Daniela Hantuchová (Slovak pronunciation: danɪjɛla ˈɦantuxɔva born 23 April 1983) is a professional Slovakian tennis player. She turned professional in 1999 and had her breakthrough year in 2002, when she won her first WTA tournament, the Indian Wells Masters, defeating Martina Hingis in the final and becoming the lowest-ranked player to ever win the tournament. She also reached the quarterfinals of that year's Wimbledon Championship and US Open, ending the year in the top 10. She was also part of the Slovakian team that won the 2002 Fed Cup.

Hantuchová reached her highest ranking, fifth, in January 2003, after reaching the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. She has gone on to win a further five WTA tournaments, including the Indian Wells Masters for a second time in 2007 and most recently the 2013 Aegon Classic. She also reached the semifinals of the Australian Open in 2008, the furthest she has progressed in a Grand Slam. She is the most successful Slovakian tennis player of all time and became only the 37th woman in the Open Era to reach 500 career wins when she beat Laura Robson in the second round of the Aegon Classic in June 2013.

Hantuchová is also an accomplished doubles player. In 2005, she completed the career Grand Slam in mixed doubles, becoming only the fifth female tennis player to do so. She won the mixed doubles at Wimbledon in 2001 with Leoš Friedl, at the Australian Open in 2002 with Kevin Ullyett, at the French Open in 2005 with Fabrice Santoro and at the US Open in 2005 withMahesh Bhupathi. She has also reached the finals of the women's doubles at the Australian Open in 2002 with Arantxa Sánchez Vicario, at the French Open in 2006 with Ai Sugiyama and at the Australian Open in 2009 with Sugiyama.

Hantuchová is currently coached by Larri Passos[3] and as of 29 July 2013, is ranked world number 45 in singles. She was ranked 17 in 2012 but experienced a drop in her ranking due to injuries. Her WTA Tour mentor in the "Partners for Success" program was Martina Navrátilová, who was her doubles partner for a brief period in early 2005.

Personal life[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Hantuchová was born in PopradCzechoslovakia (now Slovakia) to father Igor, a computer scientist, and mother Marianna, a toxicologist.[1] Hantuchová was introduced to tennis by her grandmother Helena, a former Slovakian national champion.[4]

When her parents split up in 2003, Hantuchová's performances temporarily worsened.[5] At Wimbledon that year, she failed to convert several match points and was seen weeping on court.[6] She also suffered from a weight problem during this period.[7][8] She was suspected of being anorexic,[5][9] but denied this,[10] saying that her weight loss was due to over-training and that it had not affected her stamina.[11]

Hantuchová speaks fluent Slovak, Czech, English and German, as well as some Croatian and Italian.[12][13] She was trained as a classical pianist.[5] She is thought[by whom?] to be a perfectionist and puts a lot of pressure on herself during her training.[5] She qualified for university in Slovakia but deferred it to pursue tennis.[14]

Hantuchová appeared in the 2009 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition alongside Maria Kirilenko and Tatiana Golovin in a pictoral entitled Volley of the Dolls.[15] In July 2012, she appeared nude in the 2012 edition of ESPN: The Magazine's "The Body Issue". She appeared on one of six special edition covers.[16] She has never considered herself to be a "sex symbol",[11][17]saying that modelling is "just fun to do from time to time".[18]

Career[edit source | editbeta]Edit

1999[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Hantuchová turned professional in this year and took part in several ITF tournaments. She won a $25,000 tournament in Jackson in May, beating Milagros Sequera in the final 6–2, 6–1; she won a $25,000 doubles tournament inCivitanova Marche in July, where she teamed up with Eva Dyrberg to beat Rosa María Andrés Rodríguez and Conchita Martínez Granados in the final 7–6, 4–6, 6–3; and won a $25,000 tournament in Fano in September, beating Flora Perfetti in the final 6–4, 6–7, 6–2. She also entered her first WTA tournament in October, that year's Eurotel Slovak Open, losing in the singles to Sabine Appelmans in the first round. She also entered the doubles with Ľudmila Cervanová. They beat Květa Peschke and Barbara Rittner in the round of sixteen and lost to Nathalie Dechy and Henrieta Nagyová in the quarterfinal.

2000[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Hantuchová's first WTA tournament of 2000 was the Australian Open, where she was knocked out in the second qualifying round. Her next event was the U.S. Indoor Championships in Oklahoma City. She progressed through three qualifying rounds and beat Shinobu Asagoe in the first round before losing to Sarah Pitkowski-Malcor in the second round. Hantuchová's next three tournaments were the Miami Masters, where she received a wildcard and lost in the first round to Elena Dementieva 7–5, 3–6, 2–6; the MPS Group Championships, where she lost in the first qualifying round to Pavlina Nola; and the Belgian Open, where she lost in the first round to Kim Clijsters.

At the Internationaux de Strasbourg in May, Hantuchová reached her first ever WTA quarterfinal. She won three qualifying matches before beating Iroda Tulyaganova and Nadia Petrova in the first and second rounds, respectively. She lost the quarterfinal to Rita Kuti-Kis, 4–6, 4–6. She did not enter the qualifiers for that year's French Open. In her next four tournaments, the DFS ClassicWimbledon, the Austrian Open and the US Open, she did not advance beyond the qualifying rounds. Between the Austrian Open and the US Open, Hantuchová won her final ITF tournament. A $50,000 tournament held in The Bronx in August, she beat Yi Jing-Qian in the final 6–4, 6–4.

Hantuchová reached her second quarterfinal of the year at the BGL Luxembourg Open in September when she beat Virginie Razzano in the first round and Nathalie Tauziat in the second round. She lost in the quarterfinal to Barbara Rittner, 7–6(7–2), 1–6, 2–6. At the Eurotel Slovak Indoors in her native Slovakia, she lost in the first round of the singles to Anne Kremer. However, she and partner Karina Habšudová won the doubles tournament. They were due to facePetra Mandula and Patricia Wartusch in the final, but they withdrew and Hantuchová and Habšudová won in a walkover. It was Hantuchová's first ever WTA tournament win. Her final tournament of the year was the Advanta Championships of Philadelphia in November. In the first round, she beat Alexandra Stevenson, who retired injured after the end of the first set. In the second round, she lost to Nathalie Tauziat.

2001[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Hantuchová began 2001 at the Adidas International in Sydney, where she lost in the first qualifying round. She automatically qualified for the Australian Open but lost to Anna Kournikova in the first round. Hantuchová then reached her first ever WTA semifinal at the U.S. Indoor Championships. She beat Tara Snyder, third seed Amanda Coetzer and Anikó Kapros before losing to Jennifer Capriati in the semifinal, 4–6, 6–3, 2–6. Hantuchová then progressed through two qualifying rounds at the Indian Wells Masters but lost to Rita Kuti-Kis in the first round proper. She received a wildcard for the Miami Masters but lost in the first round.

Hantuchová played three Fed Cup matches for Slovakia in April and then in the German Open in May, where she lost in the second qualifying round to Francesca Schiavone. At the Rome Masters, Hantuchová lost in the singles to eventual finalist Amelie Mauresmo in the third round. She also competed in the doubles with Nagyová. They beat Kerry-Anne Guse and Alicia Molik in the first round, Martina Navratilova and Arantxa Sánchez Vicario in the second round,Mary Pierce and Ai Sugiyama in the quarterfinal and lost to Paola Suárez and Patricia Tarabini in the semifinal. Hantuchová's form saw her qualify automatically for the French Open, beating Alexandra Stevenson in the first round and losing to eighth seed Conchita Martínez in the second round. She again teamed up with Nagyová in the doubles, reaching the third round.

Hantuchová reached her second semifinal of the year at the DFS Classic in Birmingham in June. She beat Nathalie DechyEleni DaniilidouNicole Pratt and Virginie Razzano before falling to Miriam Oremans in the semifinal. At theEastbourne International a week later, Hantuchová entered the doubles with the previous year's champion Ai Sugiyama. They reached the semifinals, where they lost to second seeds Cara Black and Elena Likhovtseva. At Wimbledonthe week after, she beat Oremans in a rematch in the first round and lost to Venus Williams in the second round. She also entered the doubles, losing in the third round with Karina Habšudová; and the mixed doubles with Leoš Friedl. Unseeded, they beat Devin Bowen and María José Martínez Sánchez in the first round, first seeds Rennae Stubbs and Todd Woodbridge in the second round, thirteenth seeds Jiří Novák and Miriam Oremans in the third round, fifteenth seeds Donald Johnson and Karina Habšudová in the quarterfinal and Kimberly Po and David Rikl in the semifinal. In the final, they faced Mike Bryan and Liezel Huber, winning 4–6, 6–3, 6–2. It was then-eighteen-year-old Hantuchová's first ever Grand Slam final appearance and victory.

In July, Hantuchová was knocked out in the first round of the Austrian Open by Maja Palaversic-Cooper-Smith and played in the PreCon Open in Basel, losing to Marie-Gaianeh Mikaelian in the quarterfinal. She also took part in the doubles, partnering with Magüi Serna and reaching the semifinals. Hantuchová's next three tournaments were the Canada Masters, where she lost to Jennifer Capriati in the second round, 7–5, 5–7, 2–6; the New Haven Open, where she lost to Květa Peschke in the third qualifying round; and the US Open, where she lost to Nathalie Dechy in the first round, 7–5, 4–6, 2–6.

In September, Hantuchová played in the Sparkassen Cup. She progressed through three qualifying rounds, beat Henrieta Nagyová in the first round and Jelena Dokic in the second round before losing to Elena Dementieva in the quarterfinal. In October, Hantuchová won three qualifying matches at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix but lost to Patty Schnyder in the first round, 3–6, 6–1, 5–7. At the Zurich Open, Hantuchová won three qualifying matches, beatMeghann Shaughnessy and Barbara Schett and lost to eventual winner Lindsay Davenport in the quarterfinal, 6–3, 1–6, 1–6. Her final event was the BGL Luxembourg Open, where she lost to Anna Kournikova in the second round. She also played in the doubles with Elena Bovina, reaching her second final of the year. They were unsuccessful, however, losing to Bianka Lamade and Patty Schnyder 6–3, 6–3.

2002[edit source | editbeta]Edit

[1][2]Daniela Hantuchová

Hantuchová started the year as the world no. 38 at the Gold Coast Hardcourts, where she lost to Justine Henin in the second round, 6–1, 0–6, 3–6. At the Adidas International, Hantuchová was knocked out in the second round by Meghann Shaughnessy and went on to play at the 2002 Australian Open. In the singles, she was seeded thirty-second and lost in the third round to second seed Venus Williams, 6–3, 0–6, 4–6. In the doubles, she and partner Arantxa Sánchez Vicario were seeded thirteenth and reached the final, where they lost to Martina Hingis and Anna Kournikova. In the mixed doubles, she and partner Kevin Ullyett also reached the final, where they beat Gastón Etlis and Paola Suárez, securing Hantuchová her second Grand Slam title in as many years.

At the Open Gaz de France and the Proximus Diamond Games in February, Hantuchová lost in the second round, to Francesca Schiavone and Daja Bedanova, respectively. In March, she went into the prestigious Indian Wells Masters ranked world no. 25, defeating Tatiana PoutchekBarbara SchettJustine HeninLisa Raymond and Emmanuelle Gagliardi en route to the final, where she beat world no. 4 Martina Hingis, 6–3, 6–4. It was her first WTA tournament win and she was the lowest-ranked player to ever win the event.[19] She also reached the semifinals of thedoubles, where she and Arantxa Sánchez Vicario lost to eventual champions Lisa Raymond and Rennae Stubbs. The following month at the Miami Masters, the Bausch & Lomb Championships and the Family Circle Cup, Hantuchová lost in the second round, to Cara BlackJanette Husarova and Mary Pierce, respectively. She had more success in the doubles. Continuing her partnership with Vicario, they won at the Bausch & Lomb Championships and reached the semifinals of the Family Circle Cup.

Hantuchová then reached successive singles quarterfinals in Hamburg and Berlin, losing to Martina Hingis and Anna Smashnova, respectively. She and Vicario reached the doubles final of both, losing in Hamburg to Martina Hingis and Barbara Schett and in Berlin to Elena Dementieva and Janette Husárová. At the Italian Open, Hantuchová lost in the first round to Anastasia Myskina. She then entered the French Open as the eleventh seed, losing to former champion Monica Seles in the fourth round. In the mixed doubles, she and Kevin Ullyett reached the quarterfinals. In June she played at the Eastbourne International, reaching the semifinals in the singles and the doubles. At Wimbledon, she again reached the singles quarterfinals, beating only to be beaten by the eventual champion, Serena Williams. In the doubles, she partnered with former world no. 1 Jennifer Capriati but they lost in the second round. In the mixed doubles, she and Ullyett reached their second Grand Slam final of the year. This time, they were unsuccessful, losing to Mahesh Bhupathi and Elena Likhovtseva, 2–6, 6–1, 1–6.

Her US Open Series season was modest, as she lost in the second rounds of San Diego and Los Angeles, after having first-round byes in both tournaments. She reached the semifinals of the Tier I event in Montreal, losing to Amélie Mauresmo, and New Haven, losing to world no. 2 Venus Williams. At the final Grand Slam of the year, Hantuchová defeated 1997 French Open champion Iva Majoli in round three, and world no. 6 Justine Henin, 6–1, 3–6, 7–6(4), in round four, only to be beaten in her second consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal by Serena Williams (who again went on to win the title).

Later that year, Hantuchová also reached the quarterfinal in Leipzig and the final in Filderstadt, losing to Kim Clijsters, 4–6, 6–3, 4–6. The second set was the only set Hantuchová had taken from Clijsters in their nine meetings. She then went on to reach the quarterfinals of Zurich, losing to eventual champion Patty Schnyder in three tight sets, and the semifinals in Linz, and winning both of her singles rubbers in the Fed Cup final. This impressive season amassed her enough points to compete at the prestigious annual Tour Championships, losing in the first round to 17th ranked Magdalena Maleeva, 2–6, 5–7. Hantuchová's record for the year was 56–25 and 6–10 against top-10 players; 6–2 in singles Fed Cup play; 10–6 on indoor carpet, 6–2 on grass, 11–7 on clay, and 29–10 on hard courts.

2003[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Hantuchová started 2003 solidly, reaching the quarterfinals at her first three events in Sydney, losing to Lindsay Davenport, 4–6, 6–3, 6–7(3), Venus Williams, 4–6, 3–6, at the Australian Open (her third Grand Slam quarterfinal in a row), and Elena Dementieva in Paris, 5–7, 3–6. Hantuchová reached her first semifinal of the year at her fourth event in Antwerp, losing to Williams again, 1–6, 4–6. By then, Hantuchová's ranking was at a career-high no. 5. Defending a title for the first time in her career, Hantuchová advanced to the fourth round in Indian Wells, losing to Amanda Coetzer, 4–6, 4–6. Despite a first round-loss to Alicia Molik in Miami, Hantuchová rebounded in the Tier I Charleston event, making her fifth quarterfinal in seven events, losing to Ashley Harkleroad, 2–6, 1–6. She made her sixth quarterfinal at her next event in Amelia Island, losing to eventual champion Dementieva, 0–6, 1–6. Hantuchová went undefeated in first-round Fed Cup play against Germany, winning both of her matches. Following the Fed Cup, she again made it to the quarterfinals for the seventh time of the year at the Tier I Berlin tournament, losing to Kim Clijsters, 0–6, 3–6.

[3][4]Hantuchová at Wimbledon in 2004

At the French Open, Hantuchová lost in the second round in a marathon match to Harkleroad again, 6–7(2), 6–4, 7–9, making 101 unforced errors, leading to long-time coach Nigel Searscriticising her attitude publicly.[20] Following the match, her extremely thin physique was noticed for the first time publicly, and some wondered about Hantuchová's health. Kicking off the grass season in Eastbourne, Hantuchová lost in the quarterfinals to Conchita Martínez, but more famously she lost in the second round of Wimbledon to Shinobu Asagoe, 6–0, 4–6, 10–12, with Hantuchová breaking down crying during the latter stages of the match and making 57 unforced errors. Some theorized that the media's continued interest regarding her weight and the pressure of success at 19 years of age, in addition to her on-court breakdown and her parents' divorce, as well as her coach's walked out during the middle of the match, led to this breakdown. Following Wimbledon, Hantuchová went 6–8 for the rest of the year, 0–4 against top-10 players She ended the year with an overall record of 28–23, and she fell to no. 17 in the world. Further signs of the pressure and problems she was facing during this period was that, in July, she made herself unavailable for Slovakia in the Fed Cup, in order to concentrate on her singles career, and in November she parted company with Sears.[21]

2004[edit source | editbeta]Edit

2004 proved to be a continuation of Hantuchová's poor second half of 2003, with many of the same struggles (she briefly hired Harold Soloman, who had previously coached her friendJennifer Capriati as well as Anna Kournikova, before re-hiring Sears in March),[22] She reached just three quarterfinals, the first at the first Tier I event in Tokyo was not until halfway through the season. At Tokyo, however, she garnered her thus far only victory over Maria Sharapova in the second round, falling to Davenport, 2–6, 2–6, in the quarterfinals. The tournament that saved her from a poor 2004 was Eastbourne, in which she defeated Ai Sugiyama in the quarterfinals, 6–1 7–6(7), and Amélie Mauresmo in the semifinals, 4–6, 6–4, 6–4, before losing to Svetlana Kuznetsova in the third final of her career, 6–2, 6–7(2), 4–6. However, Hantuchová was serving for the championship, up 6–2, 6–5, but was broken.

[5][6]Hantuchová practicing during the Australian Open in 2005

Hantuchová was ranked no. 54 as she entered Eastbourne, but found herself ranked no. 38 as she went into Wimbledon, losing to eventual champion Sharapova in the third round, 3–6, 1–6. Hantuchová would make one more quarterfinal at New Haven, losing to Lisa Raymond, 4–6, 3–6. At the US Open one week later, Hantuchová lost in three sets to Patty Schnyder in the third round. She finished the year ranked no. 31, with a 24–24 win-loss record. She finished 1–4 against top-10 players overall, the sole victory over Mauresmo.

2005[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Hantuchová reached the third round of the Australian Open, losing to Dementieva in a tight three-setter, 5–7, 7–5, 4–6. Following that, she made her first quarterfinal of the year in Tokyo for the second straight year, losing to Kuznetsova, 6–7(4), 6–7(4). At her next event, she reached the semifinals in Doha, losing to Sharapova, 2–6, 4–6. Then, she made another quarterfinal at her next tournament in Dubai, losing to Serena Williams, 4–6, 3–6. At Dubai also, in the first round, she garnered her tenth top-10 victory over no. 8 Alicia Molik, 7–6(8) 6–2. Hantuchová made the third round at the French Open and Wimbledon, losing to Clijsters, 4–6, 2–6, in Paris, and eventual champion Venus Williams, 5–7, 3–6, in England.

Hantuchová had a successful US Open series run, where she reached the semifinals in Cincinnati, getting upset by no. 74 Akiko Morigami, 4–6, 4–6. In Stanford, Hantuchová lost to Clijsters in the quarterfinals, 3–6, 1–6. After a second-round loss in San Diego to Sugiyama, Hantuchová reached her fourth final in Los Angeles, getting a walkover in the quarterfinals over Sharapova, and got revenge against Dementieva in the semifinals, defeating her 6–3, 6–4. In the final, for the seventh time in their head-to-head, Clijsters defeated Hantuchová, 4–6, 1–6. For the third time at the event, Hantuchová made the quarterfinals in New Haven, losing to Davenport, 2–6, 6–7(5).

[7][8]Hantuchová at the Zurich Open in 2006

Hantuchová lost to eventual quarterfinalist Venus Williams in the third round at the US Open. She won the mixed doubles, completing a career grand slam in mixed doubles. She has largely retired from the mixed doubles since then, saying that she "felt like it's time to move on and focus on my singles."[12] In Luxembourg, Hantuchová made her eighth quarterfinal of the season, losing to Nathalie Dechy, 1–6, 4–6. In Filderstadt the following week, Hantuchová made the semifinals, her third of the year, defeating no. 10 Patty Schnyder in the second round and Flavia Pennetta in the quarterfinals. She lost to Davenport in the semifinals. At the final Tier I event of the year, Hantuchová pushed Davenport to three sets and had match points in the second set in Zurich before losing, 6–3, 5–7, 2–6. In her final event of the year, in Linz, Hantuchová made her tenth quarterfinal, losing to Schnyder, 2–6, 1–6. Hantuchová finished 2005 with a 3–10 record against the top 10, 37–25 overall record, with 2–1 on indoor carpet, 3–4 on clay, 2–3 on grass, and 30–17 on hard courts, reaching 10 quarterfinals, 3 semifinals, and 1 final.

2006[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Hantuchová reached the quarterfinals of Sydney in 2006 with a win over top-10 player Patty Schnyder and got to the semifinals of Auckland. She continued this form at the Australian Open with her third-round 6–1, 7–6(5) victory over defending champion and seven-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams, who had entered the tournament with a lack of match practice and questions over her fitness. This victory (the only over Serena in her career) ensured that Hantuchová would progress to the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in three years. She lost to fourth-seeded Maria Sharapova in straight sets in the fourth round.

[9][10]Hantuchová with doubles partner Ai Sugiyama at the French Open in 2006

Thereafter, she was unable to find a consistent level of form. Prior to the clay-court season, she parted company for a second time (and permanently) with Sears.[23] He was replaced by Angel Giminez. She then played her first Fed Cup matches for Slovakia in almost three years. It was a successful return, with Hantuchová winning both her singles and her doubles matches against Luxembourg, her singles match against The Netherlands, and the decisive singles rubber in the tie against Great Britain. With the help of Hantuchová's 4–0 record, Slovakia booked a place in the World Group II play-off against Thailand.

Despite disappointing results in the warm-up tournaments, she reached the fourth round of both the French Open and Wimbledon, before extending her 2006 Fed Cup record to 6–0 by winning both her singles matches in Slovakia's 5–0 rout of Thailand, which ensured their promotion to the World Group II. Her fourth-round streak at Grand Slams ended when she was beaten by a resurgent Serena Williams in the second round of the US Open, which was the culmination of a very disappointing American hard-court season (her record was 7–6 including the US Open, failing to get past the round of 16 of any of the tournaments she entered).

Hantuchová beat Tatiana Golovin in straight sets, before losing to Dinara Safina. The following week, she reached the quarterfinals of Stuttgart with an easy victory over the then top-10 player Safina in the second round. This was both her first victory over a top-10 player and first appearance in a quarterfinal since January. In October 2006, Hantuchová reached the final of the Zurich Open. In the first round, she upset sixth seed Patty Schnyder. In the second round, she defeated her doubles parter Ai Sugiyama. Hantuchová was then scheduled to play world no. 1 Amélie Mauresmo in the quarterfinals. However, Mauresmo withdrew due to a right shoulder injury. In the semifinals, Hantuchová upset world no. 4 Svetlana Kuznetsova, 6–4, 6–2, to reach the final of the Tier I event. In the final, Hantuchová lost in a tight three-setter to second seed Maria Sharapova, 1–6, 6–4, 3–6. The results in this tournament were the culmination of Hantuchová's up-turn of form, which kept her in the top 20, as she had arrived in Zurich outside the top group for the first time in over 11 months. The injury she suffered to her right rib[24] after Mary Pierce hit a shot at her in doubles, caused her the most serious injury of her career and also forced her to retire in her match against Vesnina the following week in Linz. Hantuchová finished the year ranked no. 17 in the world, with a 34–25 record. She went 24–17 on hard courts, 5–4 on clay, 3–2 on grass, and 2–2 on carpet. She was 4–6 against top-10 players, beating Schnyder twice, Safina, and Kuznetsova, with losses to Sharapova (twice), Clijsters, Henin-Hardenne, Dementieva, and Nadia Petrova.

2007[edit source | editbeta]Edit

[11][12]Hantuchová at the 2007 Fortis Championships in Luxembourg

Hantuchová's first tournament of the year was at the Tier IV ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand, where she lost in the second round to Virginie Razzano. Hantuchová then lost to Nicole Vaidišová in the first round of the Tier II New South Wales Open/Medibank International in Sydney and reached her second consecutive Australian Open fourth round, where she lost to world no. 5 Kim Clijsters, 1–6, 5–7.

Hantuchová was then upset in the first round of the Tier I Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo by Roberta Vinci. Three weeks later at the Tier II Dubai Tennis Championships, Hantuchová defeatedMaria Kirilenko in the second round, 2–6, 6–4, 7–6(4), before losing her quarterfinal match against Amélie Mauresmo in three sets. The following week at the Tier II Qatar Total Open in Doha, Hantuchová trailed world no. 6 Martina Hingis in their quarterfinal match 4–1 in the second set, before coming back to win, 1–6, 6–4, 6–4. She then lost her semifinal match against world no. 5Svetlana Kuznetsova. In her seventh tournament of the year, Hantuchová won six matches, the last four of which were upsets of higher seeded players, to win the Tier I Pacific Life Open inIndian Wells, California. She upset Hingis in the fourth round, Shahar Pe'er in the quarterfinals, 6–2, 5–7, 7–6(5), Li Na in the semifinals, and Kuznetsova in the final in straight sets.[5]

Hantuchová, however, struggled in her next four events. She was upset in the third round of the Tier I Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida by Vera Zvonareva. On clay at the Bausch & Lomb Championships in Amelia Island, Florida, Hantuchová lost to Sybille Bammer in the quarterfinals. Two weeks later, Hantuchová lost both of her Fed Cup matches against the Czech Republic in Bratislava on clay, losing to Vaidišová and Lucie Šafářová. Losing her fourth consecutive match, Hantuchová was upset in the first round of the Tier I Qatar Telecom German Open in Berlin by Zuzana Ondrášková. Hantuchová then reached her first career clay-court semifinal at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome. She upset seventh-seeded Anna Chakvetadze in the third round, before losing to second-seeded Kuznetsova in the semifinals. At the French Open, Hantuchová was upset in the third round by Anabel Medina Garrigues, 6–4, 6–7(2), 5–7.

After defeating Eleni Daniilidou in the third round of the Tier III grass-court DFS Classic in Birmingham, England, Hantuchová returned to the top 10 for the first time since August 2003. She then lost to Marion Bartoli in the quarterfinals, 7–5, 4–6, 5–7. The following week at the Tier III Ordina Open in 's-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands, Hantuchová defeated world no. 6 Ana Ivanovic in the quarterfinals, before losing to Chakvetadze in the semifinals. This result caused Hantuchová to drop out of the top 10. Hantuchová was the tenth-seeded player at Wimbledon and did not lose a set in her first two matches. She then defeated Slovenian Katarina Srebotnik in the third round, 2–6, 6–3, 6–4, before losing to world no. 8 Serena Williams in the fourth round, 2–6, 7–6(2), 2–6. Immediately after Wimbledon, Hantuchová helped Slovakia win its Fed Cup World Group II play-off against Serbia. On an indoor hard court in Košice, she beat Ana Timotić and Vojislava Lukić.

[13][14]Hantuchová at the 2007 Bank of the West Classic

Hantuchová played five tournaments during the North American summer hard-court season. She began the US Open Series by losing to Chakvetadze in the semifinals of the Tier II Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California. This result put her back in the top 10. At the Tier I Acura Classic in San Diego, she lost to world no. 16 Venus Williams in the second round. The following week at the Tier II JPMorgan Chase Open in Los Angeles, Hantuchová retired from her third-round match with Elena Dementieva while trailing, 3–6, 1–4. Hantuchová once again fell out of the top 10, after losing in the second round of the Tier II Pilot Pen Tennis tournament in New Haven, Connecticut to eventual runner-up Ágnes Szávay. At the US Open, Hantuchová was the ninth-seeded player but lost to Ukraine's Julia Vakulenko in the first round, 4–6, 6–3, 1–6. It was Hantuchová's earliest loss at this tournament since her debut in 2001 and her earliest loss at a Grand Slam tournament since the 2004 French Open.

Hantuchová then played four consecutive tournaments. She reached her second final of the year at the Tier III Commonwealth Bank Tennis Classic in Bali, losing to Lindsay Davenport in three sets. At the Tier III Sunfeast Open in Kolkata, India, Hantuchová lost in the semifinals to Maria Kirilenko, but re-entered the top 10. Traveling back to Europe, Hantuchová played in the Tier IIFortis Championships Luxembourg. She defeated Patty Schnyder in the quarterfinals and Bartoli in the semifinals to advance to her third final of the year for the first time in her career. Hantuchová then lost to world no. 6 Ivanovic in the final, 6–3, 4–6, 4–6, after leading the match, 6–3, 3–0. At the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Hantuchová defeated Šafářová in the first round, but lost in the second round to Dementieva. This loss, however, did not prevent Hantuchová from rising to world no. 9, her highest ranking in over four years.

At the Tier I Zurich Open, Hantuchová defeated Dinara Safina in the first round, 7–6(2), 7–6(4), before losing to Agnieszka Radwańska. One week later, Hantuchová won her third career title at the Tier II Generali Ladies Linz. In the semifinals, she defeated Vaidišová for the first time in her career, 2–6, 6–2, 7–6(3). Hantuchová then defeated Schnyder in the straight-sets final. This title enabled Hantuchová to qualify for the year-end Sony Ericsson Championships in Madrid. But Hantuchová did not advance past the round-robin stage. She lost to Maria Sharapova and Ivanovic, before beating Kuznetsova to finish third in her group. Hantuchová's win-loss record for 2007 was 52–28. She was 6–11 versus top-10 players, with two victories against Hingis, two against Kuznetsova, one against Ivanovic, and one against Chakvetadze. The losses were to Clijsters, Mauresmo, Chakvetadze (twice), Kuznetsova (twice), Vaidišová, Serena Williams, Ivanovic (twice), and Sharapova. Hantuchová finished the year at world no. 9, her first top-10 finish since 2002.

2008[edit source | editbeta]Edit

[15][16]Hantuchová at the Australian Open in 2008

She started the year at the Medibank International in Sydney. She defeated Russian Dinara Safina in the first round, before losing to world no. 12 Czech Nicole Vaidišová in the second round. At the Australian Open, Hantuchová reached her first Grand Slam semifinal.[25] She won her first three matches without losing a set. In the quarterfinals, she beat Polish teenager Agnieszka Radwańska, who had defeated second-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova and Nadia Petrova in earlier rounds. Hantuchová then lost to Ana Ivanovic in the semifinals, 6–0, 3–6, 4–6, despite Hantuchová's leading the second set 2–0. After the match, Hantuchová claimed that Ivanovic had been distracting her by squeaking her shoes on the court before serving, a claim Ivanovic disputed.[26] Hantuchová's performance at this tournament caused her ranking to improve one spot to world no. 8.

Hantuchová then played two indoor tournaments in Europe. At the Open Gaz de France in Paris, she lost to seventh-seeded Ágnes Szávay of Hungary in the quarterfinals. She was the third-seeded player at the Proximus Diamond Games in Antwerp, where she again reached the quarterfinals. A blister on her right hand caused Hantuchová to retire during the quarterfinal againstTimea Bacsinszky.

[17][18]Hantuchová in July 2008

Hantuchová was then scheduled to play at the Qatar Total Open, the first Tier I event of the year, and the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, a Tier II event, but withdrew from both because of fatigue. Hantuchová played both of the two-week Tier I events in the United States. At the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California, Hantuchová was the defending champion and fifth seed. She lost to fourth-seeded Maria Sharapova in the quarterfinals. In doubles, Hantuchová and Ai Sugiyama lost in the semifinals to Safina and Elena Vesnina, the eventual champions. At the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, Hantuchová failed to reach the fourth round for the ninth consecutive year. She lost to former doubles partner Sugiyama in the third round, 4–6, 7–6(8), 5–7, despite leading 3–0 in the third set. In doubles, Hantuchová partnered with Lindsay Davenportto reach the quarterfinals, where they lost to Sugiyama and Katarina Srebotnik, who went on to win the event.

The following week at the Tier II Bausch & Lomb Championships on clay in Amelia Island, Florida, Hantuchová was the third seed, but lost in the second round to Karolina Šprem. Hantuchová spent the month of May and most of June recovering from a stress fracture in her right foot, which resulted in her withdrawal from the Tier I Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome,[27] the Tier IIIİstanbul Cup,[28] the French Open,[29][30] and the Tier III Ordina Open in 's-Hertogenbosch. She recovered in time for Wimbledon, but lost in the second round to unseeded Alisa Kleybanova, 3–6, 6–4, 1–6.

Hantuchová played four hard-court tournaments between Wimbledon and the US Open. She lost in the second round of the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California and in the second round of the following week's tournament, the East West Bank Classic in Los Angeles. Hantuchová was seeded tenth at the Summer Olympics in Beijing. She defeated Sugiyama in the first round, before losing in the second round to Caroline Wozniacki. The following week at the Pilot Pen Tennis tournament in New Haven, Connecticut, Hantuchová lost in the quarterfinals to Alizé Cornet. Hantuchová was seeded eleventh at the US Open, where she was upset in the first round by qualifier Anna-Lena Grönefeld.

[19][20]Hantuchová at the 2008 Fortis Championships

To end the year, Hantuchová played seven tournaments in Asia and Europe. She lost in the semifinals of the Commonwealth Bank Tennis Classic in Bali and in the first round of the Tier I Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo to Francesca Schiavone. In Beijing at the China Open, she lost to world no. 2 Jelena Janković in the quarterfinals. After losing in the first round of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, the second round of the Tier I Kremlin Cup in Moscow, and the second round of the Zürich Open, Hantuchová was seeded third at the Fortis Championships Luxembourg. However, she lost to world no. 39 Sorana Cîrstea in the quarterfinals. Because she won only 11 of 26 singles matches after the Indian Wells tournament, Hantuchová finished the year ranked world no. 21, her lowest year-end ranking and first finish out of the top 20 since 2004. She was 0–5 during the year versus players ranked in the top 10 at the time the matches were played, with losses to Ivanovic, Sharapova, Janković, and Vera Zvonareva (twice).

2009[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Hantuchová began the 2009 tour by participating in the Brisbane International as the tournament's fourth-seeded player. She was upset in the first round by Sara Errani, 7–6(1), 4–6, 2–6. Hantuchová then played the Medibank International in Sydney, where she lost in the second round to sixth-seeded Agnieszka Radwańska.

[21][22]Hantuchová at the 2009 Brisbane International

At the Australian Open, Hantuchová was seeded 19th and defeated home favourite Casey Dellacqua in their first-round match, 7–6(11), 6–4. She then beatMathilde Johansson of France in the second round, before losing to 15th-seeded Alizé Cornet in the third round, 6–4, 4–6, 2–6. In the doubles competition, Hantuchová and her partner Ai Sugiyama made it to the final, where they lost to Serena Williams and Venus Williams.

At the Open GDF Suez in Paris, Hantuchová beat Ekaterina Makarova in the first round, before losing to Cornet in the second round. This was the third consecutive time she has lost to Cornet. Hantuchová then played in the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, where she lost to eventual runner-up Virginie Razzano in the third round. Because of her results at this tournament, Hantuchová's ranking improved five places to world no. 36. At the BNP Paribas Openin Indian Wells, California, Hantuchová was the only two-time singles champion in the draw. Seeded 30th, Hantuchová fell to Sybille Bammer in the fourth round, 3–6, 2–6. Unseeded for the first time since 2001 at the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, Hantuchová lost to 22nd-seeded Anna Chakvetadze in the second round, 3–6, 1–6.

Starting off the spring clay-court season as a wildcard at the MPS Group Championships in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, Hantuchová defeated eighth-seeded Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the second round, 6–3, 7–5. She then lost to eventual champion and second seed Caroline Wozniacki in the quarterfinals, 2–6, 2–6. Playing in the Fed Cup World Group play-offs, Hantuchová defeated Alizé Cornet, 6–7(2), 6–3, 6–4, in the first-round rubber, but lost to Amélie Mauresmo, 5–7, 4–6, in her next match.

[23][24]Hantuchová at the French Open in 2009

Hantuchová played four tournaments before Roland Garros on European clay. She lost in the early rounds of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, the Rome Masters and the Madrid Masters to Dinara SafinaSvetlana Kuznetsova, and Jelena Janković, respectively. In doubles at Rome, Hantuchová and Ai Sugiyama defeated first seeds Cara Black and Liezel Huber in the quarterfinals. However, the pair lost to Hsieh Su-wei and Peng Shuai, 5–7, 6–7(5), in the final. Her fourth event was the Warsaw Open, where she reached her second career clay-court semifinal, but lost to Romanian qualifier and eventual champion Alexandra Dulgheru, 4–6, 7–6(2), 1–6. Hantuchová was unseeded at the French Open and lost to Frenchwoman Virginie Razzano in the first round, 3–6, 3–6.

On grass, Hantuchová was seeded sixth at the Ordina Open in 's-Hertogenbosch. She fell to top seed Safina, 6–1, 4–6, 3–6, in the quarterfinals. Competing at her ninth Wimbledon, Hantuchová was unseeded in singles for the first time since 2004. She came from behind to defeat local teenager Laura Robson, 3–6, 6–4, 6–2, in the first round. She then upset 16th seed and the previous year's semifinalist Zheng Jie, 6–3, 7–5, and doubles partner Sugiyama, 6–4, 6–3. However, Hantuchová fell to second seed and eventual champion Serena Williams in the fourth round, 3–6, 1–6.

Hantuchová played her first-round match at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California, winning in three sets against defending champion Aleksandra Wozniak, 6–4, 4–6, 7–5. She then defeated seventh seed Agnieszka Radwańska in the second round, 4–6, 7–6(6), 6–1, but fell to third seed Elena Dementieva in the quarterfinals, 2–6, 4–6. In the LA Women's Tennis Championships, she lost to Dinara Safina, 2–6, 4–6. In the Western & Southern Financial Women's Open, she lost to Flavia Pennetta, 3–6, 3–6, after upsetting seventh seed Vera Zvonareva, 7–6(6), 0–6, 7–6(5). In the Rogers Cup in Toronto, she fell to qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova in the first round, 6–7(1), 6–7(4).

Hantuchová was seeded 22nd at the US Open. She defeated Meghann ShaughnessyTimea Bacsinszky, and Vania King, but fell in the fourth round to second seed and defending championSerena Williams, 2–6, 0–6.

At the Hansol Korea Open in Seoul, South Korea, Hantuchová was the top seed, but was upset by eventual chmapion Kimiko Date-Krumm in the quarterfinals, 6–7(3), 6–4, 4–6. She then competed in the Toray Pan Pacific Open and the China Open, where she reached the second round in both, before losing in three sets to 11th seed Agnieszka Radwańska and 13th seed Nadia Petrova, respectively.

Hantuchová finished the season in Europe at the BGL Luxembourg Open, where she was upset by unseeded Shahar Pe'er in the quarterfinals, 2–6, 6–7(4).

Hantuchová finished outside the top 20 for the second consecutive year at no. 24, with a win-loss record of 39–25. She went 25–16 on hard courts, 9–7 on clay, and 5–2 on grass. She was 1–9 versus top-10 players, with losses to Radwańska, Kuznetsova, Janković, Dementieva, Serena Williams (twice), and Safina (three times), with the sole victory over Zvonareva.

2010[edit source | editbeta]Edit

[25][26]Hantuchová at the Family Circle Cup in 2010

Hantuchová started the 2010 tour by competing at the Brisbane International. Seeded fourth, Hantuchová was upset by unseeded Andrea Petkovic in the quarterfinals, 4–6, 2–6. At the Medibank International in Sydney, Hantuchová fell to fifth seed and eventual champion Elena Dementieva in the second round, 2–6, 6–4, 2–6. Seeded 22nd at the Australian Open, Hantuchová fell to 16th seed and eventual semifinalist Li Na in the third round, 5–7, 6–3, 2–6.

Hantuchová defeated Zhang Shuai, 6–0, 6–1, in the Fed Cup tie against China in Bratislava prior to the Dubai Tennis Championships. In Dubai, Hantuchová upset fifth seed Dementieva through retirement, after winning the first set 6–4. However, she fell to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the third round, 3–6, 4–6.

Hantuchová was seeded second at the Monterrey Open in Monterrey, Mexico. She became one of the favorites after top seed Jelena Janković fell in the first round. Hantuchová fought from a set down to beat unseeded Vania King, 2–6, 6–2, 6–1, in the quarterfinals, and fourth seed Dominika Cibulková, 4–6, 6–3, 6–0, in the semifinals. However she fell to third seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the finals, 6–1, 1–6, 0–6. It was Hantuchová's first final since Linz in 2007. Hantuchová was upset at the BNP Paribas Open by Roberta Vinci in the second, after injuring her back during training earlier that day. At the Sony Ericsson Open, she gained a career-best in Miami, reaching the fourth round after recording straight-set victories over Patty Schnyder and 16th seed Nadia Petrova, but lost a very tight three-set match to third seed and eventual finalist Venus Williams, 6–1, 5–7, 4–6, in nearly three hours.

Hantuchová began the clay season by competing at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina. She upset second seed and world no. 7 Jelena Janković in the quarterfinals, 1–6, 6–3, 6–3. However, she fell to fourth seed and eventual champion Samantha Stosur in her third career clay-court semifinal, 3–6, 6–7(2). Following Charleston, Hantuchová helped Slovakia earn a place in the World Group I for the 2011 Fed Cup by scoring two singles victories and a doubles victory in the World Group play-offs against Serbia. She again defeated world no. 7 Janković in one of her singles matches for a second week in a row. Despite first-round loses in the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, Italy and in the Mutua Madrileña Madrid Open, Hantuchová rebounded at the French Open. Seeded 23rd, she upset 16th seed Yanina Wickmayer in the third round, but fell to fourth seed Jelena Janković in the fourth round.

Hantuchová played two tournaments on grass. She was defeated by Samantha Stosur at the Aegon International in Eastbourne and was then upset by Barbora Záhlavová-Strýcová at Wimbledon.

[27][28]Hantuchová practicing at the Bank of the West Classic in 2010

To start off the US Open Series, Hantuchová lost in the opening-round to sixth seed Shahar Pe'er, 6–0, 4–6, 3–6, at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California. At the Mercury Insurance Open in San Diego, she upset sixth seed Marion Bartoli, 3–6, 7–6(3), 6–4, in the first round, saving three match points. She then beat Zheng Jie and Alisa Kleybanova to advance to the semifinals, where she fell toAgnieszka Radwańska in straight sets. Hantuchová then fell in the first rounds of the Cincinnati Masters, and the Rogers Cup to eventual semifinalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkovaand 15th seed Flavia Pennetta, respectively. At the 2010 Pilot Pen Tennis, she fell to Dinara Safina, 6–7(4), 6–7(2).

As the 24th seed, Hantuchová defeated Dinara Safina and Vania King at the 2010 US Open, before falling to 12th seed Elena Dementieva in the third round.

Hantuchová fell in the early rounds in both the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, Japan and the China Open. At the Generali Ladies Linz, Hantuchová was upset by Patty Schnyder, 4–6, 4–6, in the quarterfinals. At the BGL Luxembourg Open, she lost again in the early rounds to Angelique Kerber in three sets. Hantuchová received a wildcard to theCommonwealth Bank Tournament of Champions in Bali, Indonesia. She upset Yanina Wickmayer in straight sets, but fell to Alisa Kleybanova in the semifinals. She also lost the third-place match to Kimiko Date-Krumm, 5–7, 5–7.

Hantuchová finished outside the top 20 for the third consecutive year at no. 30, with a win-loss record of 35–25. She was 3–5 versus top-10 players, with losses to Dementieva,Venus Williams, Janković, Stosur, and Radwańska, and with victories over Dementieva and Janković (twice).

2011[edit source | editbeta]Edit

[29][30]Hantuchová at the Southern California Open in 2011

Hantuchová withdrew from her first tournament of the year at the Brisbane International due to a left Achilles strain.[31] She competed next at the Medibank International Sydney, but suffered a loss to María José Martínez Sánchez in the first round, 2–6, 4–6. At the Australian Open, she was the 28th seed, but lost in the first round toRegina Kulikova in three sets, 5–7, 6–3, 7–9. This is the first time Hantuchová had lost in the first round of the Australian Open, except her first appearance.

She then played at the PTT Pattaya Open, where she defeated Kurumi NaraKimiko Date-Krumm, and Akgul Amanmuradova, all in straight sets to reach the semifinals. There she upset top seed, world no. 3 and defending champion Vera Zvonareva, 7–6(3), 6–4. Hantuchová then won her first title in more than three years by defeating Sara Errani, 6–0, 6–2, in the final. Despite this, she fell toAnna Chakvetadze in the first round of the Dubai Tennis Championships the following week. However, she rebounded at the Qatar Ladies Open by upsetting sixth seed Victoria Azarenka in the first round, 4–6, 6–1, 6–2, but fell in the quarterfinals to second seed and eventual champion Vera Zvonareva, 7–5, 6–7(5), 7–5, despite serving for the match at 5–4 in the final set.

At the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California and the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, Florida, Hantuchová lost in the early rounds to Dinara Safina and top seed Caroline Wozniacki, respectively. Partnering Agnieszka Radwańska, she reached the semifinals in Indian Wells, falling to the eventual champions, but won the doubles title in Miami, defeating Nadia Petrova and Liezel Huber.

On clay, Hantuchová was upset in the third round of the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina by Christina McHale. Hantuchová next competed on European red clay at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany, the Mutua Madrileña Madrid Open in Madrid, Spain and the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, Italy. She fell in the early rounds of all three to Samantha Stosur in both Stuttgart and Madrid and to second seed Francesca Schiavone in Rome. However, Hantuchová rebounded at the Internationaux de Strasbourg, where she upset fourth seed Nadia Petrova in the quarterfinals, but fell to second seed Andrea Petkovic in the semifinals, 4–6, 6–3, 4–6. Seeded 28th at the French Open, Hantuchová defeated Zhang Shuai and Sara Errani in the first two rounds, both in straight sets.[32][33] She then upset top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki, 6–1, 6–3 for[34] her first win over a reigning world no. 1. However, Hantuchová fell to 13th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova in the fourth round, 7–6(6), 3–6, 2–6.[35]

Hantuchová reached her second career grass-court final at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham, England, upsetting second seed Ana Ivanovic in the semifinals, 6–7(2), 6–3, 6–2, before falling to unseeded Sabine Lisicki, 3–6, 2–6. Competing at the Aegon International in Eastbourne, Hantuchová defeated second seed Li Na and Venus Williams, before retiring to fifth seed Petra Kvitová in the semifinals. Seeded 25th at the Wimbledon, Hantuchová fell to fourth seedVictoria Azarenka in the third round, 3–6, 6–3, 2–6.

Hantuchová fell in the early rounds of both the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California and the Rogers Cup in Toronto, Canada. She reached her sixth and seventh quarterfinals of the season at the Mercury Insurance Open inCarlsbad, California and at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, but fell to third seed Agnieszka Radwańska and second seed Vera Zvonareva, respectively.

After a first-round loss at the US Open to Pauline Parmentier, Hantuchová reached the quarterfinals of the Bell Challenge and the Generali Ladies Linz losing to Marina Erakovic and top seed Petra Kvitová respectively.

[31][32]Hantuchová at the Southern California Open in 2012

Hantuchová finished the year at world no. 24 with a win loss record of 41–29. She went 5–11 against the top-10 with victories over Zvonareva, Azarenka, Wozniacki, Na, and Bartoli.

2012[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Hantuchová began the year at the Brisbane International, where she reached her first final of the year, defeating Dominika Cibulková and Vania King, before receiving a walkover in the quarterfinals when Serena Williams pulled out of the event with an ankle sprain. In the semifinals, she lost the first set to Kim Clijsters, before the Belgian retired with a hip injury midway through the second. In the final, Hantuchová was easily defeated by Kaia Kanepi, 6–2, 6–1. In Sydney, Hantuchová upset Francesca Schiavone in the second round, before falling to second seed Petra Kvitová in the quarterfinals. Seeded No. 20 at the Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia, Hantuchová fell to eventual semifinalist and defending champion Kim Clijsters in straight sets in the third round.

At Pattaya, she successfully defended her title by defeating No. 4 seed Maria Kirilenko 6–7(4), 6–3, 6–3 in the final. However, Hantuchová was upset in the first round of the Qatar Ladies Open inDoha, Qatar the following week by Simona Halep 3–6, 6–2, 7–6(4). At the Dubai Tennis Championships, she fell in the quarters to eventual finalist, Julia Görges, 4–6, 6–3, 6–4.

[33][34]Hantuchová at the Southern California Open in 2012

Hantuchová then suffered relatively unsuccessful tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami. She fell in the second round after a bye to Czech Klára Zakopalová3–6, 7–6(7), 3–6. In Miami, she defeated Kateryna Bondarenko in a third set tiebreaker, before falling to Ana Ivanovic 2–6, 6–7(2).[36] At the Fed Cup against Spain, she lost to Silvia Soler Espinosa 6–7(5), 4–6, before defeating Lourdes Domínguez Lino 0–6, 7–6(4), 6–4 to clinch the tie 3–2 for Slovakia.[37]

During the match against Spain, Hantuchová suffered a stress fracture in her foot which ruled her out for two months and forced her to miss the whole of the clay court season.[38]

Hantuchová lost her first round match at Wimbledon 2012 against Jamie Hampton, 4–6, 6–7.[39]

In the 2012 London Olympics, Hantuchová upset No. 10 seed Li Na 6–2, 3–6, 6–3 in the first round. She then beat frenchwoman Alizé Cornet 6–3, 6–0 in the second round. She faced No. 8 seedCaroline Wozniacki in the third round and lost 6–4 6–2.

Hantuchová did not have the best US Open Series, winning only one match in four tournaments. At the Rogers Cup Hantuchová, lost in two tough straight sets to Aleksandra Wozniak 7–5, 7(7)–6(5). At the Western & Southern Open, Hantuchová beat Zheng Jie in the first round, 2–6, 7(7)–6(1), 6–3, but lost to 7th seed Sara Errani in straight sets. Hantuchová would lose in the first round of the New Haven Open to Mona Barthel, 7–5, 6–3. At the US Open, she would lose to 17th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in straight sets.

At the Toray Pan Pacific Open, Hantuchová beat in the first round Ekaterina Makarova 6–4, 4–6, 6–3, but lost to 10th seed Caroline Wozniacki 7(7)–6(3), 6–1. Hantuchová lost in the first round of the China Open to 7th seed, Petra Kvitová 6–2, 6–3. She would lose to 5th seed, Julia Görges in straight sets at the Generali Ladies Linz. Hantuchová would record her best result in months at the BGL Luxembourg Open, where she made it to the semifinals. She lost toMonica Niculescu in straight sets. Hantuchová would finish her year with three straight losses at the Tournament of Champions to Caroline WozniackiRoberta Vinci, and Hsieh Su-wei.

[35][36]Hantuchová with doubles partnerDominika Cibulková at the Southern California Open in 2012

On reflection, Hantuchová said that 2012 was a difficult year for her. She struggled with niggling injuries even before she fractured her foot and was forced out for two months. As a result, her form was inconsistent and she suffered ten first round defeats. She said: "I think 2012 has been a difficult year for me. Had a great start to the season, making the final in Brisbane, winning in Pattaya and feeling very good about my game, but unfortunately, suffered a fracture stress... that kept me away from the tracks for two months." However, she said that playing in the Olympics at Wimbledon, where she reached the third round, was a "special moment".[38] In an interview at the end of the year, Hantuchová reflected on turning 30 the following April, saying that it was "just a number" and that she wanted to keep playing as long as possible and break back into the top 10.[40][41]

2013[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Hantuchová started her year off with a quarterfinal appearance at the Brisbane International, beating Lourdes Domínguez Lino and 5th seed Sara Errani. She would lose to Lesia Tsurenko in straight sets. At the Apia International, Hantuchová lost in the first round to qualifier Ayumi Morita, 6–1, 3–6, 3–6. At the 2013 Australian Open she lost to Chan Yung-jan 1–6, 6–1, 1–6 in the first round. At the 2013 French Open, she also lost in the first round, to Jelena Janković 4–6, 6–7(7–9).

Hantuchová won her first tournament of 2013 in June when she won the 2013 Aegon Classic in Birmingham. Unseeded for the tournament, she beat qualifier Casey Dellacqua 6–1, 7–6(7–1) in the first round. In the second round, she beat 7th seed Laura Robson 6–3, 6–4, securing her 500th career win and becoming only the 37th woman in the Open Era to do so. In the third round, she beat 12th seed Kristina Mladenovic 3–6, 7–6(8–6), 6–4. In the quarterfinals, she beat 15th seed Francesca Schiavone 6–7(8–10), 6–4, 7–6(7–3). In the semifinal she beat qualifier Alison Riske 5–7, 6–1, 6–4 and in the final, she beat Donna Vekić 7–6(7–5), 6–4.

Playing style[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Hantuchová is right-handed but uses both hands when playing backhand shots.[42] She can hit the ball hard with both her forehand and backhand but is best known as a player with natural timing and excellent technique, playing a flowing style and hitting deep, accurate groundstrokes.[43][44] Her double-handed backhand is a particularly potent weapon. She is often described as an "all-rounder".[4][45] She has a strong, accurate serve and can play well when close to the net. She is famous for her long legs which are 43" (110 cm) long.[46] Because she is so tall (5' 11"), she can cover a long distance in a short amount of time, which also helps in returning shots.

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