By Erwin Ong
CINCINNATI -- Martina Hingis has teamed with Daniela Hantuchova at this week’s Western & Southern Open. Their appearance marks the third of four events for the duo, a mini-tour for Hingis, which began began at the Southern California Open and culminates with the U.S. Open later this month. In Cincinnati, Hingis and Hantuchova have advanced to the second round after beating the team of Anabel Medina Garrigues and Flavia Pennetta.
It has been 6 years since Hingis last played a WTA doubles match, and the game has undergone some major changes during her absence. Most striking of these is the implementation of no-ad scoring. Hingis is still getting used to the faster pace and "sudden death" feel of that system. "We have not been very successful with those [points] in the past," she said about her and Hantuchova's no-ad track record, with a smile. "We definitely have to get better at that"
While Hingis might have appreciated no-ad scoring during her previous career – when a shortened doubles match could give her more time to rest for singles – Hingis’ doubles-only campaign leaves her wanting for longer matches. "You sometimes wish you had more opportunities," she said, referring to game point chances.
She and Hantuchova will next face the No. 1-ranked team of Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci. Errani and Vinci are the defending U.S. Open women’s doubles champions.
And as the Hingis-Hantuchova duo looks toward the U.S. Open, their goal is to get themselves competitive with the other top teams in the draw. "I think we’re really close to competing with the best doubles teams in the world."
Hingis has noticed much more depth in the doubles teams competing on the tour. That, combined with no-ad scoring, keeps Hingis on her toes. "Every match is a big match right now. Before you could be floating around. Now it’s full-on all the time."