Molik Wins On Epic Day 2

Alicia, Ekaterina, Agnieskza... just a few of the survivors as the first round wrapped up.

Published January 18, 2011 12:00

Molik Wins On Epic Day 2
Alicia Molik

MELBOURNE, Australia - There was some drama and a blowout or two, but overall it was an action-packed day at the Australian Open on Tuesday.

Perhaps the most dramatic match of the day was saved until last, as Ana Ivanovic lost a heartbreaker under the lights of Hisense Arena, fighting off five match points - several with winners - and finally succumbing on the sixth to Ekaterina Makarova, 36 64 108. Ivanovic was down triple match point serving 4-5, 0-40 but fended them all off, then saved two more at 5-6 and 7-8 in the third.

"She played extremely well. I really tried my best out there today," Ivanovic, who was the No.19 seed, said. "A few points here and there decided it, and I created enough chances for myself in that second set in particular but didn't convert them. It was just a little bit of footwork lacking towards the end of that third set and that was pretty much what decided it. But I think she played really well."

Ivanovic had never lost a first round match in six previous tries at the Australian Open, and she did finish 2010 winning 13 of her last 15 matches; but she suffered an abdominal injury a few weeks ago. "I was really unlucky. For the past 10 days I couldn't push hard in practice," she added. "I could only really push a little bit more Sunday and Monday, the first couple of days I actually served. At the end that got to me. It's a 10 day strike before the Slam."

Despite the setback, the Serb remains confident her return up the rankings will continue in 2011. "I'm certain about it. This loss is tough, but I had a lot of positive things come out of this match. I gave my best. Today she was better.

"I believe I can get back to the Top 10, and I believe I can do it this year."

All four Top 8 seeds in action advanced in straight sets. No.2 seed Vera Zvonareva and No.5 seed Samantha Stosur won early in the day (read more here); No.7 seed Jelena Jankovic ended her six-match losing streak later in the afternoon (read more here); and at night, No.3 seed Kim Clijsters double bageled fellow former No.1 Dinara Safina (read more here).

Alicia Molik, who came out of retirement at the end of 2009 and has been looking to make her mark on the world's biggest stages once again, battled back from a first set blowout and a break down in the third set to beat Roberta Vinci, 16 63 86. "I've played so many matches now, I'm not afraid of losing," Molik, a former Top 10 player, commented. "She was up 4-2 in the third set but I made a point to go out and win the third set. It's natural for a lot of people to tighten up in third sets when it comes to the crunch - I just set myself no alternative than to go out and try to execute and win the match. I was prepared to lose that way, but it forced me to be aggressive and do it at the right time."

No.12 seed Agnieszka Radwanska also escaped an early exit, battling back from 1-4 in the third set to edge Kimiko Date-Krumm, 64 46 75.

Date-Krumm had won five of her last seven matches against Top 20 players, and seemed on her way to six of eight. "When I'm on court, I don't think about age. I just try my best. I have more advantage mentally compared to young players. Agnieszka has been a Top 10 player so she has lots of experience too."

Another Japanese player, Ayumi Morita, pulled off the only upset of the day apart from Ivanovic's, ousting No.27 seed Alexandra Dulgheru, 64 64.

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