Ana reflects on Cibulkova victory

Ana reflects on Cibulkova victory

Ana expressed her satisfaction after beating last week's Stanford champion Dominika Cibulkova 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the first round of the Southern California Open.

"As soon as the draw came out I thought that was one of the toughest matches, especially being a seeded player but I was really happy with my performance today in the last two sets," said Ana. "This kind of win means a lot to me."

The 25-year-old was playing her first match since parting ways with coach Nigel Sears, and her first on-court appearance in one month. She revealed how she spent the subsequent weeks and what areas of her game she has been working on.

"Getting consistency," she explained. "Hitting a lot of balls. I did work out a lot in the gym as well, trying to get stronger and more stable. Today I felt, on court, that I was a lot more powerful. This gives me good motivation.

I really felt that I needed to start afresh. I took 10 days off completely and then I started in the gym and then fitness. I enjoyed a vacation in Mallorca with my brother.

Ana is part of the adidas Player Development Programme, which means that she has access to coaches including Sven Groeneveld and Darren Cahill. Additionally, she is travelling with three full-time staff: a hitting partner, fitness trainer and physio.

Asked to elaborate on her short-term plans and aims, Ana said: "I think it's keeping up the hard work, being consistent and working on the confidence part, because I think it plays a large role. It's felt like my game has been there at times but not my confidence.

"And also the physical and mental level hasn't always been there all match. This is going to be a big goal for me: to work hard and to get all that in balance. I'm going to have my fitness coach travel with me the whole time and I'm trying to get that confidence and comfort zone back. I think it's going to make a big difference."

Ana takes on American qualifier Coco Vandeweghe in round two on Thursday. The match is scheduled to take place at 7pm local time (4am Friday Central European Time; 10pm Eastern Time). It will be the first meeting between the pair.

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