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- Club Ana
After losing narrowly to world No.8 Elena Dementieva in Indian Wells last week, Ana said she wanted to play another top player at the Nasdaq-100 Open. “Hopefully I will get a chance to play another of the best players in Miami,” she wrote in her diary. Sure enough, Ana will face the best of them all, world No.1 Amelie Mauresmo, in the fourth round today after the Frenchwoman beat Marion Bartoli 6-4, 6-0.
Ana teamed up with Sania Mirza to record her second win of the day at the Nasdaq-100 Open. The teenagers beat the Italian pairing of Tathiana Garbin and Maria Elena Camerin 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the second round of the women’s doubles.
It was a most unusual start to Ana's partnership with Mirza: the match was originally scheduled to take place on Court Seven but Camerin was involved in singles (she lost to Maria Sharapova) so late that, once she had rested, it was too dark to begin the match on a court without floodlights.
It was a mixed performance by Ana, but she is through to the fourth round of the Nasdaq-100 Open after beating world No.95 Alona Bondarenko 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 in one hour and 42 minutes.
“I don’t think this was a good performance from both of us,” said Ana. “I’m pleased I took my opportunities in the end.”
“I just think I could have played much better, but I wasn’t moving well. At some important points my serve was coming and I’m really happy that I took the opportunities I had.”
“I’m going to try and play my game,” said Ana about her third round clash with Alona Bondarenko, which is scheduled to take place today (Sunday) at 10am local time (4pm CET) on Court One. Ana has never before played the 21-year-old Ukrainian, who beat No.23 seed Annabel Medina Garrigues 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 in the last round.
The 18-year-old was particularly pleased with her 7-6, 3-6, 6-2 win over Iveta Benesova in her opening match because it had been such a tense encounter. She fell a break behind at the beginning of the final set but then found her best form.
Ana reached the third round of the Nasdaq-100 Open with a hard fought victory over world No.43 Iveta Benesova. She triumphed 7-6, 3-6, 6-2 in a tense encounter that lasted one hour and 56 minutes.
“I was really happy that I could stay focused and win,” said Ana. “Even if the score had been different I was really happy with the way I played. I was attacking a lot and I felt the ball very good.”
Ana will play doubles with 19-year-old Indian Sania Mirza at the Nasdaq-100 Open. The pair have been drawn to face the unseeded Italian team of Maria Elena Camerin and Tatiana Garbin in round one of the 32-couple draw (Click here to view the full draw).
This will be Ana’s third doubles competition of the year. She played in the mixed event of the Australian Open alongside Novak Djokovic and teamed up with Maria Kirilenko in Tokyo’s Toray Pan Pacific Open at the start of February.
Ana will face world No.43 Iveta Benesova in the second round of the Nasdaq-100 Open after the Czech narrowly beat 17-year-old Croatian wild card Sanja Ancic.
Benesova took two hours and 19 minutes to beat the youngster, who was making her debut in the main draw of a professional tournament, 6-7, 6-1, 7-6.
Ana has played Benesova twice before, both times at Grand Slam events. She beat the 23-year-old 3-6, 7-6, 6-1 at the Australian Open last year and 6-3, 6-1 at the French Open five months later.
Ana is happy about the introduction of electronic line calling, the automated system of officiating known as ‘Hawk-Eye’ that made its debut at the Nasdaq-100 Open in Miami yesterday.
“I had a chance to try it during the Hopman Cup and I liked it,” said Ana. “I think that with the opportunity to ask for a challenge, you just feel that there is less chance that some players can take advantage of bad calling. It’s fairer. I think that the electronic system can be more accurate than the human eye so I am happy about this change.”
Ana was named the Most Improved Player of 2005 at “Stars For Stars”, the Official Awards Party of Professional Tennis. The 18-year-old beat fellow youngsters Anna Chakvetadze, Anna-Lena Groenefeld, Maria Kirilenko and Nicole Vaidisova to the prestigious accolade during a glittering ceremony in Miami last night.
"Wow!" said Ana. "I am very, very grateful for this honour. Thank you so much for this award. I am working hard and I hope I can continue improving."
Ana will get a chance to show off her culinary knowledge when she attends tonight’s Stars For Stars event in Miami. The evening will combine the Official Awards Party for Professional Tennis with a sampling of the finest gourmet treats that Miami’s greatest chefs have to offer.
Ana has been nominated for the Best Newcomer Award alongside Anna Chakvetadze, Anna-Lena Groenefeld, Maria Kirilenko and Nicole Vaidisova. Other awards that will given out to honour the stars of 2005 are: Player of the Year, Doubles Team of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year and the Humanitarian Awards.