The Age
Dokic out in dramatic fashion

Tuesday September 5, 2000


NEW YORK, Sept 4 - Australian teenager Jelena Dokic's brave US Open campaign came to a controversial end today when she lost out to defending champion Serena Williams in the fourth round.

Dokic lost 7-6 6-0, but the result may well have been different but for a bad line call which robbed her of the first set.

Once again admirably putting aside the off-court dramas associated with her father Damir, Dokic more than matched her more illustrious opponent through a tight first set, in which neither player had a break point.

In the tiebreak, she quickly slipped 4-1 behind with a series of errors, but fought back to take the next five points to hold two set points at 6-4 as the fifth seed faltered.

As the centre court crowd sensed the beginings of an upset, Williams saved the first set point on her own serve for 6-5.

Dokic then served for the set, and after playing a well judged rally, slammed a backhand winner which caught the line, but which was called wide by the line judge.

With the crowd booing, Dokic set up another set point at 7-6, but with Williams serving, the Australian netted a forehand. Williams served strongly for 8-7, and another netted forehand from Dokic then ended the set.

Clearly dispirited by having come so close and missing out, Dokic could not get into the fight in the second set.

While she hadn't yet seen the TV replays which confirmed the crucial call was wrong, the 17-year-old later said she believed she would have won the match if it had have been called in.

“Yep, for sure,” she said.

“If I won that first set maybe I would've won the match in two sets.

“You get on a roll and if I won the set, the pressure's on her -- she's a defending champion.

“You start getting a few serves back get into the points she gets a bit tight.”

Dokic, who has shown phenomenal mental toughness on and off the court throughout her career, remained philosophical.

“You can look at that ball in two ways,” she said. “It could've been in but it was called out. It's too late to change it now.”

Of her second set capitulation, Dokic said: “It's always hard to come out and play the next set when you've lost such a tight first set. I'd gotten so close to winning that set against Serena.”

Still, after improving on her first round exit here last year to get her equal second best grand slam result after the Wimbledon semi-final this year, Dokic could be pleased with her tournament.

She won her first three matches in straight sets, and played her last three in the shadow of her father and coach's ejection from the tournament, and in the knowledge that he will probably be barred from the women's tour once the Open is over.

“Getting to the fourth round is great for me,” she said.

“Again I'm a little disappointed today that I didn't get that first set.

“I've got to learn from it. That's where expeirence comes into play. The more you play the more experienced you are.”

Dokic said she would fly back to Australia in about a week to prepare for the Olympics.



Original article