Hantuchova Wins in Bali; Davenport in Action

Posted on September 13, 2007

BALI, Indonesia - Daniela Hantuchova became the first seed to make the quarterfinals of the Commonwealth Bank Tennis Classic on Wednesday when she defeated Dutch wildcard Elise Tamaela in straight sets. Joining her in the final eight of the $225,000, Tier III event will be Edina Gallovits and Ayumi Morita, the latter of whom was responsible for the surprise exit of No.6 seed Martina Müller.

This week's No.2 seed, Hantuchova, enjoyed a wonderful first half of 2007 - highlighted by a second career title at Indian Wells - but has struggled somewhat of late. The 24-year-old Slovak has triumphed in just two matches since the start of August and she will be delighted to have safely negotiated her first hurdle on the Indonesian Island.

In Hantchova's only previous visit to Bali 12 months ago, she was bundled out in the opening round and she will also be pleased to have returned to winning ways after her first round exit at the US Open. World No.180 Tamaela received a wildcard for the tournament and she gave her higher ranked opponent plenty of problems, before finally going down 75 63 in one hour, 26 minutes.

"It was a good match to start the tournament with and it's pleasing to come through it with a victory," Hantuchova said of her second round win. "After going out early at the US Open it's nice to get back winning again and although there are a few areas I can work on, there were lots of positives, especially my serving, and hopefully I can improve with each match."

Next up for Hantuchova will be the prodigiously gifted Japanese qualifier Ayumi Morita, who scored an impressive win over Müller in Day 3's first match on Court 1. At the tender age of 17, Morita has already scored victories over two Top 50 players - including compatriot and training partner Ai Sugiyama - and delivered a mature performance to knock out her German rival, 64 60.

The final second round match on Wednesday also involved a qualifier, as China's Yuan Meng took on Romania's Gallovits. Meng is ranked No.142 in the world and had to come through two rounds of qualifying just to take her place in the main draw, but after upsetting No.8 seed Yaroslava Shvedova on Monday her South East Asia adventure came to an end when she lost out to Gallovits in a match which was far closer than the 62 64 scoreline suggests.

Undoubtedly the most exciting match of the day was the first round singles encounter between Japan's Aiko Nakamura and Tamarine Tanasugarn. The match had originally been scheduled for Tuesday, but due to a finger injury sustained by the Thai player it was postponed by 24 hours.

Nakamura, this week's No.6 seed, started the match in fine form and had several chances to close it out in straight sets, before her experienced opponent hit back to force a decider and when Tanasugarn served for the match at 5-4 an upset look on the cards. However, Nakamura dug deep to reel off the final three games and secure an epic 61 67(5) 75 victory, after nearly three hours on court.

"It was a very tough match," Nakmura said, "and one of my longest matches ever. Tammy is such an experienced player and she pushed me right to the end. I think in the final set we were both a little tired and maybe when she was 5-4 ahead she got nervous and I managed to comeback and win the final three games."

The final three contests of the day were all on the doubles court and the spectators at the Grand Hyatt Bali were treated to their first major shock as the top seeds, Eleni Daniilidou and Jasmin Woehr, were bundled out of the competition by Sara Errani and Anabel Medina Garrigues, 62 63.

Elsewhere No.3 seeds Ji Chunmei and Sun Shengnan secured the final quarterfinal berth with a 62 26 107 triumph over the local wildcard pairing of Wynne Prakusya and Angelique Widjaja, while the draws other wildcards, Lindsay Davenport and Daniela Hantuchova, became the first team into the semifinals when they defeated Julie Ditty and Alina Jidkova, 64 64. (WTA)