to my mind beating players you are supposed to beat (for the most part) is not only slightly better. it is significantly better. it's far from great, of course, but it is a big deal. it helped her reach a qf of a gs again. i also think her scheduling is the main reason she didn't get into top 10 this year which would have been something significant even if she doesn't win a title. i am also convinced that she is capable of winning mm titles but i am not sure how much value should be put on that. it probably would help her confidence but at the moment beating top players would help more imo. she fails to get further in tournaments because of her seeding. getting into top 8 would mean that she would stay there for a long time, i think.
I disagree.. I think beating the players you are supposed to beat, which Ana did in 9 of the 15 tournaments she played, is not a big deal. It's an improvement.. its something slightly better. She lost to people she shouldn't have lost to in 6 tournaments, so its still a work in progress.
I think a lot of value should be put into winning titles.. that winning feeling, apart from all the match play, gives one belief, even if its a MM tournament. Yes, schedule is an issue.. but she has had this top 5 schedule for forever.. if she still hasn't learned, then its a hopeless cause.
For Ana to beat top players she needs that belief, that match play.. besides building weapons into her game. Only a FH, without belief, a serve, a BH, and match management skills wont make her beat any top player in remotely good form.
I do agree that if she gets to top 8, benefiting from easier draws, she has a good chance to stay there as she is more consistent and would have a better shot at going deep into tournaments. But to get there she needs to go deep into tournaments in the first place, which she only did 3 times in 15 tournaments this year (a semi and 2 QFs). This might just be the first season in Ana's entire career that she fails to make a single final. Cant make a much better anything with that.