Hantuchova Rallies, First Round Wraps

The only player in the draw who has won the title twice battled back to set up a second round clash with a very, very big name. Sofia Arvidsson overcame a 62 41 deficit to get past Laura Robson.

Published March 07, 2013 12:00

Hantuchova Rallies, First Round Wraps
Daniela Hantuchova

INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova, Caroline Wozniacki, Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic - all former World No.1s, all former champions at the BNP Paribas Open. But there's one other player in the draw who has tasted victory here, and in fact she's the only one who has done it twice - that's Daniela Hantuchova, and she toughed out a first round win on Thursday.

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Hantuchova, a former World No.5 currently down at No.73 after missing a big chunk of last year with a foot injury, showed she's finding her range again, as well as the fire inside of her, battling back from a 3-1 third set deficit to beat French qualifier Stéphanie Foretz Gacon in her first match, 63 36 64.

"Stéphanie was playing really well today," Hantuchova said. "The second set wasn't easy - the windy conditions were tough, and I was getting a little bit tight - but first rounds are always tough, and I just tried not to worry too much about it. The tennis will never be pretty in windy conditions like this.

"This tournament means a lot to me so I'm happy I won today and made it through."

Hantuchova is the only multiple champion in the draw this year, having won the title in 2002 and 2007 - and next up for her is the No.1 seed and 2012 champion, Azarenka. "I'm actually happy and looking forward to it," Hantuchova said about the match-up. "She's been doing so well the last two years and playing some really incredible tennis, so I'll have to be ready and play my best to beat her."

One thing weighing in Hantuchova's favor? The head-to-head - she actually leads Azarenka, 2-1.

Other winners during the day session included Alizé Cornet, Urszula Radwanska, Kiki Bertens, Sofia Arvidsson, Irina-Camelia Begu, Magdalena Rybarikova, Jamie Hampton, Alexandra Dulgheru, qualifiers Garbiñe Muguruza and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni and lucky loser Stefanie Voegele.

Bertens and Arvidsson had the most dramatic wins, Bertens coming from 63 31 down to beat Annika Beck, 36 64 61, and Arvidsson rallying from 62 41 down to beat Laura Robson, 26 76(1) 61.

The night match was an all-American affair with Madison Keys beating Melanie Oudin, 64 46 63.

"Honestly I didn't think it was a very good match from either of us, particularly the first set," Oudin said. "I just thought we both made so many errors. It got better as the match went on, but the first set was terrible, just the amount of mistakes we were both making. Our matches are usually good.

"It's hard playing a friend, another American - she knows what I'll do and I know what she'll do."

Oudin took control of the match in the second set, but wasn't able to keep it going in the third set.

"After I won the second set I thought I could definitely take the third set, but the game at 2-all was really unlucky on my end," she said. "But all credit to her and I wish her luck in the next round."

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