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Pisnik Dumps Dokic Out Of Roland Garros

Photo By Susan Mullane By Richard Pagliaro

The solid sound of Jelena Dokic's racquet repeatedly slamming against its intended target reverberated throughout the court. For two hours and three minutes, Jelena Dokic strained to find the range on her strokes, but when it was time to smash her racquet to the court, a disgusted Dokic displayed fine form.

Despite the consistent abuse, the racquet didn't disintegrate, but Dokic's game did. Dissolving in self-destructive play that saw her deliver 14 double faults and 89 unforced errors, the 10th-seeded Dokic was bounced from the French Open today as Tina Pisnik scored a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 second-round victory.

The 22-year-old Pisnik, who had won only two matches in her Roland Garros career prior to today's triumph, advanced to the third round where she will play 2000 tournament runner-up Conchita Martinez. The 24th-seeded Spaniard stopped Swiss Emmanuelle Gagliardi 7-5, 6-2, in her second-round match.

A Roland Garros quarterfinalist last year, Dokic has struggled to find her form this year.

In an attempt to assert authority over her own career and diminish the influence of domineering dad Damir Dokic, Jelena hired Heinz Gunthardt as her new coach in December. While Gunthardt, who coached Steffi Graf to 12 Grand Slam titles, has tried to help Dokic develop her volley to take advantage of her fast, flat ground strokes, Jelena has struggled to adapt to a new style of play. Once ranked as high as No. 4, Dokic has dropped to No. 10 in the rankings.

Time is Dokic's side, she is only 20, but admits she has struggled to gain her confidence amid the uncertainty and indecision she feels on the court.

"Maybe if you have done as well as I have in the last few years you get to a stage where you slow down a bit and don't have such a good year," Dokic said. "Your confidence goes a little and you take a step back."

Unable to deviate from a losing game today, Dokic remains a one-dimensional player, who at the moment, appears unwilling or unable to add more topspin necessary to prolong points in lengthy clay-court exchanges.

Pisnik was particularly effective in exploiting Dokic's flat shots with a biting slice that Dokic could not counter. It was the same tactic Martinez used in dumping Dokic out of Rome, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, three weeks ago. And until she starts adjusting her game, playing with more variety and applying the lessons she learns from the defeats, Dokic is doomed to suffer further upsets.
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