Match Report Dani v. Amanda
(8) Daniela Hantuchova vs. Amanda Coetzer
Singles: Third Round
24 hours after ousting Elena Dementieva, little Amanda Coetzer faced another uphill battle against one of the sport's rising stars. Although seeded just one spot higher than Dementieva, Daniela Hantuchova is emerging as a far more complete player. Coetzer was her usual battling self in the opening set, but just could not win the big points against her taller, stronger, younger opponent. Absolutely pummeling a cross-court forehand return on set point, Hantuchova took it 6-1 in just 24 minutes.
Continuing to dictate play from the baseline, the Slovakian charged ahead 4-1 in the second set. Some untimely errors cost her a break opportunity in Game 6, keeping Coetzer's hopes alive. A tension-filled seventh game saw a string of errors and winners off the dangerous Hantuchova forehand. After six deuces, one more unforced error from the 19-year-old got Coetzer back on serve at 3-4. But the rally was short-lived. Hantuchova came out from the changeover with a renewed sense of purpose and played lights-out tennis. Pushing the scrappy South American around at will, she broke at 30 and held at love, firing an ace on the final point of her 6-1, 6-3 victory.
A very strong first serve percentage of 71 was key to Hantuchova's quick win. "I was trying to go for it also on the second serve because I knew that I can put her with it under a lot of pressure," Daniela added in her press conference. Unlike your intrepid reporter, Hantuchova didn't prefer Thursday's milder weather. "Actually, I like it when it's really hot, but today was OK. I mean, I really like it when it's really, really hot." (The grin on her face while she was dragging out those words almost convinced me she was flirting. Hey, let a guy dream.) Hantuchova confirmed that Nike will continue its tradition of giving players special new outfits to debut at the U.S. Open. "I haven't seen what it's going to be like, but hopefully it's going to be something nice," she said with another smile. Ah, Daniela, we hope so too.