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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 is the only player to beat world No.2 Amelie Mauresmo this year. She defeated the Frenchwoman, who went on to win the Australian Open, 6-3, 7-5 in the second round of the Medibank International in Sydney.
Ana has played three players ranked above her. She has won one (against Mauresmo) and lost two (versus Russians Svetlana Kuznetsova and Nadia Petrova).
Any has played six players ranked beneath her and has won four times and lost twice. Ana has beaten Shuai Peng, Shenay Perry, Ai Sugiyama and Roberta Vinci. She has lost to Samantha Stosur and Maria Kirilenko.
While it is disappointing for Ana and her fans that the 18-year-old has lost in the second round of her two events after the Australian Open, a look at the statistics suggest that there is no reason to be too downcast. Against Kirilenko in Tokyo’s Toray Pan Pacific Open Ana earned 11 break points but took just one of them (9 per cent); by contrast the Russian capitalised on three out of the five break point chances she created (60 per cent).
Against Petrova Ana again struggled to convert the opportunities she created for herself. She won just one out of nine break points (11 per cent), compared to Petrova’s three out of six (50 per cent). It is unlikely that Ana will repeat such low break point conversion rates and that she is earning so many opportunities to break is undoubtedly a good sign. Ana likes to take a very positive attitude and so does this website.
Furthermore, world No.7 Petrova, arguably one of the three best servers in women’s tennis – alongside Lindsay Davenport and Maria Sharapova – made an incredible 74 per cent of first serves in their Antwerp showdown. An amazingly high 32 per cent of the points played (43 out of 134) ended in Petrova winners. Though events have different methods of recording winners, it can be noted that men’s world No.1 Roger Federer failed to reach such heights when he won last month’s Australian Open.
The next event on Ana’s schedule is the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, which begins on March 8. It will be Ana’s debut in the Californian desert Tier I event.
By Gavin Versi