Roland Garros 2005 retrospective

Roland Garros 2005 retrospective

We begin our countdown to the 2006 French Open, which begins on Sunday, by looking at how Ana fared in last year’s competition

Round one – beat Stephanie Foretz 6-3, 6-3
Ana began Roland Garros 2005, only her second ever grand slam tournament, as the world No.31. Despite being so inexperienced at the highest level, the 17-year-old thrashed Frenchwoman Foretz in a polished display of power tennis. Ana hit 21 winners and broke her opponent six times as she eased into the second round.

Round two – beat Iveta Benesova 6-3, 6-1
Remarkably, Ana was even more destructive against the Czech 22-year-old, who was ranked No55 at the time. Even the very best players often struggle to hit top form early on in a grand slam, but Ana steamrollered her more experienced opponent, hitting 22 winners and winning all six points that she played at the net.

Ana punctuated a most impressive performance by hitting the fastest serve of the tournament, a 121mph (194kph) bullet.

Round three – beat Amelie Mauresmo 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
Ana’s most memorable moment of her career so far, a temperate Saturday afternoon in Paris was the occasion she chose to announce her arrival at top end of the women’s game. Mauresmo had usually faltered at her home grand slam, losing to lesser players, but make no mistake, Ana won this contest thanks to sheer talent and nerve.

When the Serbian snatched the first set and raced into a 3-1 lead in the second eyebrows were raised all around Roland Garros, but after the French third seed hit back and levelled the match, everyone assumed that Ana’s chance had been and gone. How wrong they were.

Ana piled pressure on the Mauresmo serve and used her best shot, her forehand, to seize control of most rallies on Philippe Chatrier Court. When a lesser player might have choked, Ana maintained her high level and sealed a three-set victory by breaking the Frenchwoman to love.

Remarkably, Ana didn’t serve particularly well. She made just 51 per cent of first serves and produced six double faults and no aces. However, she made twice as many winners as the Frenchwoman as she notched up the finest win of her career so far. “It was one of the best matches I’ve played,” she said afterwards.

Round four – beat Francesca Schiavone 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-3
As exciting as the win over Mauresmo was, Ana did not get carried away with it. Even in interviews immediately after beating the world No.3, Ana said she was looking forward to “the next challenges.”

As 22nd seed, Schiavone represented another tough obstacle for the teenager. Inevitably, Ana was unable to reproduce tennis of the same high standard that saw off Mauresmo, but she was always ahead in the match and showed all her fighting skills and durability to come through in three sets.

Quarter-finals – lost to Nadia Petrova 6-2, 6-2
There was no time for Ana to enjoy her win over the Italian. More importantly, she wasn’t able to rest after the tough three-set win; playing two matches in two days took their toll on the 17-year-old.

Ana was far from her best as she was thoroughly outplayed by the Russian seventh seed, but she was happy with her overall efforts during a fortnight that saw her announce her name to the tennis world – and receive the personal congratulations of Serbian President Boris Tadic.

Ana reflected: “It was a really great experience. Last year, I just started competing at this level. To reach the quarter-finals, it’s great.”

By Gavin Versi

Tomorrow: We profile all 32 women's seeds