- On Court
- About Ana
- Club Ana
Teenagers do love their sleep. The 11am start appeared to do Ana no favours as she failed to produce her best tennis on her way to a 6-3, 7-5 defeat to home favourite Samantha Stosur.
“She’s a terrific player,” said Ana. “She always plays well here and she played really good today. She didn’t give me time to get into a rhythm. I made way too many mistakes and my serve didn’t work at all.”
Stosur, the doubles world no.4 and reigning US Open doubles champion, attacked the net with ravaging enthusiasm and robbed Ana of time on her groundstrokes throughout the match, which lasted one hour and 26 minutes.
The 18-year-old made a series of errors in the opening games, netting routine forehands with worrying regularity. Stosur immediately took advantage, breaking to lead 2-0.
Though Ana broke immediately back she was put under further pressure and the athletic Stosur, diving all over the net, took her third break point opportunity in the sixth game to again forge ahead at 4-2.
Tickets for Rod Laver Arena had sold out before Ana’s army of Serbian fans could get the chance to purchase any, which meant that the anticipated raucous support for Ana inside the main show court never materialised. Instead, Ana’s vociferous supporters were forced to watch the action unfold on the big screen in Garden Square.
Back on Rod Laver Arena Stosur closed out the opening set with more aggressive net-rushing. “She served very good and put me under pressure,” said Ana. “It doesn’t allow you to get much rhythm because she’s rushing to the net also.”
When Ana faced two break points in the first game of the second set it looked ominous. However, Ana saved the first with a searing cross court forehand and two unreturnable serves enabled her to close out the game.
It was now that Ana finally awoke and raised her game. Several trademark one-two punches – a big serve followed by a mid-court forehand put-away – helped her build a 5-1 lead.
However, those familiar unforced errors crept back into Ana’s game and Stosur roared back, reeling off six straight games to close out the match. “I was a little bit nervous and tightened up,” admitted Ana, who was playing in only her second Australian Open and just her fifth grand slam tournament.
“I do actually prefer little bit later,” said Ana with a smile when asked about playing matches in the morning. “But as a professional you have to get used to different situations.
"She played really good today. No one can win every match and you have some bad days.”
By Gavin Versi