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Molik shocks seed

From our wire services

31 August 01

News Interactive

NEW YORK: Australia's Alicia Molik has fought back from the brink of elimination to move into the third round of the US Open here with an upset win over 15th seed Magdalena Maleeva.

The 68th-ranked Molik looked to be on her way out of the tournament when down 3-1 in the third set of the second round match.

But she rallied to win five games straight and complete one of her finest career wins, 6-3 3-6 6-3. Molik's place in the third round matches her Grand Slam best, achieved both at the French Open in 1999 and at last year's Australian Open. She will now face another stiff challenge when she meets Austrian 19th seed Barbara Schett. Maleeva, 26, had won her only previous match with Molik, at the Gold Coast last year, and in emphatic style - 6-0 6-1. But in steamy conditions on court six, it was theŻ 20-year-old South Australian who made the better start.

After racking up three first set points when serving at 5-3, she converted the first.

Maleeva, a quarter-finalist here as a 17-year-old in 1992, fought back strongly to break Molik in the fourth game of the second set for a 3-1 lead, and ensured the match would go to a third set. Molik looked beaten after dropping her serve again in the third game of the third set, despite first fighting off three break points. But from 1-3 she recovered to break the Bulgarian in the sixth game to get back on serve at 3-3 and then, with all the momentum, she also broke Maleeva's next service game to serve for the match at 5-3. She held serve to 30, taking the result on her second match point with an ace.