Jelena Dokic Tour Results: Interviews and Articles
Sarasota Open 2002
Meadows Country Club in Sarasota, Florida, USA
07 April, 2002
J. Dokic / T. Panova, 6-2, 6-2
HeraldTribune.com: Sarasota: Story
TENNIS / Sarasota Open
posted 04/06/02 (04/08/02)
By JASON SWANCEY
SARASOTA -- Sunday's Sarasota Open championship match wasn't supposed to be much
of a contest, and it delivered. Yugoslavia's Jelena Dokic, the tournament's top
seed and No. 9 in the world, rolled over Tatiana Panova, No. 25 in the world, in
straight sets 6-2, 6-2 before a standing room only crowd of 1,700-plus at The
Meadows Country Club.
Dokic kept points short and overwhelmed her smaller opponent by painting lines
with both forehands and backhands. In fact, Dokic rolled through the entire
tournament, winning nine straight sets and only dropping 22 games, while
wrapping up the title Sunday in under an hour (55 minutes).
"I played her (Panova) once before; I knew she had no huge weapons," said Dokic,
who also beat Panova 6-3, 6-1, on clay at the Italian Open in 2000. "But she can
be difficult on clay; she can chase a lot down. I just wanted to be aggressive
and run her around."
That's where Panova wasn't quite up to the challenge. She wasn't as fortunate as
Dokic was on Saturday, when her semifinal opponent (Virginie Razzano) retired
just one game into the second set with an elbow injury. Panova was busy
disposing of the tournament's second seed, Meghann Shaugnessy, in a grueling 7-6
(11-9), 6-4 match.
So finally, the little Russian who stands just over 5 feet tall and had used her
speed to leg out every break she got in the $140,000 WTA Tour Tier IV event, had
run out of steam.
"I was running all over, but she played good match and I expect her to win,"
said Panova, who also went deep into the Nasdaq-100 only a week earlier before
losing to Jennifer Capriati in the quarterfinals.
"She didn't spend too much time on court like me, and she wasn't so tired like I
Panova's weakened legs were also affecting her serve, often forcing her to feed
Dokic with soft second serves.
"I was always on second serve, and the point was already over," said Panova,
explaining how Dokic was jumping all over her second serves. "I'm just pushing
the ball in, and she's too good for that."
Dokic was just too good. The 18-year-old also teamed with Russian Elena
Likhovtseva to beat Els Callens and Conchita Martinez for the doubles title. She
did, however, drop a set in doing so, beating Martinez and Callens 6-7, 6-3 and
So between her singles and doubles matches, Dokic did actually log some court
time, turning around and playing doubles a half-hour after taking the singles
crown. Of course she also collected $25,250 ($22,000 for the singles title) for
her combined efforts.
The singles title was the first of the year for Dokic, who has been forced to
exit early from three straight tournaments (Antwerp, Indian Wells and Key
Biscayne). And before that, she had reached the final of the Paris Indoors in
early February against Venus Williams and had to withdraw from that as well, due
to a nagging thigh injury. So more than anything, just getting through a
tournament without a strained wrist or sprained ankle is enough to make Dokic
crack a smile.
"To play an entire tournament without getting injured, and to get my first win
this year is nice," said Dokic, who captured her first three career tournament
titles on tour last year, and will now concentrate on the French Open, which
starts May 27.
"I was able to adjust to clay and play my game, and not let anyone change my
game, because clay can do that to you.
"Even though I hit pretty hard, I feel like my game is really suited for clay."
Dokic dictated every point, and Panova found out how difficult it can be to pick
on someone's weaknesses when you can't find any.
"She (Dokic) believes in herself, and hits the ball real hard," said Panova.
"She has no weakness, good forehand, good backhand. She's just good on all
The first-year tournament also drew rave reviews from both Panova (who took home
$12,000) and Dokic, who both said the accommodations and level of play far
exceeded their expectations of a Tier IV event.
"I didn't expect it to be so nice. I must say I am really impressed and I had a
great time here," Dokic said.
Jelena Dokic drives a forehand return to Tatiana Panova during the final
on Sunday at The Meadows Country Club.
Serving the Herald-Tribune newspaper and SNN Channel 6
The interview article quoted from the Sarasota HeraldTribune.com - http://www.heraldtribune.com/sarasota/