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Ana scored a Valentine's Day win over Italy’s Roberta Vinci in the first round of the Proximus Diamond Games. The 18-year-old triumphed 6-3, 6-3 in her first ever meeting with the world No.43 to record her maiden win in Antwerp.
Despite losing her opening service game, Ana stamped her authority on the match early on, overwhelming her diminutive opponent with a flurry of deep forehands. Vinci did her best to mix things up, approaching the net regularly, but Ana adapted well. She broke in the sixth game to forge ahead 4-2.
Ana has climbed one place in the new Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Rankings. She currently finds herself at No.18, her highest ranking this year. In the Porsche Race, which determines qualifiers for the season-ending WTA Championships, Ana is ranked 27th.
Despite not competing last week Ana moves up one place thanks to Dinara Safina’s inability to defend the points she accrued by winning the Open Gaz de France in Paris 12 months ago: the Russian drops three places to 20th.
ACE Tennis Magazine, Britain’s biggest-selling tennis magazine, has shortlisted Ana in its annual survey of the world’s sexiest players.
Fans are invited to vote for their favourite players at the ACE Hot List website: www.acehotlist.co.uk. The shortlist of 24 is then narrowed down to 10 and submitted to an “expert” panel to rank.
Last year Ana finished seventh in the poll, which has been running since 2001. Maria Sharapova was the female winner while Marat Safin took the men’s honours.
To vote, go to: www.acehotlist.co.uk.
Ana will face Roberta Vinci in the first round of the Proximus Diamond Games, a Tier II event that begins in Antwerp on Monday. It will be Ana’s first meeting with the 22-year-old Italian, who is currently ranked No.41 in the world.
This is Ana’s second appearance in Antwerp. She qualified then lost in the first round to Frenchwoman Virginie Razzano in last year’s event. Vinci has played the event once before: she lost in the second round of qualifying here in 2004. Vinci’s best ever performance on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour is a semi-final appearance in Eastbourne last year.
“Being a professional tennis player is about so much more than hitting balls,” said Luke Jensen, doubles grand slam champion turned ESPN commentator.
Not many children grow up dreaming of taking part in photoshoots or appearing in commercials, rather the idea of winning Wimbledon is what motivates most budding tennis players. However, without sponsors the sport as we know it doesn’t exist. “If you don’t have sponsors, you’re not here today,” said Jensen at last year’s US Open.
Ana has risen one place to No.19 in the latest Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Singles Rankings. Following her semi-final appearance in the doubles competition in Tokyo, Ana’s doubles ranking soars 51 places to No.95.
In the Porsche Race, the standings that determine the eight qualifiers for the WTA Championships in Madrid in November, Ana climbs nine places to No.21.
Ana and Maria Kirilenko lost in the semi-finals of the doubles competition. They went down 6-4, 6-1 to second seeds Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur.
It was always going to be a tough challenge for the teenagers, who have a combined doubles ranking of 161; Raymond and Stosur are world No.2 and No.3 respectively.
The match signalled Ana's first appearance in a doubles semi-final on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.
Ana put the disappontment of a Second Round exit behind her to reach the Semi-Finals of the doubles event. Alongside Maria Kirilenko, who earlier had beaten her 6-4, 6-4, Ana overcame Angelique Widjaja and Jie Zheng 6-0, 2-6, 6-1.
The teenagers will face second seeds and reigning US Open champions Samantha Stosur and Lisa Raymond on Saturday.
Maria Kirilenko was made to fight for a place in the quarter-finals of the Pan Pacific Open despite a straight-sets victory over Ana Ivanovic. It was a very close match in which Ana managed to convert only one of 11 break points.
Ana will face Russian Maria Kirilenko in the second round of the Toray Pan Pacific Open after brushing aside home favourite Ai Sugiyama 6-3, 6-0 yesterday.
It will be the third time that Ana has faced Kirilenko. Ana holds a 2-0 advantage in career meetings: she beat the 19-year-old 6-1, 6-1 in the second round of last year's Australian Open and triumphed 7-5, 6-1 in qualifying for the Dubai Duty Free Women’s Open a month later.