by Nyree Epplett
Saturday, January 22, 2000
Alicia Molik's dream run at the Australian Open came to an
abrupt end Saturday at the hands of the top seed and
three-time defending champion Martina Hingis.
Molik's 6-2 6-3 defeat came in a brisk 51 minutes, the tall
Aussie unable to combat the Swiss Miss's dominating
baseline firepower and cleverly disguised first and second
serves. In stark contrast, the inexperienced Molik was
sadly let down by her powerful first serve, the major weapon
that had threatened to rattle the world No.1 Saturday.
Six aces, including a swag of untouchable serves from the
18-year-old Molik left Hingis momentarily floundering,
although a first serve percentage that lagged sorely below
the 50 percent mark, coupled with what Molik described as
"one of the best return of serves in the world" ultimately led
to the Australian's downfall.
"Martina's experience showed up. I knew I had to do
something special to beat her. It probably showed up in my
unforced errors and my game falling apart a little bit. You
expect a better ball to come back at you, and I think that
extra bit of pressure threw me off a bit," said Molik.
"I lost today to the No.1 player in the world. I am
disappointed, but I always walk away from a loss with a lot
of things I need to work on and a lot of positives. I don't
think I showed a lot of my best stuff out there today but
Martina didn't give me the opportunity."
Hingis, who has now played three up-and-coming
youngsters this week, remains focussed on writing herself
into the history books (again), aiming to become the first
woman since Margaret Court in 1966 to win four
consecutive Australian Open singles titles.
Her first career Grand Slam singles title came at Melbourne
Park three years ago, the victory making her the youngest
player (at 16 years, 3 months, 26 days) in the 20th century
to win a Grand Slam singles crown.
"I took it serious. I had to though," said Hingis. "They were
all younger than me, youngsters coming up, having nothing
to lose. Today, first time on centre court for her [Molik], I'm
sure she was a bit nervous out there and I just played a
good match. But her serve is just big. Sometimes you feel
like 'Okay, there's nothing I could do about that'."
"I'm here to play tennis and that's what my business is all
about and I'm enjoying it. It's not that I am not having fun off
the court either. I'll probably go shopping. I'm happy that I
finish my match right now so I can maybe go to the cinema
or something else," said Hingis, a five-time Grand Slam
singles champion, who is scheduled to play 1999 US Open
champion Serena Williams in the semifinals.
Said a refreshingly mature Hingis when asked how hard it
is to stay ahead of the rest of the field: "It's not always
easy, you see yourself, there are so many people after
you, they are chasing you. They want to get to your spot
and be in your position. I mean, what better situation - once
you realise what a life you've got and you see the papers,
you are in the picture and it's so much fun travelling and
meeting all the people. It's a great life, especially when you
"Tennis was sometimes the easiest part out there - you
have to deal with so many other things, the media,
sponsors. I always used to be afraid of having a speech
after I won a tournament, now it's like so easy."