Dokic Advances 60 60, Déjà Vu For Dulgheru
Published January 08, 2012 12:00
SYDNEY, Australia - The second half of 2011 wasn't kind to Jelena Dokic, but with her huge groundstrokes hitting their targets she made a winning start to 2012 on Sunday, double bageling her first opponent at the Apia International Sydney. Lucie Safarova was also among the winners at the Premier event.
Dokic enjoyed a career renaissance in the first half of 2011, winning her first WTA title in nine years at Kuala Lumpur, reaching another final on the lawns of 's-Hertogenbosch and subsequently breaking back into the Top 50; she would win just one match in five WTA events the rest of the season and fall out of the elite again, but the now-No.66-ranked Dokic looked rejuvenated on Sunday, taking 53 minutes to steamroll fellow Australian Isabella Holland, 60 60.
"There are some things I've been working on during the off-season that I did well today, like my serve and my movement," the 28-year-old commented. "Any win is great and I'm happy with what I did today - I played well and kept my focus throughout the whole match, which can be tough when you're winning."
"Hopefully I can continue to play like this in the next match," Dokic added. "I love Sydney. I grew up here. I love playing the Australian Open and have done well there before. I always get a lot of support this time of year, and if you play well now, you can really get your confidence up for the rest of the year."
Dokic's win over Holland was her second double bagel on the WTA, her first coming almost 11 years ago against Adriana Gersi at the 2001 French Open.
In the only other main draw match completed, Safarova beat Ana Ivanovic for the third straight time, following up wins at Toronto and Tokyo in 2009 with a 76(5) 62 win here. The first set was particularly tough, lasting 67 minutes.
In an all-Top 20 affair, Dominika Cibulkova led Peng Shuai, 62 46 43, when play was called for rain. They will complete their match on Monday, with the winner going on to play World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki in the second round.
The first doubles match of the week was also played, with reigning US Open and WTA Championships champions Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond getting 2012 off to a sharp start over Andreja Klepac and Alicja Rosolska, 63 61.
Chanelle Scheepers, Ekaterina Makarova, Sofia Arvidsson, Urszula Radwanska, Stefanie Voegele and Melinda Czink all qualified for the main draw. Arvidsson was made to work particularly hard in the final round of qualies, battling three hours and 24 minutes to defeat Alexandra Dulgheru, 67(6) 76(2) 75 - the Swede had to come back from several deficits, including 1-4 in the second set (saving a match point at 5-6) and 3-5 in the third set. And in an almost comedic twist, after a pair of main draw withdrawals, Dulgheru would get into the main draw and get Arvidsson again in the first round.
"I was having lunch when we found out I was a lucky loser. We were joking that I would play Sofia again," Dulgheru said. "The WTA supervisor came by and told me we were playing each other again. We thought he was joking, that it could never be true! I couldn't get my head around it, and my coach was in disbelief too - it can't have happened too often before. Sofia and I said we need to go easy on each other this time! I'm also playing doubles against her tomorrow, so two more matches against the same opponent. We will be sick of each other!"
"It's very unfortunate I'm not going to be able to play in Sydney," Lisicki said. "I got injured in Auckland and had to retire in my match there with an abdominal injury. I love Sydney so much and I love playing here, so it's sad I can't play and hard for me to pull out. I have to get ready for the Australian Open, which is only eight days away, and try to be fully fit for that one. I'm not going to play for a few days, will have a lot of treatment and try to be ready for Melbourne."