Kerber edges out Ana

Kerber edges out Ana

Ana fell at the final hurdle of the Generali Ladies Linz as she was beaten 6-4, 7-6(6) by world No.10 Angelique Kerber from Germany. In what was a heroic final filled with top-quality tennis from both sides, the third seed held four set points - which would have forced the contest into a deciding set - but was unable to prolong the exciting encounter.
 
Ana made a confident start. She appeared calm and focused as she held serve in the opening game and coped very well with the German’s powerful groundstrokes. However, Ana faced a handful of break points in game three and was eventually broken on the fifth occasion. Kerber, playing virtually flawlessly, added another break and surged into a 4-1 lead.
 
It was now time for Ana to exhibit her mighty forehand, which was in superb form all week. She snatched back one of the breaks with a forehand return winner, followed it up with a love game on serve and levelled the set at 4-4, often visiting the net to finish the points and showing tip-top volley skills.
 
Somewhat surprisingly, Ana lost her grip on the set as she was unable to escape unscathed from a sloppy ninth game. Erratic on two half-court balls from the German and serving two double faults, she was broken for a third time.
 
Kerber earned a set point in the next game, on which the third seed’s return just missed the outside of the line to end an enthralling opening set.
 
Despite the letdown of losing the opening set, Ana got off to a flying start in the second act as she won both of the first two games without dropping a point. She held the break advantage until 3-1, before she ran out of patience during the rallies and piled up the unforced errors to let the German reel off four games.
 
Ana once more displayed her infinite fighting spirit and saved two match points in an intense tenth game. Moreover, she got back to 5-all as she took advantage of her third break point.
 
Ana held serve and when she scored two set points in game twelve, the former world No.1 looked capable of completing a memorable comeback. Kerber, however, saved both chances in fine style, which consequently moved the match into a tiebreak.
 
The tiebreak was a topsy-turvy affair. The 25-year-old took a 2-0 lead, lost all of the next four points to be 2-4 down, but managed to undo the arrears and wangled more two set points.
  
Crucially, Ana was unable to exploit any of those unique chances and the steely Kerber clinched victory.

"There were a lot of turnarounds from both sides, but she played better in the important moments," said Ana..

"I feel like I had more chances but just didn't use them. I hit some errors when I really needed the point.

"But it was a great match, and though it's disappointing to lose in a final, I had lots of good matches this week and lots of good wins, and overall it was a very positive week for me."

By Joeri Moerman