Ana surges to Bali title

Ana surges to Bali title

Ana produced a magnificent performance to capture the 2010 Commonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions. She defeated Russian Alisa Kleybanova 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) in a pulsating final – the last match of the WTA Tour season.

The victory is the 10th tournament win of Ana’s career and her second in a month, following her triumph in Linz. As a result, she is projected to climb to No.17 in the WTA Rankings, which are published tomorrow.

It was a fabulous contest that totally captivated the capacity crowd. Ana produced an intelligent, mature performance that was almost error-free. She moved around the court like a gazelle, demonstrating her supremely improved fitness.
 
The first few games went with serve until Ana broke to lead 3-1. She added a second break to wrap up the set.

Kleybanova became even more aggressive in the second set but Ana absorbed all her power. She hit several stunning passing shots while on the run, much to the delight of the audience, whom 24 hours earlier had serenaded Ana in a rendition of Happy Birthday, to her embarrassed pleasure.
 
The quick surface, as it had done all week, created many enthralling, frantic rallies. It was intense stuff, with both players playing at full tilt.

Ana was animated throughout. Her stated goal before the tournament was to finish the year in the top 20, and the only way to achieve that was to win the event.
 
Her polished play continued during the second set, but she fell a break behind in the third game, which she immediately negated by breaking back a game later.

Serve matched serve for the remainder of the set. The 11th game featured one of the most entertaining rallies of the tournament, with the crowd gasping throughout as the two players made several heroic recovery shots, and hit some wickedly low sliced backhands. Crucially, Ana saved two break points in this game, and a tiebreak ensued.
 
Ana led 6-3 in the tiebreak, but Kleybanova saved the first two match points on her own serve. The third match point was one of the most dramatic of Ana’s career, as she hit an ace and reacted jubilantly, only for the Russian to challenge it; Hawk-Eye showed the ball to have landed in by just a couple of centimetres, and thus Ana resumed her celebrations.
 
“I’m so thrilled,” said Ana. “This has been a great week. Everything about it: the location, the tournament organizers, the wonderful crowd. I really felt their energy today. It was a great atmosphere.

“It was my goal to finish the year in the top 20 and it’s very satisfying to achieve it. It’s going to help with my off-season training, knowing that I am closer to the top.
 
“Thanks to everyone who came to watch, and to all everyone who watched on TV and sent me messages of support. It’s a wonderful way to end the season.”

“She served so well, and even if I had some break points she aced or made a big point,” Kleybanova said.