13
Feb
11

Hantuchova said after her win, “She has been in so many finals and is such a fighter, but I played one of my best matches in the last few years.”

 Daniela Hantuchova made a welcome return to the WTA winner’s circle on Sunday afternoon, claiming her fourth career title – and first in almost four years – at the PTT Pattaya Open in Thailand. Hantuchova, the No.4 seed at the $220,000 tournament, didn’t drop a set en route to the title, but it was by no means easy. Having lost to her in all three of their previous meetings, she edged Kimiko Date-Krumm in a tight two-setter in the second round, 76(3) 63, then came the semifinal battle with No.1 seed and two-time defending champion, Vera Zvonareva, which she also won, 76(3) 64.

“I kept fighting like crazy. I knew it would be a crazy match, she has confidence and experience,” Hantuchova said. “She has been in so many finals and is such a fighter, but I played one of my best matches in the last few years.” “I wasn’t happy with my game since the second round, and with such a good player like Daniela, you need to lift the level of your game,” Zvonareva, ranked No.3 in the world, said. “I hope to come back. I love playing in Pattaya. I won here twice, everyone welcomes me, it’s a great thing to have. So I hope I can.”

In Sunday’s final, Hantuchova was in crushing form against No.8 seed Sara Errani, hitting three times as many winners (18 to 6) and breaking serve six times en route to a 60 62 championship victory in an hour and 16 minutes. “I was really hungry to get another title,” Hantuchova said. “I was focused and aggressive from the start. I won the whole tournament in straight sets, which is a good sign. After the injury at the start of the year, this feels great. I had a good pre-season and now it’s paying off. I just never doubted myself.” Hantuchova’s first three WTA titles came at Indian Wells in 2002 and 2007, as well as at Linz later in 2007. She is now 4-7 in career finals. “The match with Vera was a little final I would say, but I have to give credit to Sara, she played well the whole tournament,” Hantuchova added. “I hope to come back to Pattaya City. I didn’t have time to see anything of Thailand, so hopefully I come back not just for the tournament, but also holidays!”

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