Positive Ana looks to the future

Positive Ana looks to the future

After holding a 6-2, 1-0 advantage, Ana was disappointed that she wasn’t able to beat No.4 seed Elena Dementieva yesterday, but the 18-year-old’s preferred to look to the future rather than dwell on a 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 defeat in what was only her third appearance in a Tier I quarter-final.

“I’m still young and I have so many things to improve in my game,” said Ana. “I’m just taking one step at a time, trying to work on my physical preparation, a little bit more on my serve, and the consistency in my game. Hopefully this year I’m going to reach the top 10. That’s my goal.”

The current world No.19 added: “I think from every match you learn a lot. This is a good experience for me. This was my first time playing against her. I really enjoy being here. I think I have to see these matches as challenges [and use them to improve].”

There are plenty of positives for Ana to take from the match. Whereas in previous ties this season she has struggled somewhat to convert her break point opportunities, against Dementieva she took seven of the eight break points they played on the Russian’s serve, a highly impressive success rate of 88 per cent in a high-pressure situation.

Furthermore, Ana lost the match despite winning as many points (84) as the world No.8, proof that already, despite her tender years, she can compete with and even match the very best.

Those two statistics will give Ana confidence for the future but an immediate benefit from her run to the last eight here is that she is likely to re-enter the world’s top 16 when the new rankings are published on Monday. This is especially important because Monday’s list will be used to determine seedings for Ana’s next event, the Nasdaq-100 Open, which begins in Miami on Wednesday. Being seeded in the top 16 will mean Ana avoiding the elite eight players until at least the fourth round.

Reflecting on the match itself, Ana said: “Definitely it was a very tough match… I felt good going on the court. I had good timing. My serve was working, groundstrokes, I was moving quite well. In the second set, I started very good. I broke her the first game, had lots of chances.

“In the third set I think my serve was not working as well as in the second. I think that was one of the reasons it was such a big difference, because in the first set I think I served quite good. Then also she started playing much better.”

Dementieva was expecting a difficult match beforehand and nothing happened to change her high opinion of Ana’s game. “She was really aggressive, especially with her serve,” said the 24-year-old, who boasts an enviable record in three set matches. Last year, in non-Grand Slam events she won an incredible 16 out of 18 matches that went the distance. She triumphed against Ana despite serving a whopping 14 double faults, testament to just how good her return game is.

“I think she’s young, she’s only 18-years-old,” continued the Russian. “I think she can learn a lot, how to stay positive, but it comes with experience. I was very impressed with the way she was playing today. I think she’s a very powerful player.”

By Gavin Versi

For highlights of the match click here to access the ATP's exclusive, free "Internet TV" channel. Our game-by-game summary can be found here.