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Ana has the consolation of a Mixed Doubles match, alongside Novak Djokovic, to look forward to after losing to Samantha Stosur in the Second Round of the Australian Open. Ana and Novak have been handed a wildcard and will play their First Round match on Sunday.
The teenage Serbians will face another young pairing, Russians Igor Andreev and Maria Kirilenko. The average age of the four players is just 19-and-a-half years, making Sunday's encounter one of the youngest Grand Slam Mixed Doubles matches of recent years.
“We played Hopman Cup together and Novak asked me if I wanted to play again here,” said Ana. “Hopefully it will go well.”
This will be Ana’s second appearance in the Mixed Doubles draw of a Grand Slam after she partnered fellow Serbian and doubles specialist Nenad Zimonjic at the French Open last year, where they withdrew after winning their First Round match. Ana has a 5-6 win-loss record in women’s doubles and is currently ranked no.145 in the world.
Reflecting on her defeat to Stosur, Ana said: “She was playing very well. She served really good. She also has a lot of good spins on her forehand and backhand and she comes to the net. She was really mixing up her game. It was a hard match mentally.
“Moving around I had a little bit of problems. I was a little bit nervous. That is a mistake you have to learn from and not make next time.”
Most worrying for Ana’s fans was that she squandered a 5-1 lead in the second set. However, closing out sets is never easy. The opponent, assuming the set is lost, often takes a few more risks and if they pay off, the pressure is then firmly on the leading player.
Certainly Stosur, who described the victory as one of her very best, raised her game when a third set looked on the cards. She explained some of the reasons behind the reversal.
“I guess as soon as you break serve when someone is serving for the set, you know maybe they’re a little bit nervous and you can still get in there,” said the Australian.
“After I broke the first time and held, I knew the pressure was back on her to serve it out at 5-3.”
Ana, who will stay in Melbourne until the end of the tournament before flying to Tokyo for the Toray Pan Pacific Open, will not dwell on this loss for too long. “A defeat like this makes me more determined,” said the 18-year-old.
“I know what I have to do, I have to work even harder now. There are so many things I still have to improve in my game. I am working hard on them and will see how far I can get.”
By Gavin Versi