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World No.3 Maria Sharapova won a hard-fought quarter-final 7-6, 7-5 against Ana in the quarter-finals of the Generali Ladies Linz.
It was a tight contest, as the scoreline illustrates, though the statistics – more unforced errors than winners for the 18-year-old – show that Ana was not close to her optimum level.
The fifth seed held serve to 30 in the opening game and saved three break points in the third. Serve was matched until the fifth game, when Sharapova broke to love. Rallies were decided by which player could strike the first blow, with Ana often on the defensive.
Ana is looking forward to today’s encounter with world No.3 Maria Sharapova. It will be her first ever match against the Russian.
“This is very exciting for me,” said Ana, who relishes matches against the world’s top players. “Maria is a great competitor and after winning the title [in Zurich] last week she is obviously in good form right now.
“But it’s most important the way I play and I have to be aggressive. I had some time off with my injury, but I feel good now and feel confident now that I have two wins here.”
Click here to watch a specially edited highlights video of Ana's 6-2 6-2 victory over Agnieszka Radwanska in the second round of the Generali Ladies Linz.
Ana's quarter-final against Maria Sharapova is scheduled to begin at 5pm Central European Time on Friday. It is expected to be screened live on Eurosport.
Ana produced a thoroughly commanding performance to dismiss Polish world No.66 Agnieszka Radwanska. The 18-year-old hit 27 winners and five aces as she secured an emphatic 6-2, 6-2 victory in just 62 minutes.
Ana faced some early pressure from her 17-year-old opponent, who scored impressive wins over Elena Dementieva and Venus Williams last month. She saved three break points in the second game before gaining the ascendancy and racing through the opening set.
Ana made a positive return to action by beating world No.35 Michaella Krajicek 6-1, 7-6 in the first round of the Generali Ladies Linz. Despite being absent from the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour for the past month because of a shoulder injury, Ana dominated her Dutch opponent for much of the match, sealing victory in 84 minutes.
Ana underlined her intentions in the opening game by breaking Krajicek to love. She added two further breaks during a breakneck-speed first set in which she won twice as many points (30 to 15) as the 17-year-old.
Ana's first round match against Michaella Krajicek at the Generali Ladies Linz will take place on Wednesday.
Ana has never before played the 17-year-old Dutchwoman. Krajicek will only be the fourth player Ana has faced on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour who is younger than herself. The others were Tatiana Golovin, Nicola Vaidisova and Tamira Paszek.
Eurosport are covering Linz live this week so it is hoped that the match will be televised in Europe on Wednesday.
Ana has fallen two places to No.15 in the latest Sony Ericsson WTA Tour singles rankings. The drop is due to the 18-year-old's injury-enforced absence from last week's Zurich Open, which meant that she was unable to defend the 135pts she earned in Switzerland last year.
The youngster, whose doubles ranking is unchanged at No.53, is overtaken by Jelena Jankovic and Anna Chakvetadze – both of whom reach career best rankings – and Francesca Schiavone. Ana herself has moved ahead of former No.1 Lindsay Davenport, who won last year's Zurich Open but did not compete last week.
We can today announce Ana’s provisional 2007 tournament schedule up to Wimbledon. We must stress that this schedule is provisional and could change at any time – be sure to check this website regularly for the very latest news
December 31-January 6
The Mondial Australian Women's Hardcourts
Gold Coast, Australia
Outdoor hard courts; Tier III
Outdoor hard courts; Tier II
Ana has been drawn to face world No.35 Michaella Krajicek in the first round of the Generali Ladies Linz presented by Raiffeisenlandesbank Oberosterreich. Ana is seeed fifth for the Austrian Tier II event, which begins on Monday.
Provided she can beat the 17-year-old Dutchwoman, whom she has never before played, Ana will face either Anna-Lena Groenefeld or a qualifier in the second round. It is a tough draw for the 18-year-old, who is competing for the first time since hurting her shoulder during practice a three weeks ago.