12
Mar
11

Dinara Safina post a huge victory over Hantuchova. Is it a sign of better things ahead?

Dinara Safina won back-to-back matches for the first time this season as she knocked out two-time BNP Paribas Open champion Daniela Hantuchova 7-6(2), 6-4 on Saturday. After both players lost serve three times in the opening set, Safina secured the only break of the second set in the final game, claiming victory after one hour and 56 minutes. Safina, who had dropped to a No. 108 ranking coming into this year’s tournament, last won consecutive matches in September when she reached the Seoul quarter-finals. The 26th-seeded Hantuchova lost in her second-round opening match for the second straight year in Indian Wells. She won the title in 2002 (d. Hingis) and ’07 (d. Kuznetsova).

Two seeds advanced in early action Saturday, with No. 13 Flavia Pennetta of Italy defeating Great Britain’s Elena Baltacha 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 and No. 20 Aravane Rezai of France finishing strong against China’s Shuai Zhang 7-6(5), 6-0.

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