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Molik ready to surge
By DARREN WALTON
20jul02
AAP

ALICIA Molik believes her tennis is ready to surge after finally discovering the key to winning close encounters of the third-set kind.

Molik was immensely satisfied after rallying to edge out Kristie Boogert 1-6 6-2 10-8 to level Australia's Fed Cup promotion-relegation play-off against the Netherlands at one rubber apiece at the Wollongong Entertainment Centre.

Her fighting victory ended a frustrating run of four straight narrow defeats in three-set matches, including a painful 6-4 4-6 8-6 loss to two-time grand slam champion Mary Pierce at Wimbledon last month.

Asked how she felt after bucking the worrying trend today, Molik said: "I felt that was probably the beginning of the ten-eights in the third that I'm going to win.

"It's been a real battle this year losing those matches and it's almost a relief.

"And once you're over that hurdle, you almost look forward to that situation - the positive thinking and winning those really tight matches when it gets down to the nitty gritty.

"Not only that, I've put our team one-all. It's much easier to sleep when things are even.

"I've had a few matches in the past year like that that I haven't been able to get out of, so as far as I'm concerned, in Fed Cup, I'll take any win, anywhere."

The South Australian's streak of disappointments has led her ranking to slip from a career-high 47 at the end of last year to 71.

So she believes today's tight victory was a significant breakthrough.

"I've been in that situation loads of times before and, thankfully, I've been working on the tools to get out of that situation and I've put those together today," she said.

"It's been a long, long time since I won a match like that so things can only look better.

"I'm going to put all those things behind me now and look to the future and, next time I'm in that same situation again, I'm sure I'll get out of it, just like I did today."

Molik's new inner belief gets its first test tomorrow when she plays Dutch No.1 Miriam Oremans in the first reverse singles.

She lost her only two previous meetings against Oremans.