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After losing narrowly to world No.8 Elena Dementieva in Indian Wells last week, Ana said she wanted to play another top player at the Nasdaq-100 Open. “Hopefully I will get a chance to play another of the best players in Miami,” she wrote in her diary. Sure enough, Ana will face the best of them all, world No.1 Amelie Mauresmo, in the fourth round today after the Frenchwoman beat Marion Bartoli 6-4, 6-0.
Remarkably, Ana has played Mauresmo fives times already during her short career. “This will be my sixth time to play against her but the first time when she’s No.1,” said Ana. “I’m looking forward very much to this match.”
Mauresmo won the first three matches in straight sets – at the 2005 Australian Open, in Doha a month later and here in Miami last year – but Ana won the next two: she beat the 26-year-old 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 at the 2005 French Open then 6-3, 7-5 in Sydney at the beginning of January.
Ana doesn’t believe that Mauresmo’s official status as the best player in the world will have much bearing on the match. She said: “Of course it’s a good experience for me because I’ve never played a No.1 player before, but I don’t think it’ll change anything because she’s, for me, the same player as she was a few months ago. I played really good in the last match against her so I’m looking forward to playing her again.”
The match will take place on the Stadium court here, just as it did last year. Ana is excited about the prospect of another appearance on a large arena. “It’s going to be a lot of fun because I’ve had a few matches on big stadiums now,” she said. “I have a little bit of experience about this. I just want to perform the best I can.”
Ana will have to play better than she did in her third round match with Alona Bondarenko yesterday, which she won 6-3, 6-7, 6-3, if she is to record her third successive victory over the Australian Open champion.
She said: “In my doubles (Ana and Sania Mirza beat Italians Tathiana Garbin and Maria Elena Camerin yesterday evening. Click here for details) I will try and do so some things that I didn’t do very well today, try to get into the rhythm a little bit. I’m quite sure tomorrow I’m going to perform better.”
By Gavin Versi
We will have live game-by-game text commentary of the match, which is scheduled as the fourth match on the Stadium court. It is expected to begin sometime after 4.30pm local time (10.30pm CET). A full report and audio interview with Ana will be published later in the day.