Hantuchova moves into quarters

August 20, 2008 11:41 PM

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP)—Second-seeded Daniela Hantuchova survived three match points in a 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (4) victory over Olga Govortsova of Belarus in a second round match Wednesday night at the Pilot Pen.

“It was very close and I still can’t believe I won it,” said Hantuchova, who is ranked No. 12 in the world. “The crowd helped me very much and I am very excited to be in the quarterfinals.”

It is the fourth time Hantuchova has reached the quarterfinals at the Pilot Pen, a tune up to next week’s U.S. Open.

Hantuchova struggled with her serve in the first set. She had to save five break points to win the fifth game, but then failed to hold serve the rest of the set. She challenged the final point of the set, but the replay showed her shot was correctly called out wide right.

Hantuchova regained her rhythm in the second set easily winning 6-2, but again had trouble serving in the third. She saved three match points on her serve in the 12th game to force the tiebreaker.

In another second round match, seventh seeded Alize Cornet of France advanced after defeating Katarina Srebotnik of Slovakia, 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-2.

Earlier Wednesday, Amelie Mauresmo showed no signs of the nagging injuries that sidelined her for several weeks, defeating fifth-seeded Patty Schnyder in a third-set tiebreaker 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (6) in the second round.

Mauresmo won the match with a deep forehand that Schnyder couldn’t handle and raised her arms in triumph.

The former No. 1 player in the world is trying to round into form before the U.S. Open after battling rib and muscle injuries that sidelined her for several weeks after losing to Serena Williams in the third round at Wimbledon.

Mauresmo, from France, also played a tough three-set match Tuesday in the first round against Kaia Kanepi.

“These kinds of matches for the last year or so I was losing them,” said Mauresmo, a two-time Grand Slam singles champion. “At some point it makes a difference, because you have confidence from these kind of matches and you build up from there.”

Mauresmo is now ranked No. 33 in the world. The 29-year-old will face fourth-seeded Agnes Szavay of Hungry in the women’s quarterfinals. The two have never played each other.

Top-seeded Anna Chakvetadze also moved into the quarterfinals, rolling past Casey Dellacqua of Australia 6-4, 6-4 despite 11 double faults in her second round match.

“I lost my rhythm a little bit on my serve because of the wind in the first set,” Chakvetadze said. “I couldn’t find it in the second, as well. But still, I was fighting to the end and I’m pleased with this win.”

Chakvetadze, ranked No. 8 in the world, is looking for her second WTA Tour title this year. She won the Paris indoor title earlier this year and advanced to her fourth quarterfinal this season.

The men’s top seed, Fernando Verdasco of Spain, had little trouble with Ivo Minar of the Czech Republic, winning his third-round match 6-3, 6-1.

Verdasco is making his fourth appearance at the Pilot Pen. He reached the quarterfinals in 2005 and 2007.

“I am so happy with my level of play today,” Verdasco said. “I always play well here in New Haven and I am hoping to play my best.”

Luka Gregorc of Slovaki upset the men’s No. 2 seed, Ivo Karlovic, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-2 in their third-round match.

American Robby Ginepri’s run at the Pilot Pen also ended. Mischa Zverev of Germany defeated Ginepri 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 in their third round match.

“I changed my game (after the first set),” Zverev said. “I was serving and volleying and then I tried to stay back and wear him down. It worked.”

Ginepri said he let the match get away from him.

“I was hitting everything for a winner and everything was going 100 percent my way,” Ginepri said. “When the match kind of got tight in a couple of points, I started to panic maybe a little bit.”

Zverev will face Verdasco in the quarterfinals.

In other men’s action, seventh-seeded Andreas Seppi defeated fellow Italian Fabio Fognini 6-4, 6-2 in a third-round match; fourth-seeded Russian Igor Andreev beat 16th-seeded Victor Hanescu of Romania, 6-4, 7-5; and eighth-seeded American Mardy Fish defeated France’s Marc Gicquel 6-4, 6-3 in a third-round match. Fish was the Pilot Pen runner-up last year.

“He is a tough opponent, but I played a pretty clean match for me,” Fish said. “I served really well. I took my opportunities when I had them.”