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Hantuchova: Errani is playing great clay-court tennis

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Originally published on: 09/06/12 00:00

When Sara Errani fell in the second round of last year’s French Open there weren’t many people tipping her as a future champion in Paris. But her opponent that day, Daniela Hantuchova, can see why the diminutive Italian has got to where she is.

“Yes I was thinking about that,” said Hantuchova, who officially opened the new indoor tennis centre at the Edgbaston Priory Club in Birmingham yesterday. “Last year I beat her quite comfortably but she is a great fighter and I think she improved very much this year.

“She worked on a few things in her game and she also changed her racket, which I think was the key for her.” The 5ft 4in Italian switched to a longer-body Babolat frame at the beginning of the year to provide her with more power and reach. 

Errani, who has already won three clay-court titles this year in Acapulco, Barcelona and Budapest, saw off three former Grand Slam champions in the form of Ana Ivanovic, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Sam Stosur to reach the final, but despite her great run she will still go into today’s match-up with Maria Sharapova as the considerable underdog. The Russian, who will officially become the new world No.1 on Monday when the rankings are updated, has eased through the draw for the loss of only one set.

So who’s Hantuchova putting her money on? “It’s tough. I mean, obviously Sara is playing great clay-court tennis but Maria has the experience of winning Slams already and that’s huge.

“I am very happy for Sara because she is a very nice girl,” added the Slovakian world No.18. “She plays very hard and she really deserves all the things she has done in her career.”

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