Hantuchova rolls on, Pennetta in company

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Kolkata, Sep 20 (UNI) Second seed Daniela Hantuchova and seventh seed Italian Flavia Pannetta won their respective ties to sail into the quarter-finals of Sunfeast Open here today.

Hantuchova, who is in regal touch ever since her shock ouster from US Open, took less than an hour to dismiss Russian Anastasia Rodionova 6-2,6-1. Rodionova had no answer to the rich ensemble of backhand, forehand and drop-volleys mixed with scurrying pace and lethal court coverage.

The match began on an even note with the duo holding serve till the fifth game. But then on the match changed sharply. In the sixth game Hantuchova broke free of Rodionova forehands, coming to the net and meeting them with drop-volleys and spoiled any chance of the Russian coming to the net with overhead lobs. The result, Hantuchova won four games on a trot.

To make the matters worse for Rodionova, a contact lens forced a medical time-out. In the second set, Hantuchova had the court well mapped for herself, never allowing Rodionova take the advantage. She ruled the court. Rodionova sneaked in to take the fourth game and saving the blushes of being blanked out.

After the match, the lanky Slovak said, ''At this moment I'm doing all the right things. Hope this continues for the rest of the tournament.'' ''I have been working on my service and think it's working my way. I am focused on my game,'' she added.

In another match, playing Uzbek Agul Amanmuradova, Pennetta, a baseliner to the core, kept firing forehands and double handed backhands and the lanky Uzbek kept hopping around like a cat on a hot tin roof. She did nothing much other than holding her serve on the opening game. Before she could get the measure of things, Pennetta sealed the first set 6-1.

In the second set, Agul did try to show some resistance and actually took the set to 3-3, before Pennetta opend her up with a forehand cross-court, followed by a deep backhand and a passing shot down-the-line to effect a break to go 5-3 up. The next game was cakewalk. Game set and match 6-1, 6-3.

In the first match, Poutchek fought off her quick-fire temper to get past Swedish Sofia Arvidsson in straight sets 6-3, 6-1 in a second round tie.

While Poutchek is now enjoying her highest ever WTA ranking at 100 and is on a roll, Arvidsson has slumped to 149 from 63 and it showed.

A series of cruel forehands and camouflaged drop- volleys did the trick as the Swedish calmly succumbed. The match began with Poutchek serving and three breaks being traded with Sofia holding the early advantage.

But then on Poutchek won the last four games on a trot to take the first set 6-1. This included several pauses, self-assessment, racket abuse and stern self-admonishing from Poutchek. The chair umpire gave Sofia a point in eighth game for touching the net and she got into a barb with her. Next game she was warned for time wasting on serve. She then decided not to play a forehand return from the Swedish.

These eccentricities apart, she was at the top of her game. She won eight straight points on drop volleys and Sofia just never made any effort to move up to the net.

The second set was meek submission as a barrage of forehands from Tatiana sunk the Scandinavian. Except, the third game shere she fought off two deuce to hold serve, Tatiana lapped up all and finished off the set in just over 25 minutes.

American teenager Vania King, who created the biggest upset of the Sunfeast Open on Tuesday by defeating top seed Marion Bartoli, failed to keep up the good work and tamely gave in to Mariya Koryttseva of Ukraine 1-6, 2-6 today.

UNI

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