Safina next for improved Ana

Safina next for improved Ana

After safely negotiating opening round matches against players ranked 118 and 249, now the real challenges begin for Ana. She takes on Russian No.14 seed Dinara Safina in the third round tomorrow.

Ana has played the 20-year-old once before: on the clay of Berlin a year ago, when she lost 6-1, 6-4. “I think it’s a little bit of a different situation here,” said Ana. “We’ve both improved. Definitely she’s playing great tennis. I also had very good practice lately.

“I’m excited about this match and just want to go out there and do my best. I will focus like I did against Borwell. I think the key will be to move forward, especially because we are playing on grass.”

Ana’s performance against the Briton was significantly better than her first round display against Emmanuelle Gagliardi. The Swiss broke Ana six times but Borwell failed to do so even once, despite Ana only producing 43 per cent of first serves.

After the match, Borwell revealed that of all the players on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, Ana is the one she admires most. She gave a most gracious appraisal of the Serbian.

“She’s my favourite player. I watched her in Japan in February [at the Toray Pan Pacific Open]. I said to my coach then, ‘I want to play like Ivanovic.’ She’s amazing how she takes it on. You never know which way she’s gonna hit the ball, but as soon as she does, it’s past you.”

One of the most impressive aspects of Ana’s game yesterday was her concentration. Despite being in total control of the match she never allowed her focus to waiver. “There was no time that I could relax. You cannot give an opponent the chance to come back,” said Ana, whose preparation for the match was slightly affected by confusion over where it would take place on: it was moved from Court 18 to Court 6, then to Court 14.

Ana is in doubles action today alongside Maria Kirilenko. The pair face Jelena Jankovic, Ana’s fellow Serb, and Tina Krizan, with whom Ana played doubles last year. The match is scheduled as the third on Court 6 and is expected to begin sometime after 3pm local time (4pm Central European Time).

“It will be a good opportunity to practice my volleys before my next singles match,” said Ana.

By Gavin Versi
photo: www.tajvdz.nl