Monday, March 7, 2011

Dokic comes back from the brink of defeat, takes Kuala Lumpur title!

She was twice just a forehand away from losing but Jelena Dokic showed her vintage fight in the final of the BMW Malaysian Open on Sunday night, winning her first WTA title in over eight and a half years with a come-from-behind 2-6 7-6(9) 6-4 victory over No.5 seed Lucie Safarova.

Over the last several years Dokic had shown glimpses of her former greatness, most memorably her run to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in 2009. But it has been a while since those glimpses came in bunches, until now.

Having recently reached the quarterfinals of the Premier-level Open GDF SUEZ in Paris, where it took Kim Clijsters to stop her, Dokic's fire was still burning as she came to Kuala Lumpur. She rallied from a set and a break down to upset No.1 seed Francesca Schiavone in the first round then made it all the way to the final, where a No.5-seeded Safarova was awaiting, on fire herself.

Safarova had upset No.2 seed Marion Bartoli en route to the final and came out very strong indeed, going up 6-2 5-3 and even holding two match points in the second set tie-break, one at 6-5 and one at 8-7; she missed forehands on both of them, however, and eventually found herself in a third set. The Czech built another lead in the decider, 3-1, but Dokic fought back again, winning four of the next five games to lead 5-4 and completing the victory on her third match point, a huge service winner to complement her 13 aces during the match.
Dokic ended several dry periods: first WTA semifinal in seven years (Tokyo in February 2004) and first WTA final in eight years (Zürich in October 2003); her last WTA title came nine years ago (Birmingham in June 2002). The Aussie's win over No.5-ranked French Open winner Schiavone was also her first Top 5 win since that week in Zürich (a semifinal win over then-No.1 Kim Clijsters).

It was Dokic's sixth WTA title, her first five being Rome, Tokyo and Moscow in 2001 and Sarasota and Birmingham in 2002; she is now 6-7 in career finals. And her first title, with an Aussie flag next to her name!

Dokic is projected to return to the Top 60 with her results this week.


Carlos said...

A good run by Dokic and big congratulations; nice article Captain, and an awful trophy! Looks like an empty electronic box.

I'm looking forward to see Dokic at the duels in the desert in The Wild Wild West.

Carlos said...

First day of qualies today Monday, at I.W.

I saw the draws today I'm looking at potential second matches Peng vs. Li Na.
Lickitongue vs. The Princess

Let the duels at the desert begin in the Wild Wild West.

Emily or as Carlos likes to call me "Captain" said...

One thing I don't like about the draw, Jelena D doesn't feature :(

Carlos, you must have read my mind, I was about to post about day 1 qualies!

Carlos said...

Great minds think alike. :)

I wonder why J.D. Is isn't featured. :/

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