Dokic, Molik stay in Australian Open play-offs chase

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

MELBOURNE - Alicia Molik and Jelena Dokic sidestepped early rain interruptions Wednesday to advance in the wildcard play-offs for next month’s Australian Open.

Third seed Dokic, who won the wildcard event two years ago and parleyed the success into a quarter-final entry in the main draw, advanced without lifting a racquet as her 14-year-old Queensland opponent Ashleigh Barty withdrew with a back problem.

The ill-starred teenager was replaced in the round-robin draw on the women’s side at Melbourne Park, with the new opponent losing to Dokic, a Wimbledon semi-finalist as a teenager a decade ago.

“I feel like I’m playing much better than any other time that I was here during the play-off, so I feel like I’m in much better shape,” said Dokic, now working under a new coach.

Top seed Molik staged a fightback to overcome Sophie Letcher 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) in a rain-interrupted match and next plays Alison Bai in a ’sudden death’ match for a place in the semi-finals after both players were level and undefeated in their group.

“There will be some very stiff competition later in the week so it’s very important to save energy so I can go up a gear come Saturday or Sunday,” Molik said. “I did the right things at the right time and I feel I’d be prepared against someone like Jelena as well.”

On the men’s knockout side, top seed Peter Luczak beat Luke Saville in a second-round encounter 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.

The event awards a wildcard entry into the Open for winners on the men’s and women’s side.

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