Here we go again. Sadly, this is getting easier. Well, I mean for me, obviously.
In what could have, once again, been a nice turnaround match for Ana, she battled, fought, showed glimpses of her old form and...lost to Dulko. I know I say this about a lot of her losses, but this one's gonna sting for bit.
Down 4-1 in the first, Ana would fight back (with a little help from Gisela) to take the set 76. The second set would be another battle, which Dulko took. And in the final set, Ana, perturbed by a number of close calls Carolyn Kremer refused to overrule, went on a bit of a walkabout, falling behind 5-1. But she fought back to get back on serve at 4-5, saving match points along the way.
Coming out from the changeover to serve to even the match, Ana threw in two double faults, went down 0-40, saved three match points to get to deuce, only to lose the game and thus the match. In short, the match was a microcosm of her career over the past year. Fits and starts, streaks and slumps, hope and, ultimately, failure.
Afterwards, the press tried to go all Dr. Melfi on Ana. She obliged:
Q. Seems like it's been the same story: you fight, try to improve, and you get in these matches and you're falling a little bit short.
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, I mean, it's a process. You know, it's hard. It hurts, I must say. For sure it will. But it's a process.
I think I just have to be patient. It will take some time. I do feel better on the court. I'm playing much better. I feel like my old self. There are still some areas that are not there for me to rely on when ‑‑ moments I need them the most. Some matches it's there, some not.
I just have to sort of keep my head up and try to improve, work. There are things I'm working on. Serve is a big part of that progress. I feel it's been going well at times, but it's just not consistent like I would like it to be.
It just might just take some time, and I have to accept that, although it's hard.
Q. In some of the key moments, it seems like you're lacking confidence.
ANA IVANOVIC: Yeah, I was actually talking with my coach just before. What happens is that, you know, I start well and I play good, and then, you know, because I have no expectation, I just go out there to enjoy.
Then I think I can play like this all the time. Then I get tense and I start making mistakes because I want to play like that. Then I just want to go back to playing normal.
I just have to get rid of that a little bit and just try to play, yeah, consistent all the time. It might not be at the highest level, but just build on it.
Q. If someone asked you about your game in 2008 and 2010, what would you say? Why were you No. 1 and playing French Open final, and now second round out?
ANA IVANOVIC: I think it's expectations from myself that I put. And actually, I think I'm striking the ball better now than I did in 2008 or any previous years. Also, you know, my movement is getting there. Last year my fitness was really lacking, and now I'm putting things in place.
It will take some time for it. Considering tennis, I mean, I'm playing much better than I was. It's just that expectation that sometimes I put on myself, and it's very overwhelming.
And then I use so much energy. And then when it counts the most, I'm behind. So I just have to find that balance, I guess.
Q. Are you able to play from instinct, or are you thinking too much on court?
ANA IVANOVIC: That's a big part of my game. I think when I actually let go of, you know, emotions, what I have to do, that's when I play my best. That's when instincts overtake a lot. I have to work on it. That's something I'll always struggle with.
Q. You said the ball toss is a problem for you. What is the difficulty for you?
ANA IVANOVIC: I think what happens when my ball toss gets away from me, it's when I rush a little bit. When I'm excited, when I want to keep going, I want a good serve, and then I rush and I just don't take time. That's when it happens. It just gets away from me because I hold the ball so tight instead of just relaxing.
Yeah, it's something I'm working on.
So buckle up, Baby K fans, and refill that Xanax prescription. It's going to be another long one. I'm still hopeful. I'm willing to be patient on this one.