Hantuchova Will Pass Sharapova with Linz Title

Posted on October 28, 2007

Daniela Hantuchova has a chance to be one of the elite eight competing in the singles event at the prestigious season ending Sony Ericsson Championships in Madrid, Spain, held November 6-11.

Only the top eight singles players and top four doubles teams of the year can compete at this $3-million event. Hantuchova will have to win the Generali Ladies Linz singles title to have enough points to claim the last singles spot, pushing Maria Sharapova to the alternate spot at No.9 in the singles Race to the Sony Ericsson Championships. If Hantuchova loses in Sunday’s singles final, Sharapova will take the last singles spot and Hantuchova will be the alternate at No.9.

Sunday’s championship match-up between Patty Schnyder and Daniela Hantuchova will be their 17th meeting but their first-ever in a final. In fact, they have never met past the quarterfinals at an event since their first meeting at 2001 Filderstadt. Moreover, this match will break their head-to-head tie, which is currently 8-8. Seven of their 16 previous meetings have gone to three sets.

Schnyder is seeking her first Sony Ericsson WTA Tour singles title since 2005 Cincinnati, where she defeated Akiko Morigami 64 60 in the final. She is playing in only her second singles final of 2007 after finishing runner-up to Maria Sharapova at the Tier I event in San Diego earlier this summer.

Hantuchova is playing in her fourth singles final of the season, entering Sunday’s final with a 1-2 finals record in 2007. She captured her second career Sony Ericsson WTA Tour singles final at the Tier I event in Indian Wells, the site of her career-first title in 2002. This year, she beat Svetlana Kuznetsova in the final. Hantuchova was runner-up twice this year in singles finals. She lost in three sets both times, falling to Lindsay Davenport at Bali and Ana Ivanovic at Luxembourg.

Both of the doubles teams competing in Sunday’s final have qualified for the prestigious season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships.

Top-seeded doubles team Cara Black and Liezel Huber are looking for their eighth Sony Ericsson WTA Tour doubles title in their 11th final of the year, while No.2-seeded team Katarina Srebotnik and Ai Suigyama will aim for their second doubles title in their fourth Tour final of 2007.

Patty Schnyder: Projected to remain at No.17 unless she captures the singles title, in which case she would move to No.16.

Daniela Hantuchova: With her semifinal win and Marion Bartoli’s loss to Schnyder, Hantuchova is expected to move up one spot to No.9, bumping Bartoli down to No.10. Hantuchova is unable to move any higher even if she wins the title on Sunday. (WTA)