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Keothavong vows to crash into the world’s top 100

PUBLISHED: 10:07 03 January 2007 | UPDATED: 10:28 07 September 2010

CUMBERLAND S British No. 1 Anne Keothavong believes she is on course to break into the world s top 100 during 2007. The 23-year-old Keothavong enjoyed a perfect end to 2006 when she claimed her second $25,000 title of the year in Prerov, Czech Republic,

CUMBERLAND'S British No. 1 Anne Keothavong believes she is on course to break into the world's top 100 during 2007.

The 23-year-old Keothavong enjoyed a perfect end to 2006 when she claimed her second $25,000 title of the year in Prerov, Czech Republic, last month - a result which saw her climb to No.144 in the world rankings, up 69 places from her position in mid-January.

The last 11 months have also seen the Londoner take over as the British No.1 and peak at a career-high world ranking of No. 134 in October.

Keothavong, who was first coached by Peter Neathy at South Hampstead LTC, has been working hard on her game in a bid to crack the top 100 for the first time in the New Year.

"I know which areas I need to work on to improve," admitted Keothavong. "I still feel I'm going in the right direction and next year's number one goal will still be to break into the top 100. If I get my ranking to double figures I'll be very happy.

"That was my goal this year and although I didn't manage it I don't feel I did much wrong, I just lost a bit of confidence at times."

Keothavong clinched the Prerov title with a top class performance to beat Angelique Kerber in the final.

The German player hit form on British soil in the autumn when she won back-to-back $25,000 events in Jersey and Glasgow, a run which included a straight-sets defeat of Keothavong in the last four at the Scottish event.

"I was playing well all week in Prerov," added Keothavong. "I'd been struggling a bit before Poland [where she reached the last four the week before].

"I carried my confidence over to Prerov and it all came together, particularly with my serve. The courts were very fast so serving well was important.

"I played a really good match in the final - it was one of the better matches I've played this year. It was a great way to finish the year by having two good weeks."

Despite her strong finish to the year, Keothavong is the first to admit she struggled to string wins together at times in the summer.

"I had a good start to the year then, during the grass court season I drew some tough opponents and basically, I wasn't able to produce against them.

"Then I went to the States and was looking forward to playing outdoors on hard courts and was expecting to do well.

"I was really looking forward to the US Open but again I had a tough draw in the first round of qualifying and played a girl who qualified and reached the third round of the main draw.

"I played three tour events in Asia in the autumn and played a good match in the first week, but lost again. Even if you're playing well, if you're losing then you inevitably start to question yourself a little bit. Had I spent the summer playing $25,000 events then my ranking would probably be higher, but I don't play tennis only to play $25,000 events. I play tennis to test myself at the bigger events against the better players."

After some off-court fitness training at the Queen's Club, Keothavong is considering a spell in Florida to prepare for the first event of 2007, the Moorilla Hobart International in Australia, which begins on January 8, before the qualifying event at the Australian Open a week later.

pat.mooney@hamhigh.co.uk

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