Smashnova excited by draw
By David Long at the ASB Bank Tennis Centre
ASB Classic number two seed Anna Smashnova-Pistolesi is excited about playing Ashley Harkleroad in the second round of the Classic on Wednesday afternoon.
Smashnova-Pistolesi struggled to defeat Julia Vakulenko 1-6 6-4 6-3 on Tuesday afternoon and will now play the promising Harkleroad on Wednesday on court four in what is likely to be a match of contrasting styles.
"I'm looking forward to this match actually, because she's young and an up and comer," Smashnova-Pistolesi said. "She's a fighter and a good player and she did well last year. I hope it's a good match and I'm really looking forward to it."
Smashnova-Pistolesi went on to say that she wasn't surprised at how tough her match against Vakulenko was.
"I knew she was a good player and it's hard to start after a three-month break. So I was expecting a tough match," she said.
"She hit the ball very hard and she got a lot of returns in in the first set. She served very well and I was under pressure until the very last point in the match."
As this is the first tournament of the year, players are coming in with varying degrees of fitness and practice, but Smashnova-Pistolesi told nzoom.com that only so much can be achieved in training.
"When you practice it's one thing, when you come to play tournaments it's another," she said. "You want to lift your game gradually in the tournaments.
"You may feel very good in practice but what happens in a match is another thing, you need a lot of matches to feel good."
When Anna played in the 2001 ASB Classic she went under the name Smashnova, last year she used her married name of Pistolesi, this time she's combined them both.
So why the change?
"For the tennis I like to use only one name," she explained. "But there's a legal problem outside of tennis and that makes complications.
"Like when I'm booked a ticket for a plane under the name Pistolesi and then I show them my passport and I'm under the name Smashnova, so it's very difficult."