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Last Updated: Monday, 24 January, 2005, 11:47 GMT
Molik brings Venus down to earth
Alicia Molik
Alicia Molik lived up to her potential on Monday when she sent former world number one Venus Williams crashing out of the Australian Open in Melbourne.

The 10th seed, bidding to become the first Australian woman to win the title since Chris O'Neil in 1978, outslugged the American eighth-seed 7-5 7-6 (7-3).

The victory sends Molik into the last eight of a Grand Slam event for the first time in her tennis career.

She now meets world number one and top seed American Lindsay Davenport.

Molik, the first Australian woman to reach the quarter-finals in Melbourne since 1988, began the match with an ace.

And after trading breaks, a backhand over the baseline from Williams handed the 23-year-old a second break and the opening set.

Molik began the second set by fighting off three break points and she faced another challenge at 3-3, but fought off two more break points by using her forehand to force errors from Williams.

The Hopman Cup star then had the crowd on their feet after she raced to catch a wide ball from Williams and returned it round the post for a winner to hold for 5-4.

The set then went to a tiebreak, which Molik dominated to keep her chances of a debut Slam title alive.

Molik revealed she had been inspired to defeat Williams by fellow Aussie Leyton Hewitt 's dramatic comeback win against Rafael Nadal.
I went for my shots and stayed aggressive
Alicia Molik

"I saw the end of Lleyton's game and drew inspiration from it. I went for my shots and stayed aggressive," she said.

She was also determined not to make the same mistakes she made against Venus last time they met.

"I think I drew a lot from past experiences," said Molik. "I played Venus in 2004, I think in February, in Dubai.

"I had chances to close out both the first and the second sets. In that particular match, though I lost, I had many opportunities which I didn't take and it was a match that I learnt from.
It was definitely a match I should have won
Venus Williams

"But it doesn't get much better than that and I'm very happy with how I played."

But Venus felt she only had herself to blame for her fourth-round exit.

"I definitely didn't produce my best tennis, that's for sure," she said.

"It was definitely a match I should have won. I would definitely say when I'm playing well, I feel I'm the best.

"But this time I was not the best. I just wasn't hitting it cleanly enough. My movement wasn't as good and I wasn't correcting my errors immediately."




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