The Northern Territory news Tue 5 Jan 2010
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www.ntnews.com.au Northern Territory News, Tuesday, January 5, 2010 39 P U B : N T N E W S D A T E : 5 -J A N -2 0 1 0 P A G E : 3 9 C O L O R : C M Y K er280202 FOOTROT FLATS SPORT Jelena Dokic Dokic all smiles after defeat at hands of Aussie Ana FromBackPage All was forgiven for Dokic despite her tumultuous early years in Australia when she became the darling of Melbourne Park last year, riding a wildcard all the way to the grand slams quarter-finals. That came after Dokic was bundled out in the 2009 Brisbane International first round by French powerhouse Amelie Mauresmo. But the current world No. 56 was hardly discouraged after enduring a clash where crowd loyalties were clearly divided thanks to the presence of Aussie Ana. It was also disappointing to lose to Mauresmo I had my chances in that match as well. It was a little bit similar to today, Dokic said. Dokic blew Ivanovic away in the second set ensuring the Serb did not once hold her serve but unforced errors, including 11 double faults, let the former world No. 1 get out of jail. However, the Serbian-born Dokic clearly took heart from taking it to the former French Open champ. Eighteen months ago she was a grand slam winner, and when she was I wasnt even playing tennis (due to personal issues), Dokic said. So to come out and play three sets and still not to be satisfied with my game is a good sign, he said. Even Ivanovic who has become an honorary Aussie after hooking up with local golfer Adam Scott backed Dokic to repeat her Australian Open heroics. I think so, she looks fit, hitting the ball well, serving well, her second serves are coming through a lot faster than most of the girls, that is a good thing, she said. In contrast to the youngster who made sensational claims about the Australian Open organisers, a more mature Dokic was still hoping her rotten luck with tournament draws turned around in Melbourne later this month. I havent been that lucky with the draws, but its okay, she said. A match like this will make me tougher, hopefully I can get a better draw in the next couple of weeks. SHES BACK: Justine Henin fires a backhand down the line in her match with Nadia Petrova. Picture: MARK CALLEJA Henin better than ever, says first comeback victim BRISBANE: Justine Henin last night shrugged off extravagant praise from the first victim of her comeback who claimed she had returned as a better, more aggressive player bound to win her next meeting with Belgian rival Kim Clijsters. Henin appeared a little taken aback by the reference for a glittering 2010 season written for her by Nadia Petrova, the world No. 20 she beat 7-5 7-5 to win her long-awaited comeback match at the Brisbane International yesterday. The seven-time Grand Slam winners return to the top five later this year looks only a matter of time, sustained motivation and good luck with injuries on the evidence of her first match in 20 months. Petrova buckled under pressure from the former world No. 1, losing serve at 5-all in the second set and losing four straight points off errors, but said she would not be surprised if Henin wins a major title in her comeback season. A different Henin, its like she is playing better tennis than before she retired, Petrova said. She has changed as a tennis player. Shes more aggressive before it was always like long rallies, a claycourt player. She moves better on the court than anyone. Henin said she wanted to be more aggressive than in the past but did not know if she sustained the ambition in her 1hr 25min pipe-opener. In the past I was hitting the ball really hard. Its hard to compare my level with that in the past I need some weeks and some months, she said. I cant say Im a better player. I hope one day to be able to say it. DBA boss to coach Ansett ByPETERTIFFEN DBA EXECUTIVE officer Allan Hilzinger will coach a team in the Darwin mens league competition. Hilzinger plans to helm Ansett when the DBAs Challenge Season tips off on February 2. It will be a bit of a break from working in basketball to get out there and coach because I enjoy it, Hilzinger said. He said he was confident his role as coach of a mens league side would not clash with his duties as the DBAs chief executive. Im sure it wont be a hurdle, Hilzinger said. There is no real way that my roles can clash. Coaching comes outside of work hours. I will just make sure that I keep it completely separate. The DBA will introduce an even draw this year with all clubs playing each other an equal number of times. There is no way now, even from an office point of view, that I can do anything to change the draw to make it so that Ansett has an easier schedule or anything like that, Hilzinger said. Hilzinger was recruited to become the local DBAs top official in February last year. He has coached at junior and club level since the age of 17, mentoring Logan Thunders under-14 and U16 representative teams for five years in Queensland before heading to Japan. He also met with coaching success in the Land of the Rising Sun, starting his own club and guiding a junior high school boys team to a silver medal at the nationals and a girls primary school side to a bronze. In October last year, Hilzinger led the DBA U19 womens side through an undefeated tour of Indonesia. The Darwin side won five games racking up 573 points at an average of 114.6 per game while conceding a total of just 121 points. His coaching skills impressed mens U19 assistant coach Paul Hunt who asked Hilzinger to take over from him at Ansett. I wasnt too sure at first but after speaking with Paul a little bit more I have agreed to help Ansett out, he said. Paul wants to step away. Hell still be involved in the administration side. To nominate a team in a senior grade for the new season email the DBA at email@example.com Gasquet shrugs off 2009 in style F R E N C H M A N R i c h a r d Gasquet (pictured) was a relieved man yesterday as he finally kissed goodbye to a tough 2009 with a hard fought win in the first round of the Brisbane International. Gasquet held off determined Finn Jarko Nieminen 6-3 4-6 6-4 to kick off his 2010 Australian campaign in style and help bury the drug controversy that stalled his career in 2009. Gasquet recently had a 12-month ban lifted by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The stylish Frenchman started off like a determined man yesterday racing through the first set in 37 minutes. He lost his way in the second before jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the third to look like clinching the deciding set without dropping a game. But Nieminen rallied win ning three straight games before saving a match point in the ninth. Gasquet shut the Finn down in the tenth game. Reigning champion Radek Stepanek kicked off his title defence in style last night outclassing Brisbane youngster John Millman 6-4 6-0 in just over an hour.