- On Court
- About Ana
- Club Ana
Ana showed signs of improvement despite losing a gripping third round match against sixth seed Agnieszka Radwanska at the Sony Ericsson Open. The 22-year-old played some of her best tennis of recent months, and showed magnificent sportsmanship in conceding a point to her opponent, but could not avoid a 7-5, 7-5 defeat.
The first four games were all breaks of serve. Both players struggled for consistency on serve and, equally, the receiving players piled the pressure on with some offensive returns.
Ana was the first player to hold serve, as she led 3-2, but the Pole broke back straight away and then held serve to lead 4-3. Ana was playing some free-flowing, attacking tennis, especially off her forehand wing. Radwanska, on the other hand, was absorbing Ana's pace and trying to use it against her.
The crafty Pole missed an opportunity to close out the set at 5-4, but she eventually sealed the opener 7-5.
Ana spoke with her coach Heinz Gunthardt during the set break and came out in the opening game of the second set with all guns blazing. It was the kind of gung-ho, winners-dominated shot-making for which she made her name, and she continued such fine form for another two games, thus opening up a 3-0 lead.
Ana had chances to lead 4-0 but, crucially, she missed her opportunities and that appeared to affect her confidence. Radwanska is a wily competitor and she capitalised fully, pulling back two games to trail 3-2.
The sixth game heralded the beginning of a compelling sequence of drama. As Radwanska served at 40-30 Ana hit what appeared to be a clean winner, only for the linesperson to call it "out". Ana, and serveral among the crowd, was incensed, and she looked incredulous as she prepared to serve at 3-3.
She fell 0-30 behind and then, remarkably, she herself over-ruled a Radwanska shot that had been called "out", thus giving the Pole a free point and taking the score to 0-40. At this moment Ana was determination personified and she reeled off five consecutive points to take the game and a 4-3 lead.
However, such exertions appeared to have an effect on her several games later, as she suffered a letdown when serving at 5-5. She produced a tame service game and Radwanska took full advantage to break, and then closed out the match in the following game.
"At times I felt really good out there," said Ana. "I have a lot to be pleased with about this performance. I was aggressive, although still not as much as I would like, but it's definitely a step in the right direction. She's obviously a very, very good player.
"I am able to identify the areas that I need to work on in the coming weeks. Of course, I am never happy to lose, but parts of my performance today were encouraging."