Ana’s French Open adventure came to an end

Ana’s French Open adventure came to an end

Ana’s French Open adventure came to an end on Tuesday afternoon as she was beaten 6-2, 6-2 by seventh seed Nadia Petrova of Russia. It was an error-strewn performance from the 17-year-old, who was unable to reproduce the kind of form that got her to her first ever grand slam quarter-final.
“I’m pretty happy the first quarter-final,” she said. “But a little disappointed with this match today. I think I could give much more. And that’s why I don’t feel so great right now.”
Against an opponent whom she had beaten in their only previous encounter Ana began brightly, winning the first point with a brilliant cross court forehand then earning herself two break points. Petrova saved them both as four of the first five games went to deuce but there were no breaks of serve.
In a cagey beginning neither player was on top form. “I was a little bit nervous before the game,” Ana admitted. As expected, Petrova ran around her backhand to unleash her biggest weapon, her forehand, but it was a string of errant roundstrokes and double faults by Ana that enabled her to gain the scendancy. She broke Ana in the sixth game after the Serbian made three unforced errors.
The pattern of points being won by errors rather than winners continued and Petrova broke again to take a 6-2 lead. Another three unforced errors in her opening service game of the second set put Petrova in firm control of the match. Though Ana broke back immediately, thanks in part to a deft drop shot, she herself was unable to hold in her next service game and Netrova led 4-1.
Serving at 0-30 the writing looked to be on the wall for the 17-year-old but she demonstrated her sound defensive play to win four straight points, letting out a cry of determination as she did so. However, it was to be too late. The Russian held to love and stood on the brink of victory at 5-2. After just 64 minutes it was all over as another break of serve brought Ana’s run in Paris to a disappointing end.
In truth, Ana never got out of second gear in this match and was a shadow of the player who sensationally removed third seed Amelia Mauresmo in the third round on Saturday. She hit made 33 unforced errors, six double faults and just 10 winners.
“I was a little bit emotionally empty from yesterday,” said Ana, in reference to her three-set win over Francesca Schiavone. “I just knew I had to go for some shots because she’s very good player and I had to put her under pressure. But sometimes I really wanted too much. So that caused many unforced errors.
To her credit, the big-serving Russian played consistently and fully deserved the victory. “She played very good tennis,” said Ana. “In some points when I had chances, she just played very good. She did very well.”
While she will be frustrated not to have put up a better performance against an eminently beatable opponent, Ana takes a lot of encouragement from her first professional Roland Garros. “It was just amazing,” she said.
“I really enjoyed my time. Playing Amelie Mauresmo on Centre Court – that’s really something I will remember all my life.”
By Gavin Versi