Ana loses Clijsters heartbreaker

Ana loses Clijsters heartbreaker

Ana failed to convert a 5-1 final set lead, and spurned five match points, as she lost to world No.2 and defending champion Kim Clijsters 7-6, 3-6, 7-6 in the fourth round of the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami.

Ana was magnificent for large portions of the match against the Belgian three-time Grand Slam champion, but she came up marginally short in a rain-delayed match on Court 2.

Adding to Ana's torment is the fact that she won more points and games than Clijsters during the two hour, 18-minute match.

Coming into the match, few observers gave Ana much of a chance, considering that in her two previously completed matches against Clijsters, she had won just three games. However, by taking the first set to a tiebreak she already bettered her past efforts against the brilliant Belgian, even though Clijsters clinched it 7-4.

Ana faced a breakpoint in the opening game of the second set but managed to hold. She immediately put the pressure on Clijsters' serve and wangled a handful of break opportunities. After she exploited her fifth break point, she stormed through the set, establishing a 5-1 lead with some fearless hitting.

Clijsters pulled back one service break but could not deny Ana from levelling the match, as the momentum swung firmly in the 17th seed's favour.

The 23-year-old played some fantastic tennis, mixing forehand missiles with some intelligent backhand slices that kept Clijsters on her toes. The 27-year-old began missing wildly, and Ana capitalised.

She got off to a perfect start in the third set, breaking the Clijsters serve and building a 3-1 lead, although she had to recover twice from 15-40 to hold serve in the early stages of the set.

At 5-1, Ana squandered four opportunities to seal the match, as Clijsters produced a marvellous turnaround and got rid of another match point two games later.

Again, a tiebreak ensued, with Clijsters using all her experience to prevail 7-5 and move into the quarter-finals.

"I felt I stayed throughout the whole match," said Ana. I stayed with her and I created the opportunities for myself. I'm just very disappointed to lose like that.

"But I really felt like I haven't done much wrong. I had my opportunities, and she played some really good tennis.

"I just felt like I couldn't do much different.  She really served well and played well on those [match points]. On my service games I didn't get any match points, and I do feel like I created chances."

Ana missed a wonderful opportunity to score one of the biggest victories of her career, but she proved that she is once more capable of mixing it with the world's very best.

Ana said: "I think no matter what ranking says, I think she's the hottest player at the moment.  It was gonna be a good test for me, and I managed to stay out there with her physically and also to create opportunities and to create lots of match points for myself. That's a very positive thing for me to take from here."

Ana and Andrea Petkovic, who defeated seventh seed Jelena Jankovic in three sets to reach the semi-finals, have withdrawn from the doubles competition. They were due to meet Shuai Peng and Shahar Peer in the quarter-finals later on Tuesday.

The 23-year-old explained: "I'm just like exhausted. It's been a lot. Andrea also had a tough match today, and we were both very, very tired."