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World No.1 Kim Clijsters has withdrawn from the Pacific Life Open, Ana's next event that begins in California on March 6. The Belgian's pullout due to an ankle injury, along with the absence of some of the world's highest-ranked players, means that Ana could be seeded as high as eighth for what is one of the most prestigious events of the year.
Ana has climbed one place to No.17 in the latest Official Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Rankings, which are published today. It is the third week in a row in which Ana has risen by one place and she currently stands one place behind her career-best ranking of 16.
Ana is featured in the weekly poll on the official Sony Ericsson WTA Tour website. The question is: “Which teenager will be the first to break into the Top 10?” Ana is nominated alongside Tatiana Golovin, Michaela Krajicek, Sania Mirza and Nicole Vaidisova.
To vote, go to www.wtatour.com.
The season may only be six weeks old but, as Ana takes a fortnight off before heading to America for two Tier I events, we take a look at how 2006 has gone so far for the 18-year-old:
After competing in the Proximus Diamond Games in Antwerp Ana has played four ranking tournaments this year plus the Hopman Cup, which is classed as an exhibition event so is not added to her official record. Ana has won five matches and lost four.
Ana produced one of her best performances of the year but lost 7-5, 6-3 to fourth seed Nadia Petrova in the second round of the Proximus Diamond Games. The scoreline was harsh on Ana, who will be very encouraged by her performance in what was a high-quality match.
Ana’s play was impressively balanced. She adopted her usual forceful, attacking style but retained a level of control that allowed her to keep unforced errors to a minimum. After four games the players could not be split.
Ana’s second round match with Nadia Petrova at the Proximus Diamond Games will take place tomorrow afternoon. It is scheduled as the second match on the Main Court and is due to begin sometime after 1.45pm Central European Time. It is expected to be televised on Eurosport 2 and we again plan to offer live game-by-game text commentary on this website.
Ana scored a Valentine's Day win over Italy’s Roberta Vinci in the first round of the Proximus Diamond Games. The 18-year-old triumphed 6-3, 6-3 in her first ever meeting with the world No.43 to record her maiden win in Antwerp.
Despite losing her opening service game, Ana stamped her authority on the match early on, overwhelming her diminutive opponent with a flurry of deep forehands. Vinci did her best to mix things up, approaching the net regularly, but Ana adapted well. She broke in the sixth game to forge ahead 4-2.
Ana has climbed one place in the new Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Rankings. She currently finds herself at No.18, her highest ranking this year. In the Porsche Race, which determines qualifiers for the season-ending WTA Championships, Ana is ranked 27th.
Despite not competing last week Ana moves up one place thanks to Dinara Safina’s inability to defend the points she accrued by winning the Open Gaz de France in Paris 12 months ago: the Russian drops three places to 20th.
ACE Tennis Magazine, Britain’s biggest-selling tennis magazine, has shortlisted Ana in its annual survey of the world’s sexiest players.
Fans are invited to vote for their favourite players at the ACE Hot List website: www.acehotlist.co.uk. The shortlist of 24 is then narrowed down to 10 and submitted to an “expert” panel to rank.
Last year Ana finished seventh in the poll, which has been running since 2001. Maria Sharapova was the female winner while Marat Safin took the men’s honours.
To vote, go to: www.acehotlist.co.uk.
Ana will face Roberta Vinci in the first round of the Proximus Diamond Games, a Tier II event that begins in Antwerp on Monday. It will be Ana’s first meeting with the 22-year-old Italian, who is currently ranked No.41 in the world.
This is Ana’s second appearance in Antwerp. She qualified then lost in the first round to Frenchwoman Virginie Razzano in last year’s event. Vinci has played the event once before: she lost in the second round of qualifying here in 2004. Vinci’s best ever performance on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour is a semi-final appearance in Eastbourne last year.