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Ana moved into round two of the Generali Ladies Linz with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Monica Niculescu from Romania. Although Ana often struggled with the continuous changes of pace from the world No.70, she past the first hurdle in one hour and ten minutes.
The opening games of the match were atypical of modern women’s tennis; remarkably, all of the first 15 points went with serve, until Ana was the first to snatch a point at 40-0 in the fourth game. After winning that first point on her opponent’s serve, Ana even wangled a break point, but was unable to convert.
The 24-year-old showed a positive attitude and frequently stepped into the court, but there were too many unforced errors coming from her racket. Ana got broken in the seventh game after she had stopped a rally to invoke a Hawk-Eye challenge and proved to be wrong.
She responded well to the wake-up call and re-broke in the following game, before holding serve to love to surge into a 5-4 lead. A tie-break was nearing, until Ana forced the decisive break in the twelfth game and took the hard-fought first set.
Ana used the momentum from winning the set and immediately went on to break in set two, which she acquired with a classy smash from the service line. Nevertheless, Niculescu refused to lie down and fought herself back into the match with a re-break to love.
But as Ana restored her break one game later, there was no coming back this time. The former world No. 1 obtained three match points and took advantage of the first as Niculescu’s forehand went long.
Ana will face Andrea Petkovic in the second round on Thursday. The German beat world No. 92 Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 7-6(3), 6-2.
The match is scheduled to begin sometime after 6.30pm local time. Click here for live point-by-point scoring from the TipsArena Linz.
By Joeri Moerman