Australian wildcard Jelena Dokic’s fairytale run at the Australian Open continued yesterday when she downed Denmark’s 11th seed Caroline Wozniacki 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 in the third round.
Dokic, whose well-documented problems with her now estranged father Damir forced her out of the game for four years, came back from losing the first set to overwhelm the Dane in the second and third.
Riding a wave of emotion and enjoying rapturous support from the capacity crowd, Dokic won five consecutive games from 1-1 in the second set to turn the match around after being outplayed by Wozniacki in the first set.
Dokic is making what she has acknowledged is her final attempt at a comeback after reaching No. 4 in the world when she was just 16.
Once a much criticized figure in Australia after she left the country she moved to as a 10-year-old to play Fed Cup for Serbia, Dokic has won over the Melbourne fans this week with her frank admissions about her past family problems.
“I’m sorry for being a pain,” she told the crowd yesterday. “I know I’ve been difficult at times and I want to apologize for that.”
Meanwhile her father, Damir, says he hasn’t given up on reconciling with estranged daughter.
Speaking from his home in Serbia, Damir told Australian Associated Press he would consider contacting Jelena after the tournament.
He said her “about a month ago” and claimed she told him a reconciliation was possible.
Jelena, 25, admitted earlier this week that she “cracked” when she was 19 and at the top of her game.
She subsequently suffered severe depression. She blamed her downfall largely on her father.
Damir hasn’t been back to Australia since taking Jelena and the rest of the family back to Serbia after claiming the 2001 Open draw had been rigged.
It was one of a series of controversies including being ejected from the US Open in 2000 for abusing staff over the price of a salmon lunch.
He also made headlines for smashing a journalist’s phone at Wimbledon and at one point threatened to kidnap his daughter, claiming she had been brainwashed by Australia “with the help of Croatia and the Vatican.”