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Ana’s second round match with Nadia Petrova at the Proximus Diamond Games will take place tomorrow afternoon. It is scheduled as the second match on the Main Court and is due to begin sometime after 1.45pm Central European Time. It is expected to be televised on Eurosport 2 and we again plan to offer live game-by-game text commentary on this website.
This will be the third meeting between Ana and the Russian world No.7. Ana beat the 23-year-old 6-4, 7-5 in the second round of the Nasdaq-100 Open in Miami in March last year but lost to her in the quarter-finals of the French Open two months later by a scoreline of 6-2, 6-2.
The match between the two players at Roland Garros was of course the biggest occasion of Ana’s career: it was her first ever grand slam quarter-final and she confessed to being both nervous and “emotionally empty” due to the previous day’s three-set win over Francesca Schiavone. “I think I could have given much more,” said Ana, whose game didn’t really work at all that day.
She added: “But still I think she played very good tennis. And in some points when I had chances, she just played very good. She did very well.”
Since that match Petrova’s game has significantly progressed. She ended an incredible seven-year wait for a first career singles title by winning Linz last October. “This is a great step forward for me,” she said after that triumph. “It was very important that this happened finally.”
One of the more thoughtful players on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, Petrova had a lot of positive things to say when this website asked her for an appraisal of Ana’s game. “She’s already very tall for her age,” said Petrova, who like Ana is appearing in Antwerp for only the second time. Last year she reached the second round, where she lost to Kim Clijsters in straight sets.
“She’s very well built. She’s physically much stronger than a lot of the other girls on the Tour. She has very good, powerful strokes. She has a good serve. She seems to really play her game out there – she doesn’t seem to have nerves, she just goes for it and enjoys her tennis.
“Off-court she seems to be a very intelligent girl, very quiet and always polite. I think that with the combination of being nice on court and off the court she has the personality to be a top tennis player."
By Gavin Versi