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By Matthew Cronin
INDIAN WELLS, California, March 17 (Reuters) - Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia won her first title in five years when she upset second seed Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3 6-4 in the Pacific Life Open final on Saturday.
Number 14 seed Hantuchova won her maiden title at the same tournament in 2002, beating Martina Hingis in the final.
“There’s something special about this place. I love it,” Hantuchova told reporters. “I had exactly the same feeling like I had against Martina in 2002. I just knew that I was gonna enjoy myself out there, and not for one second I didn’t believe in myself.
“I was just so confident from the first point, and I didn’t really think about the score.
“I just went out there and tried to play my game and really just enjoying every moment on the court.”
Hantuchova was brilliant on the day, ripping 27 winners and only committing 14 unforced errors.
Hantuchova controlled the court, serving powerfully and consistently, finding the corners with her groundstrokes and attacking Kuznetsova’s second serves.
The Slovak came into the match with a 2-5 win-loss record against Kuznetsova and was beaten by her two weeks ago in the semi-finals of Doha.
“Maybe this time I was much more confident, because I had so many matches this week already behind me already,” Hantuchova said. “Mentally, I was just not going to let it go, and I was ready to take whatever it takes to get through this one today.”
The 23-year-old Hantuchova will rise to number 12 in the world rankings when they are released on Monday.