlier, Italian Francesca Shiavone upset No. 8 seed Elena Dementieva, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-2.

But the biggest loss for the event, which moves into the round of 16 today, came from the powerful two-handed strokes of the 169th-ranked woman in the world.

Yan admitted she came into her match with Ivanovic expecting little more than to enjoy the experience against an opponent she described as her favourite player.

"Because she is a top player, I didn't think I could win," Yan said. "I just went out to the court to enjoy the match."

She did much more. Though accomplished in doubles -- having teamed with compatriot Jie Zheng to win 2006 Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon and the Australian Open -- Yan needed Sunday qualifying to get into the singles draw here.

Earlier in the week, Ivanovic was celebrating her ascent to a career best No. 4 in the world, a rise that began a year ago when she captured this event in Montreal.

She also won a title this past weekend in Los Angeles and, to help ease the jet lag and the toll of multiple matches, didn't pick up a racquet until yesterday.

"It was tough out there mentally," Ivanovic said. "I had a good tournament last week and it was very hard to start again and focus from the first round on."

Despite the lack of preparation, Ivanovic said she did not take Yan lightly.

"As a top player, I am learning that all the other players are more eager to beat you," she said. "So, I definitely didn't come on the court thinking she will give the match away.

"She played amazing and I wasn't prepared for that."

Neither were those who bought tickets to see her play through the weekend.


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