Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Update: East West Bank Classic

Sixth seed Hantuchova ousted by Govortsova in second round wire report

CARSON, Calif. -- Sixth seed Daniela Hantuchova, the runner-up in the East West Bank Classic three years ago, made an unexpectedly early exit on Tuesday night, losing to Olga Govortsova 6-2, 6-4 as the second round of the WTA Tour event began without Serena Williams.

Williams, the tournament's No. 2 seed, withdrew early in the day with a left knee injury.

Govortsova, 19, of Belarus, squandered three match points on her serve in the ninth game of the second set, then capitalized on the fourth one with a forehand to the open court at 30-40 on Hantuchova's serve. Govortsova, who is ranked No. 43, admitted to some nerves after taking a 5-1 lead in the second set, especially since the 12th-ranked Hantuchova had rallied in a similar situation to win their first meeting last year.

"When I was up 5-1, I started to think I'm going to win the match, then she started to play more aggressive," Govortsova said. "Then at 5-4, I started to hit the ball again and finally won. She hits the ball really deep and has a good serve. To beat her, you have to be aggressive."

Hantuchova, who still is trying to find her form after a long layoff from a stress fracture in her right heel, said that her game is "not there yet. I just have to be patient, keep practicing and keep working hard. It's a long way back."