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Dokic Earns Australian Open Wildcard
MELBOURNE, Australia - Former Top 5 player Jelena Dokic took an important step forward over the weekend at Melbourne Park, powering through four opponents at the Australian Open wildcard play-off event. Her participation in the 2006 Australian Open will not only be her first Grand Slam main draw appearance since the 2004 US Open, it will also mark her return to major competition under the Australian flag. At Melbourne Park, Dokic, who's represented Serbia & Montenegro for the past five years, slugged her way past three opponents in straight sets before prevailing in a tight three-setter in the final. Unseeded, she ousted No.4 seed Beti Sekulovski 62 76(6) in the first round, Shayna McDowell 76(3) 61 in the quarterfinals, Trudi Musgrave 61 63 in the semifinals and Monique Adamczak 46 63 62 in the championship final.
"I was getting better and better with each match," Dokic said. "I think it's just a matter of nerves for me because I haven't played for so long, and I'm happy with that. I overcame that."
Currently ranked No.349 in the world, the 22-year-old Dokic is seeking a return to the form that carried her all the way to No.4 back in August 2002, as well as the Top 10 in doubles.
In the lead-up to the year's first major, Dokic is scheduled to make appearances in Auckland and Canberra, the latter being her first Tour event on Australian soil since the 2001 Australian Open.
"It will still take some time," Dokic said. "Definitely having these matches here has helped. The Australian Open is a very important tournament for me but I'm looking more towards the first six months of next year. My ranking's pretty low, so I have nothing to lose. I can only improve. Every match that I win is a bonus. There's absolutely no pressure on me.
"Getting in the Top 100 is my first goal so I can get into tournaments. Having some wildcards at the beginning will help, but if I can play well and improve well with each match I think I can get in the Top 50."