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Ana is through to the semi-finals of the ASB Classic in Auckland with a 6-2, 6-3 win over world No.81 Kurumi Nara. The Japanese provided a stiff challenge from time to time but ultimately fell short in the 76 minute encounter. Ana is yet to drop a set in the tournament.
Ana opened the contest with a love game on serve, but she was quickly met with firm resistance from her 22-year-old adversary. Nara brimmed with confidence and was eager to test the former world No.1, levelling the contest at 1-1 before she broke Ana in game three.
However, the 26-year-old was not overly disconcerted and as she managed to avoid Nara’s extremely effective and nearly faultless backhand stroke, Anaforced a couple of re-break points in the following game. She was successful on the fourth occasion and took the momentum from the Japanese, who was too erratic on her forehand wing.
The 26-year-old was now steering the rallies and she displayed her better service qualities and defensive skills. From 2-1 down, Ana reeled off five games to comfortably wrap up the opening set.
The No.2 seed continued her dominance in set two. She broke Nara from 30-0 down in the second game and ultimately extended her game-winning streak to eight, as she surged into a 3-0 lead.
Ana maintained her early advantage without many troubles and she scored a first match point on the Nara serve, but she was unable to capitalize. Nara also saved a second match point in fine style – in what was arguably the most spectacular rally of the match - but another forehand error during the next point was fatal for the world No.81.
Ana will meet world No.20 and this week’s doubles partner Kirsten Flipkens in the semi-finals. The Belgian holds a 1-0 lead in their head-to-head record, winning their only previous encounter 6-4, 6-0 in Linz two years ago.
The pair will be in doubles action in the second round later on Friday as they take on third seeds Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic and the Netherlands' Michaella Krajicek.
Click here for live point-by-point scoring from the ASB Tennis Arena.
By Joeri Moerman