At the end of a great victory against the young and very talented Nikola Bartunkova, Ana Bogdan arrived at the press conference carrying the signs of the over three-hour battle she had fought in front of the numerous and enthusiastic crowd at the BT Arena.
“How good it is to sit down,” she exclaimed as she took her seat in front of the journalists.
“We played for over 3 hours; it was an incredible match. Both of us played very well, and it’s also thanks to Nikola for playing exceptionally; she has a bright future ahead, and I wish her all the best in the world. I really wanted to win today, despite not having my best day. I’m happy that I managed to win,” said Ana, now with seven consecutive victories (she won the title in Parma).
She mentioned that the support of the people meant a lot. “The crowd gave me a lot of energy. Sometimes, when you don’t play as well as you’d like to if you have the audience supporting you the way they supported me today, you find that inner strength to succeed. I’m tremendously glad I won, I’m happy for everything I felt on the court because of them. Although it was hard for me, I accepted that I didn’t have an extraordinarily good day, and I didn’t feel the hits the way I felt them in the first round. I told myself, at each point, that I had the power, that I had the energy, that I could fight to the end, and that, regardless of the score and what was happening on the court, I could win and fight until the last point. I think that helped me tremendously, especially in the difficult moments.”
Ana said that she felt physically good until about 5-4 in the deciding set. “Up until then, I felt like I was handling the effort without any problems. Then my legs felt heavier, it was like my arm wasn’t listening to me anymore, maybe the timing wasn’t the same, the reaction, too. But I told myself that I had the power, that I had the energy, and that I would succeed. At a certain point, you push some physical limits and enter a state where you become like a robot, and you’re there, fighting, feeling that you have a bit more in you. That’s what I did today, no matter what I felt at some point.”
Ana believes that the choice of the right shots at the right moments also mattered: “I think I played a few drop shots at the right moments when I had to, and I played them at the end of long rallies when she didn’t have the energy to reach those drop shots. I think I made the right decisions to play those drop shots, and it wasn’t the easiest moments; I wasn’t leading 5-1. The score was close, but I kept my cool.”
Ana Bogdan will play for a spot in the semifinals against Rebeka Masarova, the tournament’s fourth favorite. The two have met only once before, in 2021, at the US Open, with the victory going to the Spanish player.