Teens Win AO Wildcards
Published December 20, 2010 12:00
MELBOURNE, Australia - Jelena Dokic's bid to win Tennis Australia's Australian Open Wildcard Play-offs for the third year in a row was thwarted at the last hurdle on Sunday, when the former world No.4 was beaten by Olivia Rogowska in the final of the weeklong local derby.
While 27-year-old Dokic must still like her chances of landing a discretionary wildcard closer to the event, she is left to rue two match points, having led by a set and 3-1. Nineteen-year-old Rogowska delivered an unreturnable serve to save the first match point at 5-4; the second was reeled in with a forehand winner at 6-5. Although Dokic was first to steal the upper hand in the ensuing tie-break, she was never the same player after rain stopped play at 3-3. Rogowska leveled and rode the momentum to victory, 16 76(3) 63.
"This year wasn't my best year, so to finish on such a positive note makes me very happy - I'm really going to enjoy Christmas," said Rogowska, currently the 11th highest ranked Australian woman at No.259. "I'm just going to have a couple of days off, get back into training and I'm really pumped for January."
"I'm happy I got to the final, looking forward to the summer," said a disappointed Dokic. "We'll train through Christmas, all the way through to Brisbane."
"She is a fantastic girl to work with, she's a great champion, a great player, a great person - just things need to be fixed,'' said Dokic's coach of two months, Dutchman Glen Schaap. "We have already come a long way. My realistic statement is first to get her well, not being injured. Time will tell: If she is good, she will be very good."
Meantime, at the Racquet Club of the South near Atlanta, Georgia, 444th-ranked Lauren Davis upset world No.113 Coco Vandeweghe in the final of the play-off for the wildcard at the USTA's disposal.
Davis, who hails from Gates Mills, Ohio, defeated 19-year-old Vandeweghe 62 62 to earn her main draw berth at Melbourne Park. The 17-year-old has now won 27 consecutive matches and 36 of her last 37 - a run that takes in two ITF Futures events, the Eddie Herr Junior Championships and the recent Dunlop Junior Orange Bowl.
"She's just so solid and consistent and gets everything back," US Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez said of Davis, who made just eight unforced errors during the match.
Assessing her own performance against a player who beat Vera Zvonareva earlier in the year, Davis observed: "I think I handled the nerves well and I handled her power and everything she threw at me. Of course I wanted to be consistent but I wanted to be aggressive too because if I knew if I didn't she would just go right through me."
Davis, who trains at the Chris Evert Academy in Boca Raton, Florida and still holds amateur status, was one of eight women selected to compete in the event. She won three matches without conceding a set, emerging from a field that included US Open standout Beatrice Capra. Some of the competitors also took part in a World TeamTennis-format match on Friday night, with Billie Jean King in attendance.
"It was good for me to get a peek at the future of American tennis," wrote King on her blog. "Even though so much has changed in our sport over the years, there are some reliable characteristics and traits that still come into play, even in today's world. The combination of proper focus and intensity is something champions have and what often separates the great champions from the purely physical athletes.
"It was a privilege to spend time with these young people and I wish them the best in their lives, on and off the court."
The French Tennis Federation has announced that Virginie Razzano will receive its discretionary pass into the main draw of the first Grand Slam tournament of the year.