Ana’s Miami campaign came to an end last night, at the hands of Venus Williams in a 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-2 loss. She defeated Daniela Hantuchova in the previous round 6-2, 7-6 (2) to reach the round of 16. This was the second consecutive year where Ana lost in the 4th round at the Sony Ericsson Open. At least this time, it wasn’t in such heartbreaking fashion as last year.
Last nights match was high quality tennis at times, with Ana taking the first set in a tiebreak, 7-4. It was the second straight match where Ana won a breaker, which is quite an achievement given her tiebreak record last year. She has now won 3 of the last 4 tiebreaks she’s played. An area where Ana still needs improvement on is winning 3 setters. While she did defeat Pervak two weeks ago at Indian Wells in 3 sets, she wasn’t able to do so again versus Venus Williams on Monday night.
The big stat from last night was the conversion rate on break points between both Ivanovic and Williams. Ana was only 1/12 on break point opportunities, while Venus was 5/6. If Ana converts a couple of those missed opportunities, this could have been a entirely different match and outcome. But you have to give Venus Williams credit. She played really well last night, and was remarkably better than she was on Sunday when she barely got past Alexsandra Wozniak. Williams served lights out for most of the 2nd and 3rd sets, striking 13 aces. She went for her shots, and tried to end points quickly, and was successful in doing so.
While Ana’s form during the Miami tournament wasn’t quite up to the form that it was in Indian Wells, she still showed progress and that is promising heading into the clay season. All in all, it has been a very good three weeks for Ana. She reached the semifinals in Indian Wells and successfully defended her 4th round points in Miami. While it was disappointing that Ana wasn’t able to reach the quarterfinals this week, there’s lots of positives to take into the clay season, which is where she has excelled in the past. She has virtually nothing to defend, aside from 2nd round points in Rome. Her upcoming clay season schedule includes Fed Cup, Stuttgart, Madrid, Rome and the French Open. Ana will be ranked #14 when the new rankings come out next week, the first time she will been inside the top 15 since 2009. Given the few amount of points Ivanovic is defending, top 10 is within her sights.
For now, it’s a three week break from tennis. Ana will likely fly to Europe and prepare for the clay season in Mallorca. She could also head up the road to Augusta, where The Masters will be played beginning next Thursday. That would be lots of fun.