Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Emotional Hantuchova Crashes to Defeat

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Emotional Hantuchova Crashes to Defeat

Article excerpt

Byline: By Phil Casey

An emotional Daniela Hantuchova was on the verge of tears during her extra- ordinary second-round defeat to Japan's Shinobu Asagoe at Wimbledon.

The ninth seed raced through the first set 6-0 in just 21 minutes and looked set for a comfortable passage into the last 32.

Asagoe did hit back to take the second set 6-4 and force a decider, but Hantuchova still seemed on course when she served for the match at 5-3.

However, the 20-year-old squandered several match points and eventually lost an epic 104-minute final set 12-10.

It was during the decider that Hantuchova, who has been the subject of much speculation about her weight loss recently, was close to tears on many occasions.

The part-time model repeatedly turned her back to the television cameras and faced the wall on court two to compose herself, and buried her head in her towel during the change of ends.

"She is going through a living hell," said former British star Annabel Croft, commentating on the match for the BBC. "She is in a terrible state."

Hantuchova also appeared to appeal for support from her coach Nigel Sears - coaching is not allowed during a match - and her mother Marianna who was sitting beside Sears at courtside.

After losing her serve when initially serving for the match at 5-3, Hantuchova did appear to compose herself and broke back when Asagoe served for the match at 8-7. The Slovakian also saved three match points in the final game but could not prevent Asagoe from claiming the best win of her career and move into the third round of Wimbledon for the first time, Hantuchova walking straight off court.

Hantuchova was also close to tears in her Press conference but insisted her behaviour on court was down to her desire to do well at Wimbledon, and nothing to do with her health.

"It's very disappointing but I have to move on and learn from the things I haven't done right. I felt great physically. I had no problems at all," she said.

Meanwhile, Venus Williams insists she is capable of winning another Wimbledon title but refuses to put herself under pressure to regain old glories. …

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