Updated: Brilliant win for Ana

Updated: Brilliant win for Ana

Ana reached the second week of Wimbledon for the first time after a superb come-from-behind victory over 14th seed Dinara Safina. Ana triumphed 3-6, 7-6, 6-1 in a highly entertaining encounter on Saturday lunchtime.

At 6-3, 4-2 down Ana was staring defeat in the face but the 18-year-old turned things round spectacularly, cutting out the unforced errors to blitz her opponent with an arsenal of explosive forehands.

“I think it was a great match,” said Ana. “It turned around a little bit in the second set. I started a little bit nervously. She was playing good and was a little bit lucky.” Indeed it was a fortunate net cord that helped the Russian clinch the pivotal break of the first set.

“Towards the end of the second set I just started to believe more that I can do it. I started to attack more. She probably started to be a little bit more defensive and I tried to use that as an opportunity to move forward and keep her under pressure.”

If Ana was nervous at the very start of the match, she did not show it. She immediately put Safina on the back foot with two searing returns. Allied to a mis-hit return that landed smack on the baseline, Ana held three break points. However, she was tentative on each and Safina eventually held. “I was holding back a little bit instead of getting in the court and finishing the points,” Ana reflected.

Safina maintained an excellent length on her groundstrokes, which made it hard for Ana to attack. The Russian also pressured Ana’s serve and took the opening set 6-3. Critically, or so it seemed, she then broke Ana in the first game of the second set.

Both players held serve until, with Safina 4-3 up, Ana broke back. She began to look like a different player as she dominated most rallies. Ana had the match on her racket inasmuch as points were being decided by how often she could hit winners. “I like to dictate points,” she said.

Ana missed a set point in the 12th game but produced the goods during a high-quality tiebreak, which she won 7-3 to imprve her record in breakers this year to 3-2.

Ana maintained her charge, piling pressure on the Safina serve in the opening game of the decider and breaking the 20-year-old thanks in part to some excellent defence. From then on Ana controlled things and only dropped one further game. She sealed victory on her fourth match point before celebrating a most satisfying win by briefly holding her arms aloft.

“I’m really pleased I took the opportunities in the second set and I played some pretty good tennis in the tiebreak” said Ana, who plays top seed and world No.1 Amelie Mauresmo in the fourth round on Monday. “I think that was what changed the match.

“It’s very exciting to be here playing top players and even beating them. I’m going into the second week for the first time here. That’s what I am working for and hoping for.

“I’m just trying to keep this level. I had a little a little bit of a tough time these last two months, no coach and everything. Now I’m looking forward and it’s very exciting.”

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.