Melbourne Park, 17 December 2010 | tennis.com.au
Top seed Alicia Molik (Vic) and former world No.4 Jelena Dokic (NSW) will meet in a highly anticipated semifinal at the Australian Open Play-off on Saturday.
Molik will face No.3 seed Dokic after she came from one set down to defeat Canberra’s Alison Bai in a ‘sudden death’ group match, 3-6 6-3 6-1.
“Sometimes it’s nice to have that pressure on, where you have to produce a result. My goal now is to be there on Sunday,” Molik said.
Molik praised the efforts of Dokic since returning from injury and spoke of the similarities in their successful tennis careers.
“We haven’t played for many years now and we’ve always had a healthy rivalry. You go through so many emotions in your career and a lot of hurdles, but we’ve both been able to overcome a lot.
“She is as desperate and as eager as I am so I think it will be a really interesting match.”
Dokic was pushed to three sets by Tammi Patterson (Vic) in her final group match of the Play-off but was confident heading into the semifinal.
“I played Alicia in juniors a couple of times and I think we played here [at Melbourne Park] at under-18s,” recalled Dokic.
“We go back a long way so we know each other very well. I need to be ready mentally for a very tough match. I need to lift my game.”
The Fed Cup squad members have played each other on three occasions with Molik beating Dokic twice. Their last encounter was in 2003 when Dokic defeated the former world No.8 in straight sets at a hard court WTA tournament in Miami. Molik is currently ranked seven places higher than Dokic at 130 in the WTA standings.
Joining them in the semifinals on Saturday will be No.2 seed Sophie Ferguson (NSW) and Commonwealth Games silver medallist Olivia Rogowska (Vic), who both enjoyed comfortable straight sets wins in their quarterfinals.
In the men’s draw, Peter Luczak (Vic) will meet Matthew Ebden (WA) in a rematch of their bronze medal play-off at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, and the top seed hoped to carry his positive mindset into the semifinal.
“If you win three or four matches here you feel on top of the world, especially if you have earned your wildcard,” Luczak said.
“I’m still very motivated so I was happy to have that feeling out on the court.”
Luczak enjoyed a straight sets victory against fellow Victorian James Lemke in today’s quarterfinal, 6-3 7-6(5).
In the other men’s semifinal, No.2 seed Marinko Matosevic (Vic) will face Adam Feeney (NSW) after Matosevic defeated junior French Open semifinalist James Duckworth of New South Wales.
The Australian Open Play-off offers homegrown talent the opportunity to play against the world’s best at the Australian Open, with the last man and woman standing to receive a wildcard into the Grand Slam® tournament in January.
Selected matches will also be streamed live on the Tennis Australia website: http://live.tennis.com.au. Viewers can also send comments during matches using Facebook Connect or using the hashtag #aoplayoff on Twitter.