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- About Ana
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Ana’s fine run at the US Open ended tonight with a 6-1 6-3 defeat to the USA’s Serena Williams on Arthur Ashe Stadium. Ana produced another good performance but Williams, considered by many as the greatest player of all-time having notched 16 Grand Slam titles, was brimming with confidence and self-belief and played at her irresistible best.
Williams has won the US Open on three occasions and has made the semi-finals in each of her last four appearances at Flushing Meadows. She also had a fantastic summer winning her fifth Wimbledon title and singles and doubles gold medal at the London Olympics. Therefore it was always going to be difficult especially given the way she played to defeat Andrea Hlavackova 6-0, 6-0 in the previous round, and the fact she was yet to drop a set in the tournament this year so far.
The world No.4 raced to a 3-0 lead before Ana got her first game. To emphasise the challenge facing Ana, Williams had won 23 straight games before that. Ana tried to impose herself on the match using her powerful flat forehand and stunning movement which had gotten her this far, and wanted to keep playing on the offensive.
However, the American was serving at her best. In the match she won 26 of 29 first serve points (95 per cent) and recorded 12 aces. It was therefore hard for Ana to make any real impact returning.
Williams then put huge pressure on the 12th seed’s serve with the depth and power of her return and was clinical whenever she had the chance to break, winning four of the six break points she had in the match. Williams closed out the first set in 23 minutes.
An early break in the second set saw the match continue in the same vein. Another break swiftly followed, however Ana showed her fighting qualities to get a better foothold in this set by winning three games. She played well on both flanks, hitting the ball early and sweetly and remained positive in spite of the way Williams was playing.
The American sealed the victory in 58 minutes to secure a place in the semi-finals where she will play Italy’s Sara Errani. On the other hand, Ana must take a lot of heart and confidence from the way she has played and accept that on this occasion she was playing an incredible player at the top of her game.
“I think that the quality of tennis compared to last year was much higher,” said Ana. “I think from both of us. She was serving unbelievable, by hardly missing serves. That puts a lot of pressure on an opponents' own service games, but I am happy with the way I played.”
Williams was also complementary of the way Ana played. “I think Ana played better in the second set and was definitely putting a lot more pressure on me,” she said. “It feels good to be able to play like that in the quarter-finals, especially against Ana Ivanovic. She's been No.1 and has a Grand Slam title under her belt. She’s a great player.”
By Jonathan Campkin
Photo: Manuela Davies / doubleXposure.com