Daniela Hantuchova has been able to relax this season, shedding outside pressure. It's led to some good results, including her sixth career WTA title earlier this year.
Hantuchova beat Yanina Wickmayer 6-2, 4-6, 6-0 in the first round of the Bank of the West Classic on Tuesday.
''I've played for a long time but not for myself until now,'' Hantuchova said. ''I'm very relaxed, playing for myself and enjoying the pressure. I can see the results on the court.''
Even a first-round loss at Wimbledon could not dampen her spirits, acknowledging Klara Zakopalova just played better.
''I had a good two weeks of fitness and training,'' Hantuchova said. ''I felt I played pretty well.''
The 46th-ranked Hantuchova, once ranked as high as No. 5, played to the full three sets for the 269th time since 2000.
''Why make it easy when I can make it complicated,'' she said. ''Physically she's very strong and I always enjoy the challenge from her side of the court.''
Wickmayer, ranked No. 56, reached the semifinals of last year's Classic. She's 0-6 against Hantuchova.
In other matches, sixth-seeded American Varvana Lepchenko beat qualifier Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal 6-2, 6-4; qualifier Coco Vandeweghe, a finalist last year, downed Romania's Monica Niculescu 6-0, 6-3; Austria's Tamira Paszek advanced when Russian qualifier Alla Kudryavtseva retired during the third set, 6-1, 6-7(4), 3-0; and Russian qualifier Vera Dushevina topped New Zealand's Marina Erakovic 6-2, 6-1.
Second-seeded Samantha Stosur is scheduled to play a later match against Olga Govortsova, followed by No. 7 seed Ursula Radwanska against Christina McHale.