Another tournament, another early round loss for Ana. This one was more respectable though, not that anyone will believe it. People will look at this scoreline and just chalk it up to Ana's slump. Sure, yeah, I mean, a little. But let's give credit where it's due. Mono played great. She was absolutely crushing the ball, putting Ana on the defensive early and, when Ana did get into an offensive position, forcing Ana to hit the extra ball.
After the match Ana said that Mono was hitting harder and deeper and serving better than in their three prior matches. She also cited the court and conditions, saying that the court was playing fast and the ball was moving much more quickly than she expected. She felt she was a "little bit late" on her shots. And from a spectator's perspective that's exactly what it looked like.
Still, it's tough to watch. This match, much like most of Ana's matches these days, turned on 3-5 points. But Ana tacitly admitted after the match that the big points are all about confidence and she's working on removing the doubt that she has on those point to allow her to play freely. She still feels more sure of her shots than she did, say, two months ago. But it's a work in progress.
Just to reiterate, Ana didn't play poorly here. This wasn't one of those shambolic performances that force you back to the drawing board. She got plain beat while playing about a B game. There are a lot of positives to take away from this tournament and I for one have been really encouraged by what I've seen. She's off to San Diego next week and lucky for her, I won't be there to fuck up her draw.
Because seriously, her draw was fucked up.