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Hantuchova advances in Pan Pacific Open

The sixth seed overcame a slow start to beat Jelena Jankovic of Serbia and Montenegro in the first round.

india Updated: Jan 31, 2006 15:57 IST

Sixth seed Daniela Hantuchova overcame a slow start to beat Jelena Jankovic of Serbia and Montenegro in the first round of the Pan Pacific Open tennis tournament on Tuesday.

The Slovakian pin-up girl came back from one set and 0-3 down in the final set to score a 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 win and stayed on course for a re-match against defending champion Maria Sharapova.

"I tried to be more aggressive and go for my shots a little bit more, because in the first set I felt I was not aggressive enough," said Hantuchova after the one-hour and 55-minute match.

"I just kept fighting for every point, trying to hang in there, and waited for my chances and won them when they came."

Hantuchova, who bowed to Sharapova in the Australian Open fourth round, was the last player to defeat the Russian in Tokyo and hopes to repeat her performance of two years ago.

"It was great for me in Australia. I couldn't ask for a better start to the year. I played some really, really good matches. I can't say that I was expecting it to happen," said Hantuchova.

"I was really proud that I was strong mentally in all the matches, I just tried to do right things on the court and most of the time I was doing them well. It's great to be able to continue like that here as well.

"Definitely I felt like I always played well in Tokyo, I like the fast speed of the ball, it's very similar to grass," added Hantuchova.

First Published: Jan 31, 2006 15:57 IST