Dokic passes first AO test in searing conditions
17 Jan 2012
Jelena Dokic raced through to the second round at the Australian Open for the second consecutive year, requiring just 48 minutes to dispose of former world No.5 Anna Chakvetadze today.
Before a packed crowd on Margaret Court Arena, the Australian ensured they would not have to bake outside in the sun for too long, winning 6-2 6-1 after Chakvetadze sprayed her 32nd error.
A player known for her exhilarating highs and heartbreaking lows throughout her Australian Open playing history – her first appearance was in 1999 as a 15-year-old wildcard – Dokic was remarkably steady despite conditions that were extremely difficult to navigate.
She broke serve immediately and quickly established a 3-0 lead, playing with controlled aggression and keeping her unforced errors relatively low.
Chakvetadze won her first game from 15-40 down, an impressive response to the winners Dokic had hit to bring up two break points. But Dokic’s ball-striking was far superior, and a backhand winner off a short ball helped her establish a 5-2 lead.
The Australian became error prone herself in the eighth game, but it was Chakvetadze’s errors that again proved the most costly, helping Dokic wrap up the opening set on her second set point just shy of half-an-hour.
The two women met in the second round of Australian Open 2009 in a feature night match on Rod Laver Arena, a match Dokic won in three dramatic sets as part of her memorable run to the quarterfinals.
Yet this match was decidedly less absorbing than that. In fact, it was an ugly affair, littered with errors – mainly off the Russian’s racquet – and devoid of any real rhythm or rallies. The heat and gusting northerly winds no doubt contributed to this.
It also seemed to make Chakvetadze completely disinterested in the contest. Down 2-0 and with Dokic leading 40-0 on serve in the third game, she struck a groundstroke and began walking before it even landed. For the record, it was out.
Just minutes later Dokic was serving for the match leading 5-1, and wasted little time in getting the job done. The second set lasted just 19 minutes.
Dokic, a former world No.4, will next meet the winner of the match between Frenchwomen Marion Bartoli and Virginie Razzano.