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Mateo Mathieu
Jan 10th, 2005, 03:21 AM
Molik ready to battle invaders

January 10, 2005

RED-HOT Alicia Molik says she is moving with bolstered confidence towards fresh battles with the Russians menacing women's tennis in Sydney and Melbourne.

Molik last year beat two of the three Russians who lifted first-time grand slam titles, Wimbledon winner Maria Sharapova and official world champion Anastasia Myskina, during her rise to No.13 in world rankings with wins in 26 of her past 30 matches.

Myskina and Russia's world No.6 Elena Dementieva could confront Molik this week at Sydney's Medibank International, at which world No.1 Lindsay Davenport is top seed, in a form check before next week's Australian Open.

"My game really matches up well against them. I don't think I have any more of an advantage or disadvantage than someone like Davenport or [Justine] Henin-Hardenne," Molik said.

"I don't deny I have a reasonable record against them and every time I play one of the top 20 girls lately, I always get in a position to win - every single match."

Molik, touted by Davenport as one of the Open title chances, is seeded to play Russia's fourth seed Vera Zvonareva, ranked No.11, in the Sydney quarter-finals and they are in the same half of the draw as second seed Myskina.

Molik, 23, has a 2-2 win-loss record in career meetings with French Open winner Myskina, having beaten her in straight sets in the Athens Olympic bronze medal playoff last August, and is 1-1 with Dementieva.

Of the two other Russian top-10 players entered at the Australian Open but not playing in Sydney, Sharapova has a 2-1 advantage over Molik and US Open winner Svetlana Kuznetsova holds a 4-2 edge over the Australian No.1.

"Next time I play Sharapova, I'll be looking to make it even," Molik said.

"There are so many quality Russians and they all give you a bloody hard time. They are a huge force and they are fighters on the court."

After winning all her three Hopman Cup matches,

Molik's first opponent in Sydney is Italy's world No.19 Francesca Schiavone - a first-round match contested by two top-20 players which attests to the depth of the women's field.

Molik says she does not concern herself with opinions on her tennis, but credit paid by Davenport and Myskina indicates how she is now being seen as a major player on the tour.

"She's improved a lot. I played her in Sarasota, Florida in 2003 and I beat her really easy," Myskina said.

"Her serve is the big thing that is making her play great. She is serving 12 aces per match and I can serve 12 double-faults per match, which makes a difference.

"She's become a really aggressive player."

Molik's coach David Taylor, who previously worked with former world No.1 Martina Hingis, said her amiable nature had been wrongly interpreted in Australia often as "being too relaxed" about her career.

"To win a grand slam when you haven't been past a fourth round at one, like Alicia has, is a very ambitious goal," Taylor said.

"But she can have a real impact in Melbourne and if she is in the final, then it's happy days.

"It's not surprising her peers are saying these things about her because she is beating a lot of them. Alicia doesn't read much into that hype and still has the attitude that her game isn't complete."

Australian Fed Cup captain John Alexander said: "It doesn't always come across, her fierce desire to be a much better player. She was always unfairly tagged in Australia as an under-achiever."

Alexander has tipped Molik to win one or more Grand Slam titles in the next year and said yesterday Davenport was "a very good judge".

"Alicia's form in Perth, especially in how she dismissed Meghann Shaughnessy, who is a serious player, was unbelievable," Alexander said.

The Daily Telegraph

Danke Anke
Jan 10th, 2005, 03:29 AM
:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Even Maria Sharapova's people would roll their eyes about how overhyped this girl is...

:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Huntress555
Jan 10th, 2005, 03:32 AM
Well when australia have had a serious drought in top tennis players for women, of course they get excited when an aussie women is doing well. I think they should just settle down abit though, I rate Molik highly and I do think shes in with a chance though.
Good on her for being confident.

tennischick
Jan 10th, 2005, 03:33 AM
good for Molik. it would be so awesome if she won ;)

clonesheep
Jan 10th, 2005, 03:49 AM
Those who are overhyped before the big tournaments seldom win. Myskina was not hyped at all before French Open and she won. Mauresmo was hyped and she lost. Although Maria drew a lot of attention before Wimbledon 04, she was not hyped as the next winner, and she won. Kuznetsova was not hyped before USO and again she won.

pav
Jan 10th, 2005, 03:55 AM
Yes as well as Alicia is playing, I would like to think She has Her feet firmly grounded and is not worried yet about squadrons of Russians, but Her first opponent the always tough and dangerous Miss Franny Fine!

firefly_ac
Jan 10th, 2005, 05:58 AM
it would certainly be a refreshing change to have a serious contender for the OZ Open esp from Down Under, up against the Russian gals who r so predominant on the tour right now :P Go Molik!

Marcus1979
Jan 10th, 2005, 06:16 AM
Go ALicia

We finally have a player that is capable of going deep in a grand slam.

:woohoo:

switz
Jan 10th, 2005, 06:18 AM
it's good in one way but i do admit i am worried about all these expectations. i think she's improved a hell of a lot from the girl who struggled to look like pro player sometimes but i would just like to see how she does here becauset the reality is that she tighten up at wimbledon and US Open last year and this is going to be a lot of expectations facing her.

she can do really well in melbourne no doubt but i hardly think beating shaughnessy was a big sign of things to come though considering dani beat her easily and she didn't beat michaela easily either.

Lemonskin.
Jan 10th, 2005, 08:01 AM
I really hope she does well.

I just hope we're not jinxing her :scared:

Marcus1979
Jan 10th, 2005, 08:17 AM
my initial fear last year when she won Zurich was that this kind of Press would come out.

but it seems that she has a level head.

I just hope she does not self destruct from pressure.

Look at players like Amelie Mauresmo.

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

xr6turbo
Jan 10th, 2005, 08:44 AM
Go Alicia!! :woohoo: :dance:

vertigo
Jan 10th, 2005, 09:34 AM
I thought that she was completely overrated until i watched the hopman cup- where she played like a demon. Her confidence is high and she seems to react well to an aussie crowd. She is definately a contender for the Oz, and her chances are improving everyday with all of the injuries about and her high amount of match practice. :bounce:

Arggggg! Come on the 17th Jan!!

Marcus1979
Jan 10th, 2005, 09:38 AM
She has a great 2nd serve and Forehand

that is what helps her.

and she has more self belief now

tennnisfannn
Jan 10th, 2005, 09:43 AM
Myskina had never been past the QF of a slam before the FO and when she did, she won the title. To date it remains the only slam she has ever gone past the QF, amazinf isn't it. Alicia can go all the way but alot is gonna depend on the draw.

Marcus1979
Jan 10th, 2005, 09:46 AM
she can defeat most of the top 4 players on her day.

Davenport is the only one she has yet to beat

LindsayRulez
Jan 10th, 2005, 10:52 AM
I like Alicia and everything but she doesn't have what it takes to win a slam...even her match against Shaughnessy was pretty dodgy, she shanked a lot of forehands and didn't start picking up her serve until the second set, Meghann was just making a lot of errors. But I wish her the best of luck (except against Lindsay of course lol)

Prizeidiot
Jan 10th, 2005, 12:09 PM
I'm sure she can knock the top players off.... but not so sure she can beat 2 or 3 or 4 in consecutive matches to take out the title. The potential is there, we'll just have to find out what she does with it...