After winning two straight ITF titles in Italy, the Australian has shown she is serious about tennis once again. But, starting from a ranking of 431 in the world, the hard work starts now.
Dokic claims she is aiming for a top-50 finish by the end of this year. This will certainly be very difficult, but is a realistic challenge for someone with her capabilities.
Jelena Dokic has proven that she is taking her comeback seriously, with a convincing final victory in the ITF $25,000 tournament in Caserta, Italy. The title is the second straight tournament for Dokic, who also claimed the title in Florence last week.
Dokic defeated her Austrian opponent, Patricia Mayr, in style with a 6-3 6-1 victory. The win gives the Australian her 12th straight victory on Italian clay, meaning she has now won 15 of her last 16 matches.
She finally emerged from the wilderness last week with a ranking of 431, due to her progress in Auckland and the Australian Open qualifying earlier in the year, as well as the points she gained qualifying in Fes two weeks ago.
The sometime Serbian, sometime Australian was hailed as the next big thing when she burst onto the scene in 1999. But, after reaching a career-high ranking of number four in the world, a succession of injuries and family problems have seen her plummet over recent years.
Dokic has made immense progress of late, which begun with Fes, where she managed to win three straight matches to qualify for the main draw, before falling in straight sets to Great Arn. Although this was an early loss, the result was positive since all of her opponents were higher ranked than her.
Willing to show that wasn't a fluke, Dokic entered the tournament in Florence last week, where she had to go through qualifying, before storming through the main draw and capturing her first ITF title - her first title in almost six years. The run through the tournament was impressive, with six of her seven matches won in straight sets, including the final over seventh seed Lucie Hradecka.
With her confidence brimming, Dokic entered the Caserta tournament in Italy. Fortunately, she was given special entry and didn't have to qualify. Her first-round match was against number one seed Jorgelina Cravero, where she struggled but eventually outlasted the Argentinian to win in a tight three-set match 3-6 7-5 6-2.
She then stormed through the tournament, defating Virgili, Palkina, Schaeffer and then Mayr in the final, all in straight sets. The two victories in Florence and Caserta will contribute greatly to Dokic's current ranking of 431. In fact, it should help boost her to around 284.
Things are certainly looking up for the Australian, who is fighting hard to return to the top echelons in the game. She claims she is aiming for a top-50 finish by the end of this year. This will certainly be very difficult, but is a realistic challenge for someone with her capabilities.
With her ranking on the up, she will now gain greater access to higher-level ITF tournaments, giving her the chance to gain more points and make even greater progress up the rankings. Dokic's resurgence is coming at a great time, with the French Open set to begin in less than two weeks.
She has just received a wildcard entry into the main draw of the $175,000 tournament in Strasbourg this week, where she will face the young Swiss rising star, Timea Bacsinszky. Let's hope it's the start of something special.