Daniela Hantuchova maintained her mastery against Yanina Wickmayer at the Bank Of The West Classic. She will be Martina Hingis' partner in her doubles comeback - what are her thoughts on that?
WTA Staff

STANFORD, CA, USA - Daniela Hantuchova maintained her mastery against Yanina Wickmayer, beating the Belgian for the sixth time in six meetings to reach the second round in Stanford.

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Having won all five of their previous meetings, four of them in straight sets, Hantuchova came out swinging again, storming out to a 62 31 lead. Wickmayer didn't give in, winning five of the next six games for the second set, but Hantuchova rolled in a 24-minute third set to close it out, 62 46 60.

"Overall I thought I played a very solid match today," Hantuchova said afterwards. "Especially in the third set, I felt like I kept calm and kept going for my shots. I knew it was going to be a difficult first round match, so I knew I had to be prepared for it and that I had to play really well to win against her."

Why does Hantuchova have so much success against such a high quality player - a former No.12?

"I just like to be challenged like that," Hantuchova said. "I know she's very strong, she moves well and hits the ball very hard, and serves extremely well sometimes. So that's where I can bring my fitness level into the match. I always enjoy playing her. I like the challenge from her side of the court."

Next week will be a big week for Hantuchova - former World No.1 Martina Hingis announced her comeback in doubles recently, beginning next week in Carlsbad, and her partner? Hantuchova.

"We talked a couple of months ago," Hantuchova said. "She still enjoys the game so much, and the competitiveness has always been in her, so I was like, 'Why don't we play? We always enjoyed it so much and had so much fun.' I respect her game incredibly and she was always my idol growing up. So I was like, 'Why don't we give it a try? We have nothing to lose. We can just have fun on the court.'

"She thought about it for a while, and here we are."

Will it be tough for Hingis, after almost six years in retirement, to get back in the swing of things?

"Once you are a champion inside, you're never going to lose that," Hantuchova commented. "She understands the game like no other. It'll obviously be really interesting to see. Playing a competitive match will be totally different, and I can't wait to play with her and see how it's going to be out there."

The only seeded player in action during the day session came out strong but had to hold off a late surge, as No.6 seed Varvara Lepchenko nearly let a 62 51 lead slip away but eventually closed out Portuguese qualifier Michelle Larcher de Brito, 62 64. The American won it on her sixth match point.

Other winners earlier on were Tamira Paszek and qualifiers Vera Dushevina and Coco Vandeweghe. It was a strong performance from Vandeweghe - not only did she win the first set at love, but she blasted nine aces and won the last 12 points of the match to outdo tricky Romanian Monica Niculescu, 60 63.

"I thought I came out there ready to play," Vandeweghe said about the match. "Sometimes it's tough for me to come out strong but I think winning that long first game really helped. I was really consistent to start and didn't let her breathe in the first set, so to carry that into the second set really helped today."

Vandeweghe had a secret weapon when she was preparing for Niculescu. "I watched her play Jamie Hampton with Jan-Mike, and Jan-Mike can actually do kind of that same slice forehand, so we were kind of messing around with that a little bit today. You've just got to prepare even more focused wise for a player as tricky as that. Certain shots she hits can surprise you and throw you off out there."