INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) – Teenager Daniela Hantuchova, playing in her first tour singles final, overpowered Martina Hingis 6-3, 6-4 Saturday to win the Pacific Life Open.
Her hard, accurate groundstrokes kept Hingis scurrying side-to-side throughout the match, the 18-year-old Slovak broke Hingis’ service six times on her way to the $332,000 winner’s prize.
With the dominant victory over the second-seeded Hingis, the 18th-seeded Hantuchova became the lowest seed to win a women’s tier I event since 1980.
Swirling wind that fanned sand into the air during the men’s semifinals earlier in the day had subsided somewhat by the time the women’s championship match began in the late afternoon.
Hantuchova’s backhand was particularly deadly against Hingis, as she hit 20 backhand winners to just five by the Swiss star, who has won 40 career titles.
Hantuchova hit 33 winners overall to Hingis’ 16.
On one point early in the second set, after racing from side to side to chase down shots, Hingis watched helplessly as Hantuchova rocketed a forehand winner just inside the right sideline.
Hingis raised both arms in apparent frustration.
Hantuchova, a lanky 5-foot-11, 123-pounder who joined the tour in 1999, had extended top-ranked Venus Williams to three sets earlier this year in the third round of the Australian Open.
While the singles final was her first, Hantuchova already has two Grand Slam mixed doubles titles to her credit, the Australian Open this year and Wimbledon in 2001.
Australian Leyton Hewitt barely broke a sweat in the Pacific Life Open men’s championship match yesterday, cruising to a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Tim Henman.
Hewitt last year became the youngest player ever to finish the season at No. 1, and he has won 34 of his last 38 matches, dating back to his title run in the U.S. Open last year.