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It was a mixed performance by Ana, but she is through to the fourth round of the Nasdaq-100 Open after beating world No.95 Alona Bondarenko 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 in one hour and 42 minutes.
“I don’t think this was a good performance from both of us,” said Ana. “I’m pleased I took my opportunities in the end.”
“I just think I could have played much better, but I wasn’t moving well. At some important points my serve was coming and I’m really happy that I took the opportunities I had.”
Ana made a fast start to the match, carving out three break points in the opening game but Bondarenko saved them all. The Ukrainian was unable to resist Ana’s aggression in her next service game and the 18-year-old broke to lead 2-1 only to make several unforced errors in the next game – a pattern that continued throughout the match on Court One.
“Backhand was really shaky,” admitted Ana. “I was also hitting my forehand quite a lot with the frame. I’m really happy I could stay focussed at the important moments and win the important points.”
Some positive play by Ana, who often moved into the court to attack the Bondarenko serve, in game seven saw her break to love. She held serve then broke again to seal opening set 6-3 even though she was far from her best.
Bondarenko capitalised on this and broke Ana four times during an error-packed second set, which she won 7-5. Ana refused to blame the early start – she has admitted she is not a fan of early matches in the past – as an excuse for her sub-par performance.
“That’s not the best!” she said about early starts. “But you have to adapt. So many times I will be in this position again.”
To give Bondarenko credit, she grew in confidence as the match progressed and returned well throughout. But Ana always looked the more likely winner. She regrouped well after dropping the second set to surge 5-1 ahead in the decider.
Though she wobbled a little as she neared the finish line, Ana sealed an indifferent three set win with a successful excursion to the net. In fact, Ana was successful on 17 of her 22 visits to the net, a winning percentage of 77.
“So many times you will not perform to your best level but still you have to go through and win matches,” said Ana. “I’m just happy that I won this match because I am sure I will play much better tomorrow.”
Tomorrow’s opponent is not yet known but it is likely to be world No.1 Amelie Mauresmo. The Frenchwoman, whom Ana has played five times already in her short career, winning the last two, plays compatriot Marion Bartoli later today.
By Gavin Versi
Click here for an audio clip of Ana talking about the match.
Click here for a game-by-game text commentary of the match.