Elena ends Ana advance

Elena ends Ana advance

The tennis equivalent of the game of two halves was played out at the Pacific Life Open this lunchtime, as Ana dominated the beginning of her quarter-final match with Elena Dementieva only to lose in three sets. The 18-year-old eventually went down 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 to the fourth seeded Russian.

Ana revealed to us during the Australian Open earlier this year that she is not a fan of early starts but that certainly was not in evidence today as she flew out of the blocks, breaking Dementieva in the third game and losing only one point in her own opening two service games.

As expected, the 24-year-old produced a string of double faults – she had served 45 in this event coming into the match – and Ana capitalised on the deficiencies in her delivery to break again and move 4-1 ahead. Though she was broken herself in the next game, Ana was moving freely and timing the ball superbly. A succession of hard, flat groundstrokes overwhelmed the Russian as Ana completely bossed the first set.

As she sealed the opening set 6-2 then broke immediately in the first game of the second, Ana had one foot in the semi-finals. It was here that the match began to turn round. The Serbian missed four game points in her next service game that would have seen her move 2-0 ahead and Dementieva’s quality of tennis began to increase. She broke back immediately.

Serving at 1-2, Ana hit one of several outrageous recovery shots that were a highlight of the one hour, 53 minute match. However, a double fault at the wrong moment allowed Dementieva to break and though the Russian stumbled somewhat, she sealed the second set by breaking Ana in the tenth game to level the match at 2-6, 6-4.

Ana, who made frequent, familiar self-encouraging cries of “ajde” during the opening two sets, appeared to be extremely disappointed at dropping the second set and she slammed her racket against the ground as she made her way to the chair.

As she often does, Dementieva took a bathroom break and when the match resumed was a different player to the one that Ana had dominated in the first set. The Russian raced into a 5-0 lead while the crowd, which had gathered steadily, having been virtually non-existent at the 11am start, fell quiet.

Though Ana managed to pull two games back it was too late and Dementieva, the world No.8, sealed a place in the last four on her third match point when Ana netted a backhand.

By Gavin Versi

Click here for a game-by-game text commentary of the match.