Dokic Stands Between Clijsters & No.1
Published February 10, 2011 12:00
PARIS, France - Kim Clijsters is one win away from returning to No.1 for the first time in five years, and standing in her way will be someone she goes way back with, both as rivals and as doubles partners - former No.4 Jelena Dokic.
Clijsters and Dokic won the French Open junior doubles title as a team in 1998, and even won a WTA doubles title together, at Los Angeles in 2002. They've also clashed nine times, with Dokic winning three of those times - including their last meeting, when Clijsters was ranked No.1, at Zürich in 2003.
"I think Clijsters is the toughest test you can have," Dokic said. "I feel she's No.1 at the moment anyway but I hope to play my best. I have nothing to lose."
Dokic upset another seed on Thursday to get to the Clijsters clash, beating No.5 seed Nadia Petrova, 64 76(4). She out-aced the WTA's recent ace leader, 10-9, and was never broken herself. "Nadia and I know each other very well. We played doubles as juniors," Dokic said. "It was great to follow up on my win against Safarova. Two good wins in a main draw is great.
"I'm playing well, moving well and serving well, and I'm mentally strong. At the moment I think I can stay with these girls. I did a lot of hard work at the end of last year. I'm looking to play a lot of tournaments and have a good year."
Other second round winners on Day 4 were No.3 seed Kaia Kanepi, No.4 seed Petra Kvitova, No.6 seed Andrea Petkovic, No.7 seed Yanina Wickmayer and Bethanie Mattek-Sands. Kvitova spent by far the longest time on court, needing three hours and 14 minutes for a 64 67(6) 76(9) win over Barbora Zahlavova Strycova. Kvitova saved match point down 6-5 in the third set.
Earlier in the day the No.2 seed, Maria Sharapova, withdrew from the tournament before her opening match due to an upper respiratory viral illness.
"I have been sick since the weekend and upon seeing the doctor this morning, I have taken his advice and reluctantly had to withdraw from this year's Open GDF SUEZ," Sharapova said in a statement. "I am really sorry about having to pull out of the tournament as I really wanted to play in Paris this year, having received a wildcard. Even though I did everything possible to be ready to play, unfortunately, I am just unable to. I would like to apologize to the fans and thank the tournament for being very kind to me and trying to help in every way."
Stéphanie Cohen-Aloro replaced Sharapova in the draw as a lucky loser. She led Mattek-Sands early on, 3-1, before ultimately succumbing, 75 63.