After Serena’s withdrawal, Ana accepted a very late WC for Linz. I wasn’t expecting that, but considering her good run in Beijing it made sense to take advantage of that. As an Ana fan this tournament brings back good memories for me, so I hope things can work as well as they did the last time she played there. Ana only played yesterday so there was enough time to adjust to the different conditions.
Ana’s first opponent was her good friend Sorana Cirstea. She crushed her “twin” 6-2, 6-0. The 2nd set lasted only 12 minutes. It was done before I even had the time to get into it. There’s not a lot to say. It was an overwhelming victory and the Serbian was close of making history losing just 3 points in the 2nd set. After the match Ana was cute (as usual) while talking about Sorana: “I’m very happy with how I played but I didn’t enjoy this victory as much as normal because Sorana is a very good friend of mine, (..) She definitely didn’t do herself justice today, she can play much better, and I hope to see her rise in the rankings.” Yes, BFFs forever.
Ana reaches QF after beating Zahlavova Strycova in straight sets. This match was hilarious. Not for the tennis itself, but for what happened in the 2nd game of the first set. Ana started the match serving and held comfortably. So far, so good. Let the weirdness begin. She felt sick and asked the umpire to take the bathroom break and was told that she could only use it in her own time. Anyways, I think Ana didn’t understand that and still went. Poor girl, just ran as fast as she could to the locker room. Of course ES people went after her and stood there just waiting for her to come out. When she returned to the court she was served with a four-point penalty (for each 20 seconds), the equivalent of a game. So, basically she lost that game without even playing it. Back on serve and the score was 1-all.
You cannot believe how much I laughed with this episode. It was truly hilarious.
Anyways, good thing about it is that Ana didn’t let that get to her and played like it never happened. She was super focused and calm. Her serve worked perfectly (goodbye recurrent wonky ball toss!!) and she used the forehand as much as she could. Of course there’s always room for improvement but it’s impossible to even try to compare Ana’s game now and how it was months ago. She’s more confident in her shots, executing her game plan and moving really well on court, showing nice foot work. God bless Heinz and Marija.
After the match Ana showed once again how awesome she is and joked about the situation: “Don’t ever have yogurt before you have to play! (…) You learn something new, even when you think you know it all!”
At last, I really hope Ana keeps being coached by Heinz next year. He has been doing an amazing job with her and it would be a shame if they parted ways. So, we’ll see how things work out. Fingers crossed. (Don’t be dumb, Ana. Please.)