Hingis: “There’s not much you can do”

Hingis: “There’s not much you can do”

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.”

Hingis had practiced with Ana during the Acura Classic in San Diego, so she certainly knew what to expect of the 18-year-old. Even so, she simply had no answer to Ana’s brutal groundstrokes.

The 25-year-old was 30-0 in the opening game of the match before Ana reeled off four consecutive points to break. Looking back, the current world No.9 suggested that her failure to hold at the beginning of the match proved to be crucial. “It was pretty critical,” she said.

“If I had won, maybe I would have given her a little bit more trouble, but after that she kind of relaxed and it was just too good, good tennis.”

Asked which area of Ana’s arsenal gave her the most trouble, the Swiss said: “the speed…she was hitting not just like in the middle of the court but also her forehand it was just like winners, winners.

“I tried to keep it deep but even then she stepped away and boom, some very good, really close to the lines shots and I had difficulty trying to read her game. Hopefully next time I’ll know a little bit more what positions where she goes. But everything was happening a little bit too fast.”

Hingis has coped with power players consummately in the past. She has beaten Maria Sharapova, Lindsay Davenport, Venus Williams and Svetlana Kuznetsova (twice, including in the Rogers Cup quarter-finals) this year. She explained that on Monday Ana presented a different kind of problem: “With Kuznetsova all of a sudden she made a return, an error or just out of the rally she made an error.

“And Ivanovic, I wasn’t able to push her to get her nervous or anything, to start making some errors. She did in the second set a little bit when I started hitting with her and mixing it up, but she didn’t make those easy mistakes, whereas sometimes Kuznetsova made me believe that I could still turn around and do something if I just stayed with her.”

She added: “When you just don’t have a strategy somehow, you don’t have anything to hold onto, you just get frustrated, you rush and you just hit, like your whole game falls apart.

Hingis, who described Ana’s potential as “very, very high”, also praised Ana’s fitness. “Physically she's pretty much at the best level,” she said.

One reporter pointed out to the Swiss, who is always one of the most engaging interviewees in tennis, that Ana won several of the lengthier points, which was perhaps a surprise given that Hingis is “supposed to be the queen of the baseline.”

She replied: “Well, if you have any ideas what to do, I would take them right now. You tell me. I was trying to keep it to her backhand because with her forehand she was not missing, she was just too good really. And well, have you any suggestion for next time I play her?”

By Gavin Versi