Bartoli closes down Dokic’s AO run
19 Jan 2012
Marion Bartoli closed the door on the possibility of the 2012 Australian Open having a Australian women’s champion when she ousted Jelena Dokic 6-3 6-2.
Bartoli only needed a brief 72-minutes to secure her place in the third round on Thursday night.
Dokic was one of eight Australian women to be featured in the women’s main draw and the last Aussie lady standing. Sixth-seeded Sam Stosur, the reigning U.S. Open champion, was considered the player most likely to succeed here but was upset by Sorana Cirstea of Romania in the first round.
The ninth-seeded Bartoli’s win was not unexpected: she’s a top 10 player, a former Wimbledon finalist and last year reached the French Open semifinals.
In contrast, Dokic has had an uneven career at best. In 2002 she ranked a career high No. 4, now she’s ranked at No. 64, and in-between she’s plummeted to as low as the 600s and didn’t play in 2007.
Dokic, 28, spent most of the fall sidelined with a right shoulder injury kept. She only played one tournament following the U.S. Open, which ended in early September.
After a first round loss in Auckland and second round loss in Sydney, it’s clear that Dokic is still looking to find acceptable form in 2012. She certainly didn’t find that form against Bartoli: she only won four of eight service games and was seriously hindered by her serve, getting only 48% of her first serves in play and only winning 33 percent of her second serves that went into play.
“I was kind of on the back foot not being able to get a lot of first serves in,” Dokic said. “It put a lot of pressure on my serve. Then, of course, it was a lot harder to break her because she did have a couple of easy games.”
Bartoli is primed with a quirky playing style — just watch her shadow forehands while waiting on the baseline to receive and you’ll get the point. Against Dokic, Bartoli did what she does best with her two-fisted style off of both flanks. She took the ball early, packed a heavy punch with her groundstrokes, and stubbornly held her ground. Bartoli is without a doubt a born competitor.
Next up for the Frenchwoman is a meeting against Zheng Jie of China, who defeated Roberta Vinci of Italy 6-4, 6-2. They’ve played twice before for a split decision and the last time was here at Melbourne Park. That was also a third round encounter and Zheng took a 5- 7, 6-3, 6-0 decision.
“It’s going to be a great match I’m sure,” Bartoli said. “My condition and my serve are better than they were the last time and that will be the two keys to being able to beat her this time.”
While Bartoli is looking forward to the next match, Dokic is looking ahead to pulling her game back together and making a statement on the tour this year.
“It’s still a work in progress,” Dokic said of her game. “It will still take some time. It’s not going to be easy just to come out at a Grand Slam and play a top-10 player and perform the way that you want to perform.
“It will still take some time. I’m happy with the improvement that I’m making. I just need to keep on working and play as many matches as I can.”