Re: S3 - 2: Mondial Australian Women's Hardcourts, Gold Coast (II)
Daniela raises her hands in disbelief after beating Maria Kirilenko
The title says it all. Daniela Hantuchova defied all odds winning her first round over strong plexicushion player Maria Kirilenko 7-5, 2-6, 7-5 at the Mondial Australian Women’s Hardcourts in Gold Coast. Last season, Daniela went 0-9 during the then rebound ace and clay season before winning her first matches on the grass of the Netherlands, so this win is particularly satisfying. Daniela said, “Personally, I don’t think I played too bad of a match in Auckland against Clijsters so I just told myself to keep fighting and keep imposing your game. I think that made the difference today.”
In the first set, Daniela went up 3-0 and 5-3 using her trademark crisp groundstrokes to get Makiri off balance. She had 3 set points but in trademark Dani fashion she choked and let Makiri back in at 5-5. 2 easy forehand errors from the Russian beauty at 15-15 gave Daniela the confidence to break and close out the set using wicked placement with her serve and finishing points out at net.
Makiri took an injury timeout and bathroom break after losing the first set
Maria, at #12 in the world, was the clear favorite in this match made veteran moves by taking a bathroom break and an injury timeout for an apparent “lower back injury.” Daniela commented, “I have full confidence that Makiri was really injured but she seemed like she was moving quite well out there. Maybe she wanted throw off my momentum, I don’t know.” It certainly did throw her momentum off as Makiri used her steady groundstrokes to move Dani around the court and took the set 6-2.
The set remained on serve for most of the set and Makiri crept just one point from victory at 30-40 at 4-5 but that didn’t waver Dani’s confidence. She commented, “I remember from last season that Makiri wasn’t able to close out these kind of matches a lot even on her better surfaces so I kind of took that in as a positive for the tight situations.” Dani saved it with a great first serve that Makiri slapped wide and the rest was history. Dani commented, “It’s such a big win for me. I worked so hard in the off season and I’m so happy to see it all pay off.”
Daniela will face World #4 Jelena Jankovic for a spot in the quarterfinals.