Nigel Sears, the British coach who has again linked up with Daniela Hantuchova
after the Slovakian failed to establish a working relationship with American Harold Solomon, believes the 21-year-old has arrested the slide in her ranking from five to her current position of 45.
"There's no question she is in a much healthier condition," he said in Warsaw, where Hantuchova recovered from 0-5 in the first round to beat Maria Sanchez Lorenzo but yesterday lost 6-4, 7-5 to Anna Smashnova-Pistolesi. "She's at her right playing weight now, and she's starting to strike the ball without fear again.
"She's going to have to get through some matches, especially on clay, which isn't perhaps her best surface, but she's been playing some very good tennis in practice and I'm very happy with how her game is shaping up.
"In Miami against Venus Williams she played one of the best sets I've seen her play in at least a year and a half, and that showed her that she's starting to get back to where she was."
Williams, who sustained a stomach muscle injury in last year's Warsaw final against Amelie Mauresmo which led to her struggle at Wimbledon and prevented her playing the second half of the season, continued her recent run of form by beating Australian Open semi-finalist Fabiola Zuluaga 4-6, 6-2, 6-0.
The American, who recently won her first title in 14 months, struggled to put her first serve into play in the opening set, but then overpowered the Colombian.