Returning Martina Hingis loses Fed Cup tie after courageous effort
Fifteen-times grand slam champion Martina Hingis made a courageously impressive return to big-time singles tennis in the Fed Cup on Saturday but was eventually outplayed by Agnieszka Radwanska.
Hingis was persuaded to play her first tour-level singles for nearly eight years because of injuries in the Switzerland team for the World Group playoff encounter against Poland.
The 34-year-old brought back memories of her heyday in a thrilling 48-minute first set before capitulating 6-4 6-0 to world number nine Radwanska after 76 enjoyable minutes.
Smiling a lot and clearly enjoying the experience of being back in the spotlight against a player with a similarly attractive style, Hingis played some exhilarating tennis early on but her effort eventually took its toll.
Half a step slower in the second set, she could only win 11 points as Radwanska upped her game to give Poland a 1-0 lead in the tie.
What was most eye-catching was the way Hingis fought in the opening set, twice coming back from a break down to level the scores until the pressure exerted by Radwanska finally told.
Hingis, who only plays doubles on tour those days, was making a Fed Cup return for the first time since the 1998 final because she has to play in the competition to qualify for next year's Olympics.