Ana reaches Auckland final

Ana reaches Auckland final

Ana is into the final of the ASB Classic in Auckland thanks to an impressive 6-0, 7-6(3) victory over Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens. The 26-year-old was outstanding and didn’t face a single break point during the 70-minute match to set up a mouth-watering clash with Venus Williams on Saturday.
 
Ana had lost the only previous meeting against the world No.20 and had her gameplan all set for today’s encounter. She threw in a drop shot during the very first point of the match and immediately emphasized her intentions. The Belgian, on the other hand, started rather poorly. Flipkens followed up a double fault with an unforced error and immediately faced three break points in the opening game. Ana scored the early advantage on the second occasion.
 
The good Ana was returning, and she was even better when she was on her own delivery. She fired six aces and lost just 10 points on serve throughout the match. In just 12 minutes, the 26-year-old had taken a double break lead and moved 4-0 ahead.
 
Flipkens was completely overwhelmed and surrendered her serve a third time, letting a ball pass in the opinion that it would go long, but saw it land before the baseline. It was a sign of the times for the Belgian, who during the opening set was a shadow of the player who reached the Wimbledon semi-finals last year. 
 
Flipkens began the second set in much better fashion. She held serve to love and got on the scoreboard in the first game, but still she was unable to threaten Ana's serve.
 
Ana slightly dropped the pace as the match progressed and as Flipkens also cut down her unforced errors; set two was a much tighter affair. Despite the second seed holding break chances in games five and eleven, no breaks of serve were allowed.
 
In the tiebreak, Flipkens was 2-1 up until a forehand stroke went just long. The Belgian wasn’t entirely convinced of the accuracy of the call and expressed her exasperation. When the world No.20 missed an easy smash during the following rally, the resistance was definitively broken.
 
Ana took a 5-2 lead and dropped just one more point as she clinched a most polished victory. The second seed eventually finished the match with hugely satisfying winners-to-unforced errors figures of 15-11. She won 88 per cent of the points on her first delivery. 
 
"I really expected a tough match. Like you saw in the second set, she played really well," said Ana in her on-court interview.
 
"In the first set I didn't do much wrong. In the second set we were both serving extremely well. It was a little bit tough in the gusty conditions. I'm just happy that I stayed calm in the tiebreak and played some good tennis."
 
Ana will face seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams in the final on Saturday. The 33-year-old American, who has dropped to 47 in the rankings, reached the final after receiving a walkover when her semi-final opponent Jamie Hampton withdrew from the tournament.

By Joeri Moerman.

Photo: Manuela Davies / doubleXposure.com