Match Recap, Birmingham R2: Hantuchova d. Bencic, 6-1 6-4

Hantuchova

Daniela Hantuchova kicked off the defence of her Birmingham title with a commanding 6-1 6-4 victory over Belinda Bencic.  For a set and a half, Hantuchova delivered a clinic of grass-court tennis.  Solid serving, thumping returns, of which she must have hit well into double figures, and consistent aggressive play from the back of the court were the order of the day for Daniela.  In the first set, Hantuchova hit 18 winners to just 6 unforced errors.  It was complete polar opposites to her last match at Roland Garros where unforced errors were her downfall in a controversial straight sets loss to Angelique Kerber.

Bencic didn’t play a bad match at all.  She fought admirably in the second set and saved a string of match points, including one with her only ace of the match.  She was starting to play more aggressively and find her feet on this surface; however she was simply outplayed by Daniela for large portions of this match, which is understandable based on the large gap in experience between the two players on grass.  Hantuchova, by her own admission, lost concentration at the end of the match.  She failed to serve out at the first time of asking at 6-1 *5-2 and fell down *15-30 on her serve at her second attempt with two consecutive double faults.  However the defending champion managed to wrapped up the match in straight sets.

Hantuchova finished the match with a whopping 38 winners to just 20 unforced errors.  As is often the case with grass court stats, Bencic also came away with a positive winners to unforced error differential, hitting 17 winners to 10 unforced errors.  Bencic heads to Eastbourne qualifying where I am hoping she gets through one round so I can watch her play! Hantuchova advances to a third round match against either Kimiko Date-Krumm or Monica Puig, which will take place on Thursday.  In this form, Hantuchova could have a real chance at defending her title.

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