Molik and Smeets earn Aus Open spots
20 December 2006
Robert Smeets and Alicia Molik have earned wildcards into the Australian Open main draw after winning the wildcard playoffs at Melbourne Park.
Olympic bronze medallist and former world number 8 Molik recorded a sound 6-4 6-4 win over young West Australian Jessica Moore to secure her place in the Australian Open main draw.
The South Australian said she was really pushed by her teenaged opponent, but was happy with her game.
“Jess really played well, she surprised me,” Molik said. “I probably could have polished off a few returning games a little bit sooner but overall I was a lot happier with the way I served and very pleased to win the wildcard.
“It’s always difficult going out against the youngsters,” she said.
“I would kill to be 16 again. You sort of go out there with no fear.” Molik said she was as ready as she would ever be leading into January.
“I couldn’t ask anymore of myself over the last five, six, seven weeks,” she said. “I feel like I’ve set myself up really well. It will hold me in good stead going into the Hopman Cup.”
In the men’s playoff 21-year-old Robert Smeets got away to a flying start against the more experienced Joe Sirianni (VIC) claiming the first set of the men’s final in just 20 minutes. The second set was tougher, and he dropped the third set before bouncing back to post a 6-1 7-5 3-6 6-3 win.
The Queenslander said he was thrilled to score a place in his first Australian Open main draw.
“I got a little nervous there at the very end,” he said. “It hasn’t sunk in yet really. I’m extremely relieved. I had a long week, trained hard.
“Finally I’m starting to break through a little bit now. Hopefully I can keep going.”
The Australian Open offers a total of 16 main draw wildcard spots (eight men and eight women). One men’s and one women’s wildcard is offered in reciprocal exchanges with both the French Open and the US Open and to the winners of the Asian Tennis Championships.
A wildcard was also offered to the best performed Australian players on the Kia Pro Circuit with the women’s wildcard going to Casey Dellacqua (WA) and the men’s to Alun Jones (ACT). This leaves three men’s and three women’s wildcards still to be allocated.