Ana charges into semis

Ana charges into semis

Ana surged into the semi-finals of the Commonwealth Bank Tournament Of Champions with a merciless 6-0, 6-1 dismantling of Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

The Russian didn’t give a fair account of herself, although Ana was razor sharp and in an unforgiving mood. The match lasted just 57 minutes.

Pavlyuchenkova won the toss and chose for Ana to serve first. Ana fell 0-30 behind, thanks in part to a miss-hit. She battled back and won the game from deuce, and the following games were also keenly contested but Ana won all of the key points.

6-0 was perhaps an unfair reflection on the opening set’s action, but the body language of the two players served as a portent of things to come: Ana was brimming with confidence while the Russian appeared unsettled even after having been on court for a set.

Ana returned serve fabulously, which exerted irresistible pressure on the 19-year-old. As Ana had commented before the match, on a slick court such as this, the match can get away from a player very quickly indeed, and so it proved for Pavlyuchenkova.

Ana made several breathtaking retrievals and frequently passed her opponent when she approached the net. She also hit a serve of 207 km/h, although it just failed to clear the net – had it done so it would have been the fastest in the history of women’s tennis.

At 6-0, 5-0 Ana looked destined to complete just the third whitewash of her professional career, but Pavlyuchenkova fought on gamely and finally got her name on the scoreboard, to the delight of the crowd. To her credit, the Russian smiled broadly, acknowledging the audience’s generosity.

It proved to be a mere consolation, as Ana sealed a most emphatic victory one game later.

“It was a very satisfying victory,” said Ana. “It was almost a perfect performance.

“Although, saying that, it was closer than the score indicates. There were some tough games in the first set. I’m really pleased I was able to win the important points.

“A performance like this gives me confidence. I’m going to enjoy my day off tomorrow and get ready for the semis on Saturday.”

Ana will meet either top seed Li Na of China or Japan’s Kimiko Date Krumm in the semi-finals.