Fri, Jul 30, 2004 - Page 23 News List

Alicia Molik shocks Amelie Mauresmo

PROFESSIONAL TENNIS It was the second meeting between the players, but Molik still had a 7-5, 7-5 loss to Mauresmo at the Australian Open fresh on her mind


Spain's Conchita Martinez hits a return to Iveta Benesova of Slovakia during the Acura Classic in Carlsbad, California, Wednesday.


Australia's Alicia Molik used a dominating serve to upset second-seeded Amelie Mauresmo 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 Wednesday in the second round of the Acura Classic.

Molik, unseeded and ranked 29th in the world, overcame Mauresmo of France in the third set by using her strong serve to control play, losing just two points on her five service games and none in the last three.

"I was impressed with the way I served it out," Molik said. "Forget the match. To serve it out at love against someone like Mauresmo, I think I can pat myself on the back."

It was only the second meeting between the players, but Molik still had a 7-5, 7-5 loss to Mauresmo at the Australian Open fresh on her mind.

"Revenge a little bit," Molik said. "In saying that I didn't win last time, I was more determined this time. I knew that if I did get my chances, I would work that much harder and make sure that I would close it out."

Mauresmo, who had a first-round bye, did not play like the No. 3-ranked player in the world. She certainly did not resemble the player who reached at least the quarterfinals in each of the three Grand Slam events this year.

"She played great, especially on her service game," Mauresmo said. "It was very difficult for me to break her because she was serving so well."

Fourth-seeded Lindsay Davenport staved off an early challenge before winning the final nine games to beat Croatia's Karolina Sprem 6-4, 6-0 in her opening match on Wednesday night.

Davenport, who has won her last two tournaments, extended her winning streak to 10 matches.

The American, who had a first-round bye, traded early service breaks with Sprem in the first set and then held her serve at 4-all to start the streak. Sprem, who upset Venus Williams at Wimbledon before losing in straight sets to Davenport in the quarterfinals, hurt herself with six double faults in the first set alone.

Davenport, fresh off an easy victory over Serena Williams in the finals of the Carson event on Sunday, also won the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford the week before. Davenport is attempting to win all three California summer WTA events for the second time in her career. She pulled off the feat in 1998 when she went on to win the US Open, the first of her three Grand Slam titles.

With three more wins on Wednesday, seven of the eight Russian players entered have advanced to the third round. No. 7 Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia beat Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia 6-1, 6-2; Elena Bovina of Russia defeated Eleni Daniilidou of Greece 6-1, 6-4; and Elena Likhovtseva of Russia downed the Czech Republic's Barbora Strycova 6-4, 6-3.

Mauresmo is the highest ranked player Molik has ever beaten. The victory was only the Australian's fourth against a top 10 opponent.

Molik, winner of two career WTA titles, was down 3-0 in the first set. Molik rebounded with a break, and the players were back on serve with Mauresmo holding a 5-4 lead. With a set point facing her in the 10th game, Molik served an ace, won the game and finished off the set.

After Mauresmo won the second set by winning the first three games, Molik started the third set by taking a 3-0 lead with a break in the second game. The players held serve the rest of the way.

Argentine No. 9 Paola Suarez lost 6-3, 6-0 to Marion Bartoli of France.

In other second-round matches, eighth-seeded Ai Sugiyama of Japan defeated countrywoman Shinobu Asagoe 6-2, 6-2, and Spain's Conchita Martinez, making her 13th appearance here, was a 6-3, 6-4 winner over Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic. It marked the 10th time that Martinez, the 1995 champion, won her first two matches here.

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