Pilot Pen Live Blog: Davenport/Hantuchova Fall in Quarterfinals

On The Baseline Tennis News
Friday, 8.22.08

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut—Things are really starting to heat up here in New Haven…some of the buzz comes from a new crop of young players making their way into the tennis spotlight.

But on Thursday, all eyes were on the veterans, Lindsay Davenport and Daniela Hantuchova, as they came painfully close to winning their quarterfinal match, only to succumb to the Russian team of Anastasia Rodionova and Galina Voskoboeva in a tight 3-set match.

Playing in front of a packed crowd on the Grandstand court, the Russians got right down to business, winning the first set easily (6-3). But Davenport and Hantuchova rebounded in the 2nd set to take it 6-1. In the midst of the 2nd set, their games proved to be a little bit too in sync, as Hantuchova setup to hit an overhead lob, while Davenport ran behind her to hit the same shot, hitting Hantuchova’s racquet in the process. One person from the crowd yelled, “Now that’s team-work!”

The 3rd set was decided in a 10-point tiebreak. After trailing for most of the set, Davenport and Hantuchova finally gained the lead at 7-6, but in the end, they were simply outplayed, losing 9-11.

One possible factor that contributed to Thursday’s loss was Hantuchova’s schedule: back-to-back matches, losing first in singles to Alize Cornet in the quarterfinals. Although she didn’t appear fatigued, coming directly from a 3-set loss with only 15 minutes to spare before her next match would be grueling for any player, both physically and mentally.

“Obviously a little bit more rest would have helped,” she said. “I really didn’t want to wake up this morning.” For Davenport, the Pilot Pen comes right on the heels of her quarterfinal finish in doubles at the Olympics. Her right knee, which has been nagging her in recent months, seems to be ok for the first time. Despite the disappointing loss here in New Haven, Davenport and Hantuchova plan on teaming up again at the US Open.

Regarding her post-U.S. Open plans, officials at the Pilot Pen say that Davenport hasn’t made any formal announcements yet.

In other matches on Thursday, Alize Cornet of France, one of the “up-and-comers” on the WTA tour, advanced to the semifinals 7-6(3) 4-6 6-2, despite an injury to her left thigh. She struggled with her serve in the 2nd set, but managed to keep her momentum going. “I couldn’t push with my leg, so it didn’t help me with my serve,” she said.

Cornet will face Caroline Wozniaki of Denmark in the semis. “She wants to be in the final for sure, and I want to be in the final, and we are the same age [18], so there is a bit of rivalry,” said Cornet. Wozniaki, the only Danish player currently ranked in the top 400 on the WTA tour (at No. 22), beat out Marion Bartoli in the 3rd round of the Pilot Pen.

If Cornet wins the semis, she could potentially face fellow French player Amelie Mauresmo in the final on Saturday. She played against Mauresmo for the first time as a 15 year old on Centre Court at Roland Garros. Cornet has had most of her success on clay-courts but is slowly adding hard courts to her skill-set.

In Thursday night’s quarterfinal, Mauresmo won a close match against last year’s finalist, Agnes Szavay 6-4, 7-5. Mauresmo will play Anna Chakvetadze in the semifinals.




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