Hantuchova upsets Hingis in Qatar
The sixth seed comes from one set down to defeat the inaugural champion.
Last Modified: 02 Mar 2007 07:51 GMT

Doing it down the stretch: Daniela Hantuchova fought back to win against Martina Hingis [Al Jazeera]

Sixth seed Daniela Hantuchova came from one set and 4-1 down to defeat third seed Martina Hingis 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 in an absorbing encounter on centre court at the Khalifa Tennis Complex in Doha, Qatar on Thursday.
Hantuchova, who looked down and out midway through the second set, staged a remarkable comeback, breaking Hingis' serve three times in a row to get back into the match and record a memorable win.

"In my mind I never felt like I was out of it," Hantuchova told a press conference after the match.

"Even though I was 4-1 down in the second set I felt like I was slowly starting to do the right stuff, and I just felt like it was a matter of time to break her down.

"I just tried to play my game, stayed positive and never gave up," added the 23 year-old Slovakian.

Hingis controlled the match early, running her opponent from corner to corner in some drawn out rallies that resulted in the Swiss former number one racing to a 4-0 lead in the first set.

Hantuchova got into the match with some impressive ground strokes to make it 4-1 as the Khalifa Stadium centre court lights took over, but too many unforced errors saw the first set easily go to Hingis 6-1 in 26 minutes.

The second set looked like it was heading the same way, with Hingis breaking Hantuchova in the fourth game, and then holding easily to go out to a 4-1 lead, however the match turned with world number 19 Hantuchova winning the next seven games to take the second set 6-4 and go up a break in the decider.

"Turning a match like that around against a top-ten player means a lot to me," Hantuchova said afterwards.

"I'm very happy about it."

Staying patient

Eye on the ball: Martina Hingis raced to an
early lead, but couldn't hold on [Al Jazeera]

Both players utilised the new on-court coaching rule in the break between the second and third sets, with Hingis looking to regain her composure and Hantuchova aiming to keep her momentum going.

Hantuchova revealed that the coaching tips weren't rocket science at the post match press conference.

"He told me to stay patient, not to force things too much and to stay in the rallies and keep fighting, which is what I did," she said of her coach's advice.

Hantuchova almost had a double-break in the fifth game of the final set, but Hingis held on after a long rally to go to 3-2, with the 26 year-old world number six then breaking back in the eighth game to make it 4-4.

The crowd sensed a comeback from Hingis, who won the first Qatar Women's Open back in 2001, however it was Hantuchova's night as she had three break points on the Swiss player's next serve, broke on the third attempt, and then held on to serve out the match.


The last time Hantuchova beat Hingis she won
the Indian Wells title in 2002 [Al Jazeera]
"I admired her when I was growing up, so it's definitely tough playing against her," said Hantuchova of Hingis.

The last time Hantuchova beat Hingis was in the final of the Indian Wells tournament in 2002, the only WTA singles title she has won.

"I was thinking about that while I was playing, you never forget a moment like that," said Hantuchova.

"Whenever I play her, it goes through my mind, and I just tried to remember the feeling I had there, and it was great to do it again today."

Hantuchova will play second seed Svetlana Kuznetsova in the semi-finals, after the Russian beat eighth seeded Italian Francesca Shiavone 6-3, 6-4.

Earlier, Serbian fourth seed Jelena Jankovic won her quarter-final against Ukraine's Kateryna Bondarenko 6-3, 6-3 to book a semi-final meeting with either world number two Justine Henin or fifth seed Patty Schnyder.

Al Jazeera
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