Martina Hingis began her defence of the WTA title in Filderstadt in shaky fashion on Wednesday. Switzerland's world number one lost the first set of her encounter with Bulgaria's Magdalena Maleeva 0-6, before finally getting into gear.This content was published on October 10, 2001 - 17:20
Hingis, who was given a first round bye at the German tournament, fought back from her terrible start to eventually win 0-6, 6-4, 6-2 and book a place in the quarter-finals.
"The beginning of the indoor season is always a bit difficult because you need time to adapt to the quick surface," insisted a relieved Hingis afterwards. "(Maleeva) played really well and I could hardly follow the ball. Fortunately I then started to play better."
Hingis's doubles partner Anna Kournikova was less fortunate on Wednesday as the Russian's comeback bid suffered another blow. The 20-year-old Russian served an amazing 25 double faults in her second round match against Luxembourg's Anne Kremer before succumbing to a 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 defeat.
Despite her own Wednesday jitters, Hingis has experienced more success in Filderstadt than in any of the other tour stop-offs. This year, the St Gallen player is bidding to win her fifth title in the German city, a record only bettered by the woman who Hingis was named after, six-time Filderstadt winner Martina Navratilova.
Hingis, who could this week lose her world number one ranking to fellow Filderstadt competitor Jennifer Capriati, will likely have to improve on her second round performance if she is to overcome either Tatiana Panova or Nathalie Tauziat in the last eight.
Swiss number two Patty Schnyder was unable to follow Hingis into the third round, after losing in three sets to French world number six Amélie Mauresmo. After taking the first set but losing the second, the 22-year-old from Basel appeared to be back in the ascendancy when the deciding set got underway.
But having taken a 5-2 lead against the Frenchwoman, Schnyder promptly lost the next five games in a row, surrendering the match 6-3, 3-6, 5-7.
Kratochvil on course
In neighbouring Austria, Swiss men's number two Michel Kratochvil was meanwhile continuing his impressive late-season showing, beating Slovakia's Dominik Hrbaty to reach the third round of the ATP tournament in Vienna.
Taking on a player 14 places above him in the world rankings, the Bernese world number 42 survived five break balls to edge through 7-6 (8-6), 7-5.
The win sent Kratochvil's win-loss account into the black for the first time this season. The 22-year-old has now won 24 matches and lost 23.
Much of the good work has been done in the last few weeks. A win over lowly ranked Austrian Jürgen Melzer (ATP 195) in the next round would see Kratochvil through to his third ATP quarter-final in four weeks.
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