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Ana has been handed a very difficult draw at the Acura Classic in San Diego. In her first event under the guidance of new coach David Taylor – and her first appearance since Wimbledon four weeks ago – Ana faces world No.75 Akiko Morigami in the round one. Thereafter it will be exceedingly tough for the 18-year-old.
Provided she can overcome the Japanese player, whom she has never faced, Tatiana Golovin is a likely second round opponent. Ana has beaten the 18-year-old in all four of their past matches, but she is aware of the threat posed by the Frenchwoman, who will today contest a semi-final at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford.
“She’s a very good player,” said Ana when asked by a fan to give an appraisal of the world No.32 recently. “She’s also very young and has a lot of potential. She’s very consistent and does not have many weaknesses. Every time I must take my chances against her.”
Should Ana, who is the No.14 seed, overcome Golovin she is scheduled to meet third seed Nadia Petrova in round three. Ana has lost her last two matches against the Russian, but beat her in straight sets in Miami last year. This event is Petrova’s first since injuring her leg at the French two months ago.
Potential quarter-final opponents are Ana’s Sony Ericsson commercial co-star Daniela Hantuchova and seventh seed Nicole Vaidisova, while top seed Kim Clijsters and five-time Grand Slam champion Martina Hingis could await in the semi-finals.
The bottom half of the draw includes Maria Sharapova, Elena Dementieva, Patty Schnyder and Mary Pierce, who has not played since February because of a foot injury.
The 56-woman draw is one of the strongest of the year: the lowest ranked direct entrant is world No.74 Meghan Shaughnessay. 14 of the world's top 20 are present.
Ana does not have any ranking points to defend from the corresponding week in 2005.
By Gavin Versi
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