Sunday, February 13, 2011
Hantuchova wins first title in four years.
Daniela Hantuchova made a welcome return to the WTA winner's circle on Sunday afternoon, claiming her fourth career title - and first in almost four years - at the PTT Pattaya Open in Thailand.
Hantuchova, the No.4 seed at the $220,000 tournament, didn't drop a set en route to the title, but it was by no means easy. Having lost to her in all three of their previous meetings, she edged Kimiko Date-Krumm in a tight two-setter in the second round, 7-6(3) 6-3, then came the semifinal battle with No.1 seed and two-time defending champion, Vera Zvonareva, which she also won, 7-6(3) 6-4.
"I kept fighting like crazy. I knew it would be a crazy match, she has confidence and experience," Hantuchova said. "She has been in so many finals and is such a fighter, but I played one of my best matches in the last few years."
"I wasn't happy with my game since the second round, and with such a good player like Daniela, you need to lift the level of your game," Zvonareva, ranked No.3 in the world, said. "I hope to come back. I love playing in Pattaya. I won here twice, everyone welcomes me, it's a great thing to have. So I hope I can."
In Sunday's final, Hantuchova was in crushing form against No.8 seed Sara Errani, hitting three times as many winners (18 to 6) and breaking serve six times en route to a 6-0 6-2 championship victory in an hour and 16 minutes.
Hantuchova's first three WTA titles came at Indian Wells in 2002 and 2007, as well as at Linz later in 2007. She is now 4-7 in career finals.