Match report: Dani v. Patty
(8) Daniela Hantuchova vs. Patty Schnyder
Singles: Second Round
Court 1 became a revolving door for challengers to Anna Kournikova's throne as the tour's leading sex symbol. Following the Coetzer-Dementieva tilt, Barbara Schett gutted out a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Chanda Rubin. The impossibly leggy Daniela Hantuchova followed them into battle, hoping to reverse her 0-2 career record against dangerous Swiss lefty Patty Schnyder. "Dani" put the focus squarely on her tennis right away, wowing the fans with rocket serves and thundering groundstrokes en route to a 2-0 lead. Schnyder stood her ground, though, and got even at 2-2 when Hantuchova sent an off-balance forehand long on break point. The Slovakian continued smoking the ball, getting great depth on her shots, but Schnyder kept her on her toes with varying spins and changes of pace.
An expert drop shot helped Hantuchova to break point in Game 7; she converted with a cross-court forehand blast. Schnyder became visibly frustrated and dropped the next three games to trail 6-3, 1-0. Hantuchova's body language was the complete opposite -- lots of little fist pumps, with a determined look on her face. At 2-1, Hantuchova used another big forehand to set up an easy put-away at the net, breaking for a 3-1 edge. After extending the lead to 4-2, the Slovakian got a little sloppy in Game 7. Schnyder had chances to break, but screamed at herself after allowing Hantuchova back to deuce. Two points later, a Schnyder backhand flew wide for 6-3, 5-2.
After Patty held for 3-5, Hantuchova attempted to serve out the match... and failed miserably. Three double faults and a wild forehand miscue gave Schnyder the game and brand new life at 4-5. Now it was Hantuchova in the throes of frustration, giving her racket a lively, end-over-end bounce off the court after a poorly played point in Game 10. Daniela finally did get to match point at 6-5, but missed with a backhand. Schnyder stayed alive and forced the set into a tiebreak...
DH serving: Lovely backhand drop shot winner from Hantuchova -- 1-0 HANTUCHOVA
PS: Hantuchova ends a long rally with an inside-out forehand winner -- 2-0 HANTUCHOVA
PS: Schnyder sends a forehand long for another mini-break -- 3-0 HANTUCHOVA
DH: Schnyder barely reaches a drop shot; Hantuchova then pokes a volley past her -- 4-0 HANTUCHOVA
DH: Hantuchova rips a winning forehand and pumps her fist -- 5-0 HANTUCHOVA
PS: A late call on the baseline goes against Hantuchova -- 5-1 HANTUCHOVA
PS: Service winner from Schnyder -- 5-2 HANTUCHOVA
DH: After a series of Hantuchova moonballs, Schnyder strikes a winning forehand -- 5-3 HANTUCHOVA
DH: Defensive Schnyder backhand floats wide -- 6-3 HANTUCHOVA
PS: Schnyder nets a fairly routine backhand on match point -- 7-3 HANTUCHOVA
A fine straight sets victory for Hantuchova, but one she'd certainly complicated for herself. After the match, I asked her if she'd lost her concentration after building that 5-2 lead in the second. "Yeah, definitely. I felt like I had the chance to close the match at that point and I just didn't use my chance... It was really hard to close it out, but I'm really happy how I came back in the tiebreak." Despite Schnyder's repuation for folding up her tent when the going gets rough, Hantuchova wasn't surprised to see her fighting until the end. "Every match I played with her she is always tough. And I think when you play somebody that is higher on the rankings, then you are always up to play that player. So I thought that she will never give up in this match. And she fought back very well."