Ana suffers tough Halep loss

Ana suffers tough Halep loss

Ana surrendered a 3-0, double-break advantage in the deciding set as she lost what turned out to be her final match of 2013 2-6, 6-1, 6-3 to top seed Simona Halep. 

The clash between the GARANTi KOZA Tournament of Champions in Sofia's top two seeds matched its billing and entertained an enthusiastic home crowd throughout. Both players started well, and Ana scored the first break. She won the first set largely by piling pressure on the Halep serve. Indeed the Romanian held just once.

The second set saw a huge momentum shift as the errors crept in Ana's game. Halep was strident and did a good job of moving Ana around the court to draw mistakes. She leveled the matched in emphatic style.

Both players took medical timeouts before and during the final set. Just as Halep had halted Ana's progress at the beginning of set two, Ana completely turned the tables on her 22-year-old opponent at the start of the decider.

Ana played almost flawlessly, overhwhelming the world No.13 and moving into a 3-0 lead with two breaks. Cue another change in momentum.

Halep once again re-focused, cut out the errors and Ana was unable to maintain her level. She missed some routine groundstrokes and lost six straight games as she fell to defeat after an hour and 51 minutes.

"I had a lot of chances, but she's obviously in good shape, she's been playing really well lately and you can tell how confident she is," said Ana afterwards.

"She started playing a lot better in the second set. Even though the score was 6-1, I think it was way more closer than that, I had a lot of chances. Overall it was a very tough match."

The match brings an end to Ana's 2013 season. "I had a really nice time here and I enjoyed the whole week," she said.

Ana will next be in competitive action in Auckland, New Zealand, in an event that starts on 29 December.

However, she will be in court before then, albeit in an exhibition match, when she faces Maria Sharapova in Bogota on 6 December.