- On Court
- About Ana
- Club Ana
Ana gave a very mixed performance during a 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 defeat to world No.4 Jelena Jankovic. She looked the more likely victor as she earned a 6-4, 2-0 lead, but a lack of consistency thereafter cost her dearly.
It was a match littered with service breaks: 19 in 27 games, to be precise. Ana, who was loudly encouraged by the Spanish crowd, was the first to hold and took a 4-3 lead in the opening set.
After breaking her opponent once again, Ana served for the first set but in a hard-fought game that saw three set points come and go, Jankovic held on. However, Ana broke her again during the 10th game and she clinched the opening set after 43 minutes.
Ana was looking confident after winning the first set and she held serve to begin the second set. She followed it up with an immediate break to lead by a set and 2-0.
It was around now that Jankovic began to raise her level and Ana became more passive. She also made some uncharacteristic errors, including a terribly botched volley when she had the whole court to aim at in the fourth game of the set.
Jankovic held serve for the first time and won three games in a row, turning the 2-0 arrears into a 3-2 lead. Crucially, Ana three times led 30-0 on her own serve, but she could not manage to hold serve again during the second set. The 25-year-old Serbian did once more, and leveled the match.
Jankovic significantly reduced her unforced errors during the final set as Ana appeared pre-occupied with the second set loss. In no time at all, thanks to Jankovic’s consistency and Ana’s lack of timing off the ground, she was 4-0 down.
Ana was a mere shadow of her former self, producing seven double faults in the third set, which she lost 6-1. It had all began so promisingly, but ended in rather frustrating fashion.
“I don’t think either of us played so well today,” said Ana about the error-strewn encounter.
“I think what made the big difference was that she had a high percentage of first serves in, and that made a big difference in the second and third sets.”
On the bright side, Ana can take solace in the fact that she had the match in her grasp against the world No.4, as she continues her return to form, and confidence.
Ana commented: “I’ve been practicing really well since I came here (to Madrid), and playing even better than I did in Rome. That has really given me a lot of confidence.
“But matches like this happen. I don’t want this loss to get me down because I do really think I’m getting better and playing well. I think a few points here and there made the difference and made it look a lot different.”
When asked to put a timeframe on her return to the upper echelons of women’s tennis – she was ranked No.1 less than two years ago – Ana gave an honest and mature response.
“I always have that in the back of my mind; I’m constantly thinking 'next week, next week',” she said.
“But I’m trying not to put a specific timeframe on myself or put pressure on myself; I just need to really get fit. I need to get myself to the level of fitness that I want to be at; that’s really important, and then I know results will come.
“Until a couple months ago I didn’t feel ready to compete at a high level, but now I feel I can match the games of the top players and that gives me confidence. I know it will all come together.”
Click here to listen to a short audio clip from Ana's post-match press conference