Ana edged out in thriller

Ana edged out in thriller

Ana lost a gripping US Open fourth round match with world No.2 Victoria Azarenka. The 25-year-old was brilliant but ultimately came up short, losing 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Coming into the match, Ana hadn't won a set against a top 10-ranked player at a Grand Slam event since 2008. She had been trounced 6-1, 6-0 by Azarenka at Wimbledon last year, and was a firm underdog against the world No.2.

Ana threw the form book out of the window. She hit a swathe of swashbuckling groundstrokes - huge forehands - and moved into a 4-1 lead. Indeed it was the first time in five years that Ana had started a Grand Slam match of this stature in such strident form.

She overwhelmed the Belarusian from the baseline and served strongly too. Despite being broken back, the first set was Ana's in 42 thrilling minutes.

Ana faced an inevitable onslaught from the two-time Australian Open winner at the beginning of the second set. She initially stayed on top, moving to 1-1, 40-15. Crucially, Azarenka hit back and earned a break. She began to gain the ascendancy and was deserving of the second set as she got on top of Ana's serve.

When the former world No.1-ranked 24-year-old broke to lead 2-0 in the decider it seemed that Ana's challenge was faltering. But she broke back immediately and there followed a sea-saw battle packed with breaks of serve.

Ana saved two match points as Azarenka served at 5-3 and she broke back. She moved 30-0 ahead at 4-5, and looked destined to prolong this thriller.

But Azarenka eventually clinched victory on her fourth match point, with a break of serve.
 
"I really played well. I put her a lot under pressure, I felt," said Ana. "I think the biggest difference was the serve in the second set. My percentage went right down. This was the big difference, because I felt like I could break her, but it was very frustrating that I was losing my serve constantly.

"I think this match was a lot better quality than the one we played in Carlsbad. But it's just frustrating because I still had opportunities, I felt. It was a very, very close match.

"But it's very encouraging, because I know I'm right there with them. She's top player. She just came from winning in Cincinnati. It's definitely a lot of positives to take from this week and this match.

"But it still doesn't change. It's disappointing and it hurts."