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Anastasia-The Road Ahead

After a 3rd round appearance at Wimbledon and performing in the World Team Tennis (WTT) event in America (where she defeated Lindsay Davenport!), Anastasia will soon begin to hit the U.S hardcourt season-which will probably be in San Diego next week! Her game really suits any hardcourt, hence her reaching the quarterfinals at the Australian Open in January, so she will be wanting to perform quite well so she can cement her position in the top10 as there are a few players who are right behind her in the rankings that can be viewed as a threat.

Points to Defend:

Last year in San Diego, Anastasia was seeded 9th and received a bye as a result. In the second round, she was put to the test by an unrelenting Italian in Francesca Schiavone where she only just prevailed in a 6-4 third set. Normally Schiavone would not be viewed as a dangerous player due to the lack of power in her game but her angles and top-spin shots certainly seemed to trouble Myskina this time last year. Unfortunately, she was defeated the following round by a red-hot Jelena Dokic who went on to defeat Jennifer Capriati and Anna Kournikova on her way to the finals. So this wasn’t really a bad loss as the score was 6-4 6-3 and it enabled her to work on her weaknesses for the following tournament. And besides…it can be seen as a blessing in disguise because she has fewer points to defend this time around!

Myskina then participated in the tournament at Montreal where she performed quite miserably. She lost in the opening round, as the 11th seed, to Clarisa Fernandez. Obviously, the players with the extreme amounts of top-spin and moonballs seem to trouble Anastasia and lets just hope she does not draw any Italian or Argentine players this season! Nonetheless, she does not have any points to defend so her ranking is sure to improve if she puts in a solid performance.

Now New Haven was the best tournament for Myskina last year because of the following players she defeated and she wasn’t even seeded!

  • Conchita Martinez: 1994 Wimbledon Champion and the finalist of the French Open and the Australian Open. Myskina defeated her quite easily with a 6-1 6-4 result which means that she had worked on her game to suit typical clay-court players with their top-spin shots.

 

  • Justine Henin-Hardenne: she was seeded 4th here and was a favourite for the title as she has the game to win on hardcourts with her backhand. However, Anastasia destroyed her with her huge groundstrokes to pull off a straight set victory, winning 7-6 6-2!

 

  • Martina Hingis: what a defeat this was! Hingis, who had already won the U.S. Open and made a couple of finals there after, was leading Myskina 7-6 4-1 before Anastasia staged a remarkable comeback to win the next 11 games and take the match 6-7 6-4 6-0. Hingis was coming back from an injury but this result was very impressive! Her confidence levels dropped alas and she ended up losing to Lindsay Davenport 2-6 2-6 in the semi-finals. So she has a lot of points to defend here.

In the U.S. Open, Myskina was knocked out in the 3rd round to a lower seed in Daja Bedanova but this is not surprising. Bedanova a few years ago went on to defeat Monica Seles when she made the semifinals and players tend to perform better at tournaments where they have previously done well in, especially in grand slams. Look at Tamarine Tanasugarn-she made the 4th round at Wimbledon for four or five years in a row!

So overall, there is not a lot of points to defend, except at New Haven and the U.S. Open, but even if she doesn’t defend these points, then she can certainly make up for them with strong showings at any of the other hardcourt events leading up to the U.S Open. Furthermore, starting from early October, she only has to defend two wins for the entire next month so who knows….can you see her as a top 5 player come the end of the year? Dokic reached number 4 with strong results so it could be Myskina’s chance this year…..

Good luck Nastya! :p

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