Jelena Dokic Tour Results: Interviews and Articles
Sarasota Clay Court Classic 2003
Meadows Country Club in Sarasota, Florida, USA
01 April, 2003
Paola Suarez / Jelena Dokic (1), 6-3, 6-3.
heraldtribune.com: Southwest Florida's Information Leader
Defending champion eliminated
Jelena Dokic bounced in first round by Paola Suarez in straight sets
By TOM BALOG
SARASOTA -- If ever a No. 1 seed and defending champion was set up for a
quick fall, it was Jelena Dokic Tuesday in the Sarasota Clay Court Classic.
Paola Suarez was the perfect opponent and the timing of their match was
equally fortuitous for transforming the event's reigning champion into an
Before Dokic had any time to make the transition of surfaces, from hard
courts to her first clay event of the season, Suarez methodically bounced
her from the $140,000 tournament in straight sets.
The 26-year-old Suarez tapped into her lifelong experience on clay courts
dating back to her youth in Argentina to frustrate Dokic, 6-3, 6-3 Tuesday
in an opening round match at The Meadows Country Club.
The other finalist from last year's Sarasota tournament, eighth-seeded
Tatiana Panova of Russia, also lost, 6-3, 7-5 to Iroda Tulyaganova of
That clears the way for Suarez (ranked 29th) and No. 2 seed Anastasia
Myskina of Russia (ranked 11th) to seize the favorite roles with three
rounds remaining before Sunday's final.
Myskina had an easy time with Emilie Loit of France, 6-0, 6-3.
Dokic, the 19-year- old from Yugoslavia who is ranked 10th in the latest
WTA rankings, blamed her demise on not enough practice time on a clay
surface, after reaching the quarterfinals last week in Miami.
"I was just not used to the clay," Dokic said. "I'm disappointed. But I
only had two days of practice on clay. Last year I practiced two weeks on
clay and that makes a difference. I just didn't feel comfortable moving,
hitting, nothing. It was just not there. Too many errors."
"Clay is my favorite surface,'' Suarez said. "And being the first
tournament on clay, it's going to be a little bit difficult for all the
hard (court) players to try to get (adjusted) on clay."
Dokic was down 4-0 in the second set, and her game was reduced to
"I got to the stage where I was just trying to get the ball in and make
her play a little bit,'' Dokic said. "Which is not the way you want to
play a match. That's what you don't want in your first match on clay is
someone who gets a lot of balls in."
However, Dokic did rally to win three straight games to make the second
set competitive, at least temporarily.
"I couldn't get a ball in, so I just thought I would hit and see what
happens,'' Dokic said. "She made some errors and I came back. I still had
40-15 and 40-love in the last games, which I didn't win, which shouldn't
Dokic broke Suarez's serve, but then Suarez broke Dokic right back.
"The match was a little bit strange,'' Suarez said. "Too much up and down,
Dokic had ample opportunity to recover and win the set, with two triple
break points, before losing. Trailing 5-3, she was up 40-15 and squandered
three chances to put the game away.
"I gave her two free points in each game," Dokic said.
Myskina was just thrilled to have won an opening round match after losing
opening matches in her previous two tournaments at Indian Wells (Cailf.)
"I was really depressed the last couple weeks and almost quit with
tennis,'' Myskina said. "I was nervous really bad before (the match). My
confidence came back after a couple of games. Everything was strong today
except (my) serve. I think Russians all have a problem with serves, so
it's kind of a Russian thing."
Myskina will face the winner of today's match between her two fellow
Russians, her friend Elena Likhovtseva (30th in the world) and Nadia
Suarez faces Slovakian Maja Matevzic, who defeated Jennifer Hopkins, 7-6
(7-0), 3-6, 7-6 (7-5) Tuesday.
In the other early match of note, Conchita Martinez (25th ) knocked off Ai
Sugiyama (17th) 6-2, 7-5.
Last modified: April 02. 2003 3:33AM
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