Ljubo's 2005 Review
Ivan Ljubicic became the final player to secure an invitiation to Shanghai, capping off his best season to date with a strong surge to the finish.
The 26-year-old Croat, who broke into the Top 10 for the first time, rightfully earned his place in the circuit finale by advancing to the finals in four of his last five tournaments of the regular season. He titled in Vienna and Metz, and fell just short at Masters Series Madrid and BNP Paribas Masters.
The No. 1 Croat enjoyed his best season by winning two ATP titles in seven finals, breaking into Top 10 for first time and leading his country to its first Davis Cup final in December
Joined Goran Ivanisevic as only Croats to rank in Top 10 in history of ATP Rankings (since 1973)
In first three months, jumped off to a 26-8 start with half of his losses coming to No. 1 Federer
Reached finals in four of his first six tournaments, losing to Federer in Doha, Rotterdam and Dubai with the other to J. Johansson in Marseille
In March, accounted for all three points in Croatia's 3-2 first round Davis Cup win over U.S. in Los Angeles, defeating No. 9 Agassi in opening rubber and No. 3 Roddick in five sets in fourth rubber to clinch tie
In between, teamed (w/Ancic) to beat Bryan brothers in doubles...
Also advanced to 4th RD at ATP Masters Series stops in Indian Wells (l. to Federer) and Miami (l. to Nadal)
After a five-set 3nd RD loss to Gasquet at US Open, turned things around during European indoor circuit by compiling a career-best 16-match winning streak
Began with Davis Cup singles wins over Russia's Youzhny and Davydenko in semifinal tie in Split, then won back-to-back ATP titles in Metz (d. Monfils) and Vienna (d. Ferrero) without losing his serve in 57 games
His service streak ended at a career-best 81 straight games after holding 24 in a row at ATP Masters Series Madrid (lost serve in seventh game vs. Gonzalez in QF) en route to his first Masters Series final (l. to Nadal)
Took first two sets and led 2-0 in fifth set before Nadal rallied to win in a final set tie-break
Afterwards, climbed from 13 to tied for 8th in INDESIT ATP 2005 Race
Led ATP circuit with most indoor match wins (29-4) and went 6-6 vs. Top 10 opponents
Ranked among Top 10 in several RICOH ATP MatchFacts categories -- No. 1 in break points saved (71%), No. 2 in aces (777), No. 4 in service games won (88%) and second serve points won (55%)
Compiled a 9-0 record (6-0 in singles, 3-0 in doubles) in Davis Cup play in leading his country to its first final in Slovak Republic