Dokic to concentrate on her singles campaign (Australian Open Diary)

January 24th, 2009 - 10:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, Jan 24 (IANS) Australian Jelena Dokic withdrew from mixed doubles in preparation for her fourth-round clash with Russian Alisa Kleybanova in the Australian Open.Though Dokic has never played 19-year-old Kleybanova, the players are somewhat familiar, having practised together in Sydney and Brisbane before teaming up again in Melbourne last week.

Kleybanova, who upset fifth seed Ana Ivanovic Friday to match her best grand slam result, said she, Dokic and their coaches had become close, and expected the pair to make each other move during the centre court match.

“She’s a very nice person. We’ve been talking through this week, and also my coach and the coach of Jelena, they become very good friends here,” she said.

“So I’m looking forward to having a good match against her, because I just have to go out there and believe that I can win every match her and just try to play my best tennis.”

Mauresmo determined to come back to top-10

Former world No.1 Amelie Mauresmo is determined to halt her slide out of the top 10, highlighted by her third-round loss in Australian Open.

The 2006 Australian Open and Wimbledon champion last year slid out of the top-20 for the first time in 10 years and she will leave Melbourne in a few days to plot a revival.

The 29-year-old Frenchwoman bowed out to rising teenager Victoria Azarenka of Belarus. She was hampered by thigh and rib injuries last year as she fought to regain form.

Mauresmo said she would return to her home in Geneva to review her campaign.

“I will go back and see a little bit what happened during these two, three weeks,” Mauresmo said.

“Even though it’s now quite disappointing I think my level of play is coming back, it’s slowly getting there.

Simon hails Tsonga

Gilles Simon reached the fourth round of a grand slam tournament for the first time Saturday and then paid tribute to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for instilling genuine belief in France’s new generation of stars.

In a great day for the tricolours at the Australian Open, No.6 seed Simon set up an all-French clash with Gael Monfils by downing big-serving Croatian Mario Ancic 7-6 (7-2), 6-4, 6-2.

The 12th-seeded Monfils - who is also enjoying his best campaign at Melbourne Park - was largely untroubled in downing Spain’s Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 6-3, 7-5.

And No.5 seed Tsonga - who advanced all the way to last year’s final as an unseeded bolter - was too good for Israeli Dudi Sela, winning 6-4, 6-2, 1-6, 6-1.

The fourth member of the much-hyped generation of gifted Frenchmen aged in their early — to mid-20s, No.24 seed Richard Gasquet, lost to Chile’s Fernando Gonzalez in the third round.

Simon, Monfils and Tsonga are all among the top 12 seeds at the Open this year after making huge improvements in their rankings in 2008.

“It was really good for all of us because we are all practising together and I know it’s the same for Gael and for Richard,” said Simon.

“We know that we are all very good players, but there is not one better than the others. And to see Jo reach the final was really good for us and for our confidence.

“Finally we saw that we were able to do it and that’s why I think we had a great year last year.”

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