LONDON (Reuters) - Daniela Hantuchova will want to settle an old score against Serena Williams on Monday.
The last time the slender Slovakian met Williams at Wimbledon, she managed to win just five games as her elegant strokeplay was blunted by the fierce power of the American.
Five years on from that quarter-final drubbing, Hantuchova feels she is better equipped to deal with Williams and will no longer be cowed by her opponent’s reputation.
“I think I need to step up my game to beat her but I‘m looking forward to the match. I think I’ve got a good chance,” said 10th seed Hantuchova, who has worked her way back among the elite after spending years in tennis wilderness.
“I‘m starting to feel very good on grass and I just can’t wait to be on the court again.”
Many feel the match will serve as a dress rehearsal for the contest fans really want to see, a repeat of the French Open quarter-final between Williams and world number one Justine Henin.
The American holds an overall 5-1 advantage over Hantuchova but Williams, champion here in 2002 and 2003, is not being complacent.
“I know it’s definitely going to be a tough match,” said Williams, who won her eighth grand slam crown at the Australian Open in January.
“Daniela is serving well, moving well. She’s really fit. I‘m serving well, I‘m moving well, and I‘m really fit. It’s going to be exciting.”
Williams started off the tournament rating her first-round win a “two out of 10” but after shaking off a hamstring strain she is more confident about her chances.
”My hamstring is a lot better, which I‘m really excited about. It’s the first time it’s felt this good. So it’s just, you know, all coming together.
”I‘m playing really well. I‘m feeling really good. I‘m feeling really positive. I‘m feeling like I‘m going to get there.
“This is one of my favourite tournaments and I couldn’t be more ready to compete.”