By Cornell Vander Heyden
Alicia Molik: poised to strike in 2002. (Allsport)
Plays: Right handed.
Best grand slam result: Third round; US Open, 2001; Australian Open, 2000; French Open, 1999.
Australian Open 2001: First round; lost to Silvija Talaja, 6-0, 6-0.
World ranking: 46.
Actor to play her life story: Simone Buchanan; Alicia's Dad is also an architect, just like Simone's character's father Mr Kelly in Hey Dad.
ALICIA MOLIK will not be using last year's
result as inspiration for success at this year's tournament, when she was bundled
out in the first round at the hands of Silvija Talaja without winning a game.
As an 18 year old in 2000 however, Molik reached the third round before being
beaten by finalist Martina Hingis. Molik's ranking has improved 68 places in
a year and while she still has plenty of work to do to catch the top players,
a second-week singles appearance would not surprise.
The Adelaide-born player recorded the biggest
win of her career when she downed Magdalena Maleva to reach the third round
of the 2001 US Open. She also reached the third round at Birmingham and Los
Angeles beating Jelena Dokic and Chanda Rubin respectively. The winner of two
ITF events in Japan, Molik was also instrumental in leading Australia into the
Fed Cup world group finals in Madrid.
Her best WTA Tour singles result was a semi-final appearance in Shanghai last year where she accounted for world No24 Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand. Her powerful serve can trouble the best on tour when delivered consistently and her style of play should suit the Melbourne Park surface. Australia's No1 player is definitely one to watch this week. If she makes the final, a big "if" indeed, she can celebrate her 21st birthday the next day with good reason.