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Ana and Maria Kirilenko continue their doubles partnership at the US Open, which begins today. The teenagers have been drawn against Yulia Beygelzimer and Vera Dushevina, whom Ana also plays in the first round of the singles competition, in the first round.
Incredibly, this is the second straight tournament in which this has happened to Ana - she faced Frenchwoman Tatiana Golovin in the first round of both competitions in Montreal a fortnight ago.
The Ukrainian-Russian team have a combined doubles ranking of 150, compared to Ana and Maria's 86.
We take a look at how the leading ladies are shaping up ahead of the year's final Grand Slam. Please note that any opinions expressed are those of the author and are entirely independent of Ana
1 Amelie Mauresmo
The Frenchwoman has appeared in only one tournament since winning Wimbledon two months ago because of a shoulder injury. On her return to action in New Haven this week she lost 6-4, 7-5 to Lindsay Davenport. Her best ever showing in New York is a semi-final appearance in 2002.
2 Justine Henin-Hardenne
We recently caught up with Ana's coach David Taylor to talk about her Rogers Cup win and how their partnership is going
Gavin Versi: Hi David, thanks for taking the time to speak to us.
David Taylor: Anytime.
GV: Ana admitted she is surprised by how quickly she’s improved. Are you surprised?
With the 2006 US Open just three days away, we take a look back at Ana’s performances at last year’s event
Round one – beat Lindsay Lee-Waters 7-6, 6-3
Ana will appear on ESPN’s popular Cold Pizza programme tomorrow (Friday).
According to ESPN, Cold Pizza “combines a unique blend of sports, pop culture and lifestyle features”. The programme is subtitled “The Morning Show with Everything”.
The show will feature an exclusive interview with Ana and a serving demonstration, in which she will attempt to ace ESPN interviewer Josh Elliott.
After initial concerns about it being a distraction, Ana has fully embraced Hawk-Eye, the automatic line-calling system that was present at all US Open Series tournaments and will make its Grand Slam debut at Flushing Meadows on Monday.
“I find it very useful,” said Ana. “Even if you are wrong, it is a good feeling to know that the ball was definitely in or out.”
Ana has been drawn against world No.71 Vera Dushevina in the first round of the US Open, which begins on Monday. Ana is the No.16 seed for the year’s final Grand Slam tournament.
It will be the pair’s second meeting in under a month and their fourth overall. Ana beat the Russian 6-3, 6-1 in the first round of the JPMorgan Chase Open in Los Angeles three weeks ago.
Former world No.1 Martina Hingis was full of praise for Ana after being beaten 6-2, 6-3 by the 18-year-old in the final of the Rogers Cup.
“There’s not much you can do,” she said about playing Ana when she is on top form. “I felt like I was hitting some pretty good shots, decent shots to keep the rallies with her. But when you lose those points, you’re like, ‘Okay, what can I do, what more, what next?’ Some points in the second set I felt like I started reading her game better, I started playing better, but it was a little late.”
With her Rogers Cup victory in Montreal yesterday, which is worth 300 points, Ana moves up two places to No.17 in the new Sony Ericsson WTA Tour rankings. Consequently, she will be seeded in the top 16 for next week’s US Open. Standings that determine the eight qualifiers for the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships in Madrid (All players begin the year on ‘0’ and Ana now has 912pts), which sees her reside in 13th place, up six places from last week.