Mixed doubles win for Ana

Mixed doubles win for Ana

Ana was back to her best – or at least something near it – as she and fellow Serb Novak Djokovic reached the second round of the Australian Open mixed doubles. They beat Russians Igor Andreev and Maria Kirilenko 6-7, 6-2, 10-4 in an entertaining encounter.

In a match that started under floodlights at around 10pm local time on Court 7 – it was moved from the larger Margaret Court Arena due to its lateness – the Russians raced to a 3-0 lead as they broke the serves of both Serbs. Kirilenko, clearly the weakest server of the quartet, was then broken twice over the course of the opening set before the Russians took the tiebreak 7-4.

Ana, dressed in a pink top and grey skirt with matching pink cutting, smiled broadly several times during the match, which was played against the magnificent backdrop of the Melbourne night time skyline. That smile turned to laughter midway through the second set when Kirilenko hit Andreev plumb in the back of the head with a forehand as he stood at the net. It helped the Serbs gain a double break and Ana duly served out the set to take the match into a first-to-ten Super Tiebreak.

Illustrating the good-humoured nature of the encounter, Djokovic did a silly dance as he held serve to edge 2-1 ahead in the breaker. A huge forehand from Ana coupled with a Kirilenko double fault enabled the Serbs to seize a 4-1 lead and they never looked back, sealing a morale boosting victory after an hour and 25 minutes.

The crowd of around 150 – including the Serbian players’ entourage, who wrapped white towels around themselves in order to keep warm as the heat of the day gave way to a temperate night time climate – enjoyed Ana’s sharp volleying and lethal forehand, which not only Kirilenko but Andreev struggled to cope with at times.

Ana and Novak will face sixth seeds Daniel Nestor and Elena Likhovtseva in the second round.

By Gavin Versi