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There was the occasional glimpse of why one day she may hold the top ranking herself, but Ana could not repeat her heroics of past victories against world No.1 Amelie Mauresmo. The 18-year-old lost 7-5, 6-2 in a fourth round match that lasted 82 minutes.
“I don’t think I played a great match today,” said Ana, who had won her last two matches agaunst Mauresmo. “At times I think my forehand worked really well but I didn’t serve good and I made some mistakes on the important points.”
Ana made a rather lacklustre start to the match. She dropped her first service game as both players struggled to find any consistency. The majority of points were decided by unforced errors with Ana producing the bulk of them.
While she waited to receive serve at 3-2 behind, Ana looked especially purposeful. She jumped onto the Frenchwoman’s deliveries, overwhelming the 26-year-old from the baseline to earn her first break. Though she herself was broken in the next game, Ana showed more aggression in the tenth game as Mauresmo served for the set. The 18-year-old levelled the match at 5-5 with some more crushing drives.
In the 11th game, as the set neared its conclusion, Ana received a significant piece of misfortune. Having failed to put away a straightforward volley, a bounce-smash she hit at 30-30, which was heading for a winner, clipped the top of the net and landed in the tramlines. Though Ana saved the break point, Mauresmo exerted further pressure and eventually she broke, then held, to clinch the first set.
“I think I should have finished with the first one,” said Ana, referring to the tentative volley. “I didn’t have any doubts, I wanted to smash this. I think it was just a little bit bad luck.”
In the second set Mauresmo demonstrated why she is the world No.1. She continued to produce excellent defence, retrieving most of Ana’s heavy groundstrokes and showing a greater level of consistency than the Serbian.
“She played some good tennis when it was important,” said Ana about the Frenchwoman. “She has a really good backhand slice and she puts the ball really deep.”
She broke Ana in the first and third games and, aided by a 100 per cent success rate on net approaches, the Frenchwoman sealed the second set 6-2 to wrap up what in the end turned out to be a comprehensive victory.
By Gavin Versi
Click here for an audio clip of Ana talking about the match.
Click here for a game-by-game text commentary of the match.