Toray Pan Pacific Open
Ana’s quest to defend her Toray Pan Pacific Open title didn’t get past the quarter-finals as she fell to Dominika Cibulkova from Slovakia. Being the second seed in Tokyo, Ana received a ‘bye’ in the opening round and was drawn to face the winner of the first round clash between Caroline Garcia and Camila Giorgi, in what proved a very tricky challenge on the Japanese hardcourt soil.
It was eventually Giorgi who awaited in round two. The Italian has already a tournament win under her belt this year - in ‘s Hertogenbosch - and reached a career-high of No. 30 shortly after. However, Ana simply came out too strong.
After being broken in the first game, Ana quickly took over command and booked a fairly straightforward victory over the world No. 36. Highlight in the match was incontrovertibly Ana’s breathtaking backhand winner after having to chase the ball as it surprisingly had deviated on the net cord – Ana was moving towards the net to hit a volley. The point can be re-watched here.
The quarter-final against Dominika Cibulkova set a re-match of Ana’s opening round at the US Open, when the 27-year-old’s dreams were ended at the first hurdle.
It is fair to say that both matches could have gone either way as they included some very hard-fought games, but that Cibulkova coped with the tension just that bit better on both occasions. In Tokyo, Ana even served for the opening set after having broken the Slovak at 5-5, but was unable to clinch it as Cibulkova managed to enforce a tiebreak. The world No. 46 surged on the take it 7-5.
It was the prelude of a superb set of tennis from Cibulkova and Ana couldn’t recover from an early break in the third game.
“It was a very disappointing loss today, I was in a good shape and really ready to take her on. But that’s tennis and there will be a new opportunity next week. I’ll work hard to take my level to where I want it to be.”
R2: Ana – C. Giorgi (WTA-36) 7-5, 6-2
QF: Ana – D. Cibulkova (WTA-48) 6(5)-7, 3-6