Former Top 20 player skips the US Open, the rest of the season is in doubt



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Former Top 20 player skips the US Open, the rest of the season is in doubt

The young Croat Ana Konjuh has been one of the most promising players over the last couple of years, winning the Eddie Herr and Orange Bowl at the age of 14 in 2012 and the Australian Open in January next year. Ana didn't stay on the ITF junior Tour for too long, losing in the semi-final of Roland Garros and Wimbledon before finishing her stellar junior career with the title at the US Open, finishing her junior duties at the age of 15.

A super talented player from Dubrovnik was the force to be reckoned with on the Pro Tour as well, reaching the first final in 2012 at the age of 14 and claiming the first title in June next year in Montpellier. Ana was one of the youngest players in the Top 300 at the end of the season and she was ready for more of the same in 2014 despite missing four months of tennis (due to an elbow that would bother her again).

She had reached the third round at Wimbledon as a qualifier and the semi-final in Istanbul, still at the age of 16, and finished the season with a few good results on the lower-ranked events for the place in the Top 100. The start of 2015 was not that good but it all changed in Nottingham where she won her maiden WTA title, earning enough points to finish in the Top 80.

Just like in 2015, Konjuh needed some time to find the right form and it came at the best possible moment, advancing to the quarter-final of the US Open where she lost to Karolina Pliskova, backed by the semi-final in Guangzhou and the quarter-final in Moscow to settle into the Top 50 and continue her progress towards the top of the game.

The hard-hitting Croat had opened 2017 season with the final in Auckland, with a quarter-final run in Dubai. Ana scored eight wins on grass but her problems started after reaching the quarters in Stanford (she cracked the Top 20 at the end of July), losing in the opening round of the three biggest North American events and being forced to skip the rest of the season after the US Open with a right elbow injury.

Ana ended her cooperation with Zeljko Krajan at the beginning of September and she underwent an elbow surgery on September 15, targeting her return at the beginning of the new season. Ana made a comeback in Brisbane where she lost to Elina Svitolina in the second round and was forced to skip the following tournaments with more elbow troubles, this time on the left hand which led to another medical intervention in March.

Her ranking position was going down rapidly and she entered the Roland Garros from outside the Top 100, losing 6-0 6-1 to Carla Suarez Navarro and failing to make an impression in Eastbourne and Wimbledon as well, barely standing in the Top 400 at the moment.

The worst thing is, Ana is not sure what to do with her right elbow anymore, trailing with no problems but feeling the pain in competitive matches after just a few games. Ana visited the specialists in Zurich, Turin and Bologna and no one could figure out what causes the constant pain. At the moment, this talented young girl is forced to rest and she will miss the upcoming US Open, planning to start hitting again at the end of August and maybe try to play to qualify for one or two WTA events to see where she stands at the moment.

We could only wish Ana a quick recovery and to see her pain-free again as soon as possible, as she certainly has a lot to offer in the years to come. ALSO READ: Rafael Nadal joins Roger Federer and Feliciano Lopez on the special list