Australian Open Day 3 Preview

Can Jelena Dokic channel the memories of 2009 to ignite the crowd on Rod Laver Arena come Wednesday night?

Published January 18, 2011 12:00

Australian Open Day 3 Preview
Jelena Dokic

Second Round, Wednesday

Rod Laver Arena
[11] Justine Henin (BEL #13) vs. Elena Baltacha (GBR #55)
Head-to-Head: First meeting
The bad news for British No.1 Baltacha is that all seven of Henin's losses at Melbourne Park over the years have been to players that ranked No.1 at some point in their careers. The good news - she says - is that she learned a lot from playing Dinara Safina on the same court 12 months ago, and reckons she is now ready to make the most of the chance to play a legend (her word) on one of the sport's biggest stages. And, with wins over Li and Schiavone to her credit over the past 12 months, who knows what could happen? While Henin's elbow seems to be fixed, the Belgian didn't exactly skip past Sania Mirza in the first round, and she keeps insisting she won't be at her best until the summer. That doesn't mean she's not here to win the title, of course, but if she does harbor genuine doubts, the plucky Baltacha might jump on them.

[WC] Jelena Dokic (AUS #137) vs. Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE #63)
Head-to-head: First meeting
Things haven't gone as well as Dokic would have hoped since her fairytale quarterfinal run at Melbourne Park two years ago. Indeed, her first round win over Zuzana Ondraskova on Monday was her first in a Grand Slam main draw since Roland Garros in 2009, after a season that produced just one Tour-level main draw victory (but also three ITF titles on the trot thanks to an encouraging 15-match winning streak). Dare she dream of another magical surge through the draw? This match is certainly winnable for the Australian, but Zahlavova Strycova is a seasoned campaigner enjoying something of a purple patch at the moment: she upset No.22 seed Aravane Rezai here on Monday, Nadia Petrova in Brisbane and won the Sydney doubles title last Friday with Czech mate Iveta Benesova. Though she won't admit it, the pressure will be on Dokic for all sorts of reasons, whatever the ranking differential.

Margaret Court Arena
Rebecca Marino (CAN #104) vs. [6] Francesca Schiavone (ITA #7)
Head-to-Head: First meeting
Plenty of attention is heaped on America's bright young things, but the Canadians are searching for their next star too, and in 20-year-old Marino they may well have found her. Tall and powerful, Marino made her Grand Slam main draw debut as a qualifier at last year's US Open; the experience of playing Venus Williams on Arthur Ashe Stadium will serve her well today, as will a Top 20 win over Marion Bartoli. By virtue of her first round defeat of Junri Namigata here, Marino has already ensured her Top 100 debut, but on the other side of the net is a player who is contesting her 42nd consecutive Grand Slam, and a one-time champion to boot. Curiously, Schiavone has lost three times in the first round of majors in the past two years, but whenever she's gotten past the first hurdle - and she needed three dogged sets to get past Arantxa Parra Santonja on Monday - she has made it to at least the last 16.

More to watch…
Fourth seed Venus Williams plays Sandra Zahlavova on Rod Laver Arena, while top seed Caroline Wozniacki opens proceedings against Vania King on Hisense; later, Maria Sharapova faces Virginie Razzano on the same stage. No.8 seed Victoria Azarenka tackles Andrea Hlavackova on Margaret Court Arena, where No.9 seed Li Na plays Evgeniya Rodina, while Show Court 2 hosts Svetlana Kuznetsova against Dutch qualifier Arantxa Rus, and Marion Bartoli versus Vesna Manasieva.

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