Dokic wins wild-card at Australian Open

Updated: December 21, 2008, 12:25 AM ET
Associated Press

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Former Wimbledon semifinalist Jelena Dokic won a wild-card spot at next month's Australian Open by beating Monica Wejnert 6-7 (3), 7-5, 6-3 in a playoff on Sunday.

The 25-year-old Dokic, a former No. 4 in 2002, fell behind 3-0 in the opening set but recovered for the win in a playoff organized by Tennis Australia to allocate the spots for local players.

She will now attempt to qualify for tuneup tournaments in Brisbane and Hobart before taking her place in the main draw at Melbourne Park beginning Jan. 19.

"I don't have to worry about the Australian Open now," Dokic said. "I came into here wanting to play qualifying but to be in the main draw gives me two tournaments before the Open to play."

A series of injuries and personal problems, many of them involving her father Damir, accompanied Dokic's ranking plummet to 617 in 2006.

But she won three second-tier titles this year and has improved her ranking to 179 -- her first time inside the top 200 in four years.

Dokic moved to Australia with her family in 1994 but renounced her former home in 2001 and took up citizenship in her native Serbia. She decided to play again for Australia in 2006.

She was a semifinalist at Wimbledon in 2000, losing in straight sets to Lindsay Davenport, but made bigger headlines there the year before when, as a 16-year-old qualifier, she beat No. 1 Martina Hingis in the first round.

Dokic, who has five career singles titles, said she no longer speaks to her father, who has been kicked out of the U.S. Open, Wimbledon and other tournaments for volatile outbursts. When the family left Australia, Damir Dokic also implied that the Australian Open draw was rigged against his daughter.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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