NEW YORK: The first time Daniela Hantuchova reached the US Open quarter-finals she was a teenager. The second time she is 30. The unseeded Slovak defeated American wildcard Alison Riske 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 on Monday to end an extended absence from the last eight at Flushing Meadows since her loss to Serena Williams in 2002 as a 19-year-old.
“It means a lot to me because I love New York,” she said. “I could live here in one second. I just love the city, it’s got so much energy, atmosphere. It’s the last Grand Slam of the year and obviously you always want to finish on a high.
“The tournament is only starting now for me. It just means the world to me to again be in the quarter-finals.”
Hantuchova will meet either Belarus’ second seeded Victoria Azarenka or 13th-seeded Ana Ivanovic of Serbia for a place in the semi-finals.
She said there was a simple reason why players over 30, including Serena Williams and Australian veteran Lleyton Hewitt, were faring well in the men’s and women’s events at Flushing Meadows.
“Just the love for the game,” she said.
“I love doing what I’m doing so much that I wouldn’t change it for anything else in the world. That’s the reason I’m here.
“I just appreciate everything a lot more. I appreciate being able to be a tennis player, to be healthy, doing what I’m doing. It’s a big privilege to be in this position, to be so lucky in my life.” REUTERS