**not sure if this has been previously posted**
Women's revival hits full swing
By Paul Malone
January 8, 2005
AUSTRALIA'S emerging sisters of the court, Alicia Molik and Samantha Stosur, are brimming with confidence heading into the big two events of the summer following stunning performances on opposite sides of the nation yesterday.
Molik made it three wins in a row at the Hopman Cup in Perth with a straight sets victory over American Meghann Shaughnessy.
It's a run she believes has given her the perfect preparation for this week's Medibank International in Sydney and the centenary Australian Open at Melbourne Park.
While Molik was turning heads in Perth, Gold Coast powerhouse Samantha Stosur surged into her maiden WTA final after claiming a fourth consecutive top-40 victim.
Stosur became only the fourth Australian woman in the past 20 years to make a WTA final on home soil when she swept through the last five games of a stirring 6-4 2-6 6-1 Uncle Tobys Hardcourts semi-final win over Italian veteran Silvia Farina Elia.
Stosur, 20, has not beaten a player ranked as highly as her final opponent today, world No.14 Patty Schnyder, but her ambition knows no bounds because her big-hitting game has fallen into place after an intensive three-week training camp in Sydney with new trainer Giselle Tirado and coach Noel Callaghan.
Molik, the Olympic bronze medallist, defeated Slovak Daniela Hantuchova, Dutch teenager Michaella Krajicek and Shaughnessy without conceding a set in Perth.
"It's great to play three matches and come up with three wins," Molik said.
"The most important thing is that I played a lot of sets this week, which is how much tennis you want going into Sydney and Melbourne.
"I feel like I'm hitting the ball great, I just have to keep it up for a few more weeks." Molik is the talk of the courts after her efforts over the past year, winning three WTA tournaments and ending 2004 ranked a career-best No.13.
Current world No.1 Lindsay Davenport, who could face the Australian at the Medibank International,
believes Molik has the power game to earn a place in the world's top 10.
Shaughnessy also dipped her hat to the South Australian.
"Alicia has been playing incredible tennis," she said.
While happy with her form so early in the new season, Molik still feels she has room for improvement before the Australian Open begins on January 17.
"You really don't want to peak this early in the summer, so hopefully I'm going to play my best tennis in a couple of weeks' time," she said.
Stosur's mother Dianne could not hold back her tears after the Australian No.3 mercilessly won 19 of the last 26 points on the Gold Coast against an opponent who had enjoyed a quarter-final walkover on Thursday while she had strained through a three-set win over Maggie Maleeva.
The Helensvale right-hander beat four top-40 players this week, including top 20 players Karolina Sprem (18) and Farina Elia (20).
She has been tipped as a future top-10 player by former Wimbledon champion Evonne Goolagong Cawley.
"There's not going to be more pressure than there was on me today. But I don't want it to end after winning today," said Stosur, who will improve her ranking by 10 places from her current No.65 if she can upset Schnyder.
"I have another match to play here on the Gold Coast, then I need to focus on Sydney and Melbourne."
Schnyder, a 3-6 6-4 6-3 winner over the impressive French teenager Tatiana Golovin, said Stosur played like "a man". "She has a lot of power in her arms."