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Keothavong eyes place in the world’s top 50

PUBLISHED: 18:24 22 December 2008 | UPDATED: 15:43 07 September 2010

CUMBERLAND S Anne Keothavong this week set her sights on breaking into the world s top 50 in 2009 after her best 12 months to date. The British No 1 won four ITF titles, reached the third round of a Grand Slam and ends 2008 with a career-high ranking of 6

CUMBERLAND'S Anne Keothavong this week set her sights on breaking into the world's top 50 in 2009 after her best 12 months to date.

The British No 1 won four ITF titles, reached the third round of a Grand Slam and ends 2008 with a career-high ranking of 60.

"I think getting into the top 50 is a realistic goal now," said Keothavong, who started her career under coach Peter Neathey at South Hampstead TC.

"It would be great if I can be around No.40 for the grass court season. I also want to do well in the Australian Open. Performing well at the Grand Slams is where it counts and picking up my first WTA title is another goal for next year."

The 25-year-old started 2008 ranked 132 in the world and admitted it was the year she had to step up to the next level.

"I always believed I could reach the top 100 but looking back I think this was probably a make or break year for me," said Keothavong. "I was starting to question 'is this going to happen? because it had been a goal of mine for so long. There's only so much grinding you can do at the smaller tournaments.

"I'm a bit older and more mature now and I think I'm clearer about what I want to do and how I want to do it.

"I've taken things into my own hands and chosen the people I want to work with. I think I'm mentally a lot stronger now as well. I guess I'm just happier with everything and when you're happy with what's going on you can play better tennis."

Keothavong is also immensely proud of her performance at Wimbledon this year. She qualified automatically, reached the second round before losing to Venus Williams on Centre Court.

"Getting into Wimbledon on merit, without having 'Wild Card' by my name meant a lot to me," she said. "I really felt like I belonged there this year which was a great feeling to have. And playing against Venus on Centre Court was also a memory I'll keep forever. It is definitely up there in my highlights of the year.

"Being on Centre Court is something I've dreamt about since I was a little girl, going to Wimbledon for the first time when I was seven.

"To play against the defending champion was special but also to challenge her made me believe that I can compete at that level against the higher ranked players."

Keothavong went one better at the US Open, reaching the third round before bowing out to Elena Dementieva.

"My run at the US Open was great," she said. "It was the first time I'd reached the third round at a Grand Slam. Then I followed it up with my biggest tournament win in Krakow and a career-high ranking at the end of the season.

"Overall, I'm pretty pleased with the year I've had. I've achieved my goals and set new ones for 2009."

pat.mooney@hamhigh.co.uk


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