June 28, 2007 / 12:52 PM / 10 years ago

Hantuchova edges past Likhovtseva

LONDON (Reuters) - Daniela Hantuchova came through a tricky test against Russian Elena Likhovtseva on Thursday, winning 7-5 7-6 to take her place in the third round.

<p>Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova plays a return to Russia's Elena Likhovtseva during their singles match at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, June 28, 2007. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico</p>

The 24-year-old Slovak, playing in her seventh consecutive Wimbledon, has enjoyed one of her best years on the Tour, capturing her second title at Indian Wells.

Five years ago as a teenager Hantuchova announced herself on the big stage when she reached quarter-finals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open but she has rarely hit those heights again.

Off-court problems have dogged her career but there are signs that she can re-establish herself in the top 10.

She needed to be near her best on Thursday and she grabbed a decisive break of serve at 5-5 in the first set before clinically closing out the set.

The 31-year-old Likhovtseva, whose career highlights have come on the doubles court where she has won 27 titles, refused to capitulate in a second set dominated by serving.

Hantuchova had an anxious moment at 5-6 when she fell 0-30 behind, then at deuce she was let off when her opponent sent a routine drive volley into the net.

The slender Slovak then accelerated away in the tiebreak to move through to a third round meeting with Slovenian 19th seed Katarina Srebotnik.

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