Ana triumphs in date with destiny

Ana triumphs in date with destiny

On her 23rd birthday, Ana won a richly entertaining match against Japan’s Kimiko Date Krumm. The birthday girl triumphed 7-5, 6-7, 6-2 over the 40-year-old world No.53.

It was undoubtedly one of the most visually spectacular matches of Ana’s career, packed with frantic rallies, incredible angles and breathless retrievals. Ana played some of her best recovery shots of recent times against the wily old Date Krumm.

The Japanese player’s ability to take the ball extremely early caused Ana problems from the very first ball. The 23-year-old was broken to love in both of her opening service games and she trailed 3-0.

Ana was struggling to cope with the flat, unorthodox strokes of Date Krumm and she cut a frustrated figure, just as many of the leading WTA players have found themselves bewitched by Date Krumm’s unusual but brilliant style of play.

Ana got her name on the scoreboard in the fourth game, breaking the Japanese. It was a fascinating clash of styles, with Ana cast as the aggressor and Date Krumm, like a Jiu-Jitsu fighter, using Ana’s power against her.

The Japanese led 5-3 but Ana hit back and broke for a second time to level at 5-5. Her greater weight of shot proved critical as she then took the next two games as well, to wrap up the set.

When Ana broke and led 2-0 in the second set she looked destined to firmly gain control of the match but Date Krumm was not done yet – not by a long chalk. She broke back for 2-1.

Ana hit a swathe of sizzling forehands that painted the lines of the court, but Date Krumm showed an iron-like will – her spirit would not be broken, despite Ana’s constant pressing. The capacity crowd at the Westin Hotel was captivated by what had become a truly special encounter.

Ana led 5-3 and held a match point in the following game, but Date Krumm’s persistence paid off as she broke back and pinched the set on a tiebreak.

Admirably, Ana regrouped and played a very intelligent third set, upping the pace at all the right moments and, finally, overwhelming the Japanese with her power.

“It was a very tough match, mentally and physically,” said Ana. “It was so intense. I managed to stay strong and I’m just very happy that I made it.

“It was a disappointing start, my rhythm wasn’t there. But I managed to stay calm and that was very important.

“She’s very quick around the court and the ball stays very low, especially on this surface. I didn’t find it easily at all. My serve definitely helped me today, and overall it’s a very pleasing victory, especially after missing that match point in the second set.”

Ana will face Alisa Kleybanova in the final at 4pm local time on Sunday, after the Russian defeated Daniela Hantuchova 6-3, 6-1.