Monday, March 7, 2011
Dokic comes back from the brink of defeat, takes Kuala Lumpur title!
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.
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.