Brilliant Safarova ends Ana's Paris dream

Brilliant Safarova ends Ana's Paris dream

Ana has been eliminated from the French Open following a 6-3, 6-3 defeat against world No.24 Lucie Safarova. The 11th seed wasn't able to produce her best tennis and was outplayed by the left-handed Czech in 86 minutes.

Ana’s start was bright enough. She tried to step into the court and steer the rallies, but Safarova always had an answer to her strokes. The former world No.1 held serve in the opening game and wangled two break points in the next but, crucially, she was unable to convert any of the chances.

Safarova was serving strongly throughout the match and offered Ana almost no chance to threaten her serve. As a result, no breaks were allowed until the seventh game.

In that seventh game, Ana saved a first break point after a well-constructed rally, but gifted Safarova a second opportunity as she served a double fault on the next point. The Czech took fully advantage of it, hitting a sublime forehand passing shot down-the-line to move 4-3 ahead.

From this moment, Ana appeared to be overtaken by events. Safarova was playing very aggressively and prevented the 26-year-old from dictating terms with her forehand. The world No.24 broke Ana for a second time while she was serving to keep the set alive.

Ana could not find her rhythm in the second set either. She was broken in the fourth game and although the 11th seed undid the break straightaway, a third consecutive loss of serve proved fatal.

Ana saved a match point in the eighth game, but could not prevent Safarova from serving it out herself one game later.

“I think overall my level wasn't there today. She's lefty, it's not something we face every day and the ball comes a little bit differently,” Ana said afterwards.

“In the beginning I felt like I had a lot of chances I didn't use. If I did, the match maybe would have had a different tone to it.“

“I’m really disappointed that I lost. But she's good player and she played tough today.”

"But we have still plenty of tournaments to come and I really hope I can prepare well and then have a good grass court season.”

By Joeri Moerman