Exhausted Hantuchova crashes in Dubai

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

DUBAI - Daniela Hantuchova experienced the highs and lows of tennis Tuesday as the weekend winner of the WTA title in Pattaya crashed out with exhaustion 1-6, 3-6 to Anna Chakvetadze in the first round of the Dubai Championships.

Hantuchova from Slovakia and ranked 29, won her first title since 2007 in Thailand, then caught a flight to the Gulf. Along the way, she ran down her health.

“I could not even keep track of the score at one point,” said the two-time quarter-finalist. “It was kind of tough to be focused on the game.”

Hantuchova barely registered in the opening set and trailed 4-1 in the second before receiving medical treatment on court which included a blood pressure reading.

But the 27-year-old soldiered on, staging a mini-comeback to pull to 3-4 before her Russian opponent finally salted away only her second win of the season.

Hantuchova admitted the early loss was a bitter blow after her recent success.

“It is always very emotional when you win a tournament, especially there was no time to rest or anything,” she said.

“We went straight to the airport and flew all night. Yesterday I was trying to recover, but there was just not enough time.”

The experienced campaigner refused to blame WTA scheduling or a crowded calendar for her predicament.

“I was happy to win the tournament there, but of course I wanted to do well here as well,” she said.

“For that I think I would need at least three, four days to get used to. Here the conditions are so different, players arrive so early before the tournament to be ready.

“To expect to get used to it after a 30-minute hit, it is impossible.”

Chakvetadze admitted she was not at her best either. “I am not at 100 percent, I had to keep my energy and save it for the next match.”

Three seeds advanced into the second round, with number nine Shahar Peer defeating Mara Jos Martnez Snchez 6-4, 6-1 and Italy’s 11th seed Flavia Pennetta putting out Australian Jelena Dokic 6-2, 6-2.

Estonian 12th seed Kaia Kanepi beat Russian Vera Dushevina 6-1, 6-2. Another Russian - one of eight who began the event - fell as Italy’s Roberta Vinci defeated Elena Vesnina 6-4, 6-3.

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