SECOND SEED HANTUCHOVA KNOCKED OUT IN SECOND ROUND OF PRUDENTIAL HONG KONG TENNIS OPEN 2014
(Hong Kong, 11 September 2014) – Second seed Daniela Hantuchova was bundled out in the second round of the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open by never-say-die Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck on Thursday night.
Hantuchova, 31, failed to come to terms with the stubborn nature of her opponent who returned everything and more to pull off a shock 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 victory.
The Slovakian seemed to be on the comeback trail recovering from 4-1 down in the third and fought back to 5-4, 40-0 in the ninth game. But Van Uytvanck refused to give up, winning three points in a row to level at deuce before going on to break her opponent’s serve.
A strong serve and lovely drop shots left Hantuchova in a spin to allow Van Uytvanck to book a quarterfinal berth against qualifier Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia.
Hantuchova had struggled to cope with the hot and humid conditions on Wednesday afternoon during her first-round victory over local ace Zhang Ling, but seemed more composed in the evening match on centre court before her game fell apart. She even received a warning for time wasting by the chair umpire trailing 1-4 in the third set.
In contrast, Czech third seed Karolina Pliskova had few problems against the up-and-coming Monica Puig of Puerto Rico in straight sets in a second-round clash.
Pliskova reached the quarterfinals with a composed 6-3, 6-4 victory in the second round with one of her few moments of anxiety coming late in the match when her 20-year-old opponent saved match point trailing 5-4, 40-30 in the second set.
But Pliskova, 22, and ranked 36 in the world – her highest career ranking – won the next two points in cool fashion on her racquet to set up a last-eight clash with China’s Zheng Jie.
“I’m happy with the way I’m playing but I still feel like I can improve,” said Pliskova who reached the third round at the US Open a fortnight ago. “I’m beating girls who are (ranked) around me but I have to take that next step to beat those who are in front of me.”
Pliskova has won just one WTA singles title in her career, last year’s Malaysian Open and is hopeful the US$250,000 WTA International tournament can be her second.
Zheng Jie brushed aside compatriot Zhang Kai-Lin 6-1, 6-4 to make it to the quarterfinals. “I’m happy whenever I win a match,” smiled the 31-year-old Zheng who is one of two players from China in the quarterfinals.
The other is Zheng Saisai who defeated sixth-seeded Belgian Yanina Wickmayer on Wednesday.
Also advancing to the quarterfinals was Slovakia’s Jana Cepelova who raced to a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Chinese qualifier Zhu Lin. Cepelova will now face former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone for a place in the semi-finals.