Jelena Dokic and WTA Tour Players Coming Back to the Top

Gregory LanzenbergCorrespondent IMarch 27, 2011

Jelena Dokic and WTA Tour Players Coming Back to the Top

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    Jelena Dokic is on the rise again after winning the Malaysian Open at the start of the month.

    The  Australian, who made a name for herself back at the 2000 Wimbledon Championship by reaching the semifinals, is among the athletes who have had many ups and downs in their career.

    To be able to come back after struggling with personal issues or injuries is the toughest test given for any tennis players.

    Today we have a look at the 2000 Women players who are on the verge to come back at their best after many set backs.

Jelena Dokic (AUS)

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    They were already great signs from Jelena Dokic when playing the Paris Indoors at the start of February.

    The 27-year-old's win over No. 30 Safarova was her first Top 30 win since her magical run to the Australian Open quarterfinals in 2009. On that occasion she reached the quarterfinals of the first major of the season.

    During the height of her career, Dokic played for Serbia and Montenegro  and reached a career-high ranking of World No. 4 on Aug. 19, 2002. In the same year she was a quarter-finalist at the French Open.

    However, the Croatian native have had her share of issues with her father Damir.

    It is therefore amazing to see the 2000 Wimbledon semifinalist soaring to No.60 in the international tennis rankings, after her extraordinary singles victory in the Malaysian Open.

    Dokic, 27, vaulted 31 places after her win in Kuala Lumpur.

    The triumph guarantees Jelena main draw action at the French Open, Wimbledon, US Open and, as things stand, the 2012 Australian Open.

    The former world No.4 defeated Czech Lucie Safarova in the Kula Lumpur final, saving two match points and recovering from 2-6 3-5 to win the second set tiebreak 7-6 (11-9) before taking the deciding set 6-4.

    Dokic landed her sixth WTA title and her first since Birmingham in 2002.

    Earlier this week, Dinara Safina, who is also a comeback player, beat the Australian in the first round of Miami.

Dinara Safina (RUS)

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    Despite losing to her Russian compatriot Vera Zvonareva in the second round of Key Biscayne, Dinara Safina has shown signs of improvement.

    Safina is among the few World number one players to never have won a Grand Slam.

    Marat Safin's sister was a runner-up at the French Open as well as the Australian Open, but her failure to win a major made her lose control of her emotions.

    Safina then went through a nightmare last season as the former world number one sunk in the rankings.

    After sustaining a serious back injury, she parted ways with her coach and mentor Zejko Krajan, who led her to the top of the rankings. Since then, she's desperately been searching for confidence—without success.

    After failing to win a singles match in nearly six months, the 24-year-old had two successive wins in Indian Wells, one over Indian Wells champion Daniela Hantuchova and most significantly over the No. 4 seed Sam Stosur.

    Safina's victory over last year's French Open runner-up was very important, but that did not allowed her to beat Sharapova in the next round.

    The lack of results from the Moscow native made her drop to 109 in the international tennis ranking, which is stunning for a former world number one.

    However, Safina is much more comfortable on clay and a return to the top 50 is very likely to happen as the "red terre battue" season is looming.

    Dinara is one of the very few players who has the potential to win Roland Garros.
    It could become a dream come true if she can manage to win a couple of tournaments prior to the start of the French.


Maria Sharapova (RUS)

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    The fighting spirit of Maria Sharapova is what will allow her to claim another major.
    The three-time Grand Slam champion dropped out of top 100 after undergoing a right shoulder injury which could have ended her career in 2009.

    It was clear the surgery affected Sharapova's movement, which made her struggle to return at her best since her return at the Spring of 2009.

    The serve, which was her trading mark, fell apart.

    However, her mental toughness helped her win a couple of minor tournaments and get through many marathon matches.

    Since she could not serve correctly anymore, the former World number one had to dig deep on each match she played in order to win them, which is what has improved her confidence even more.

    If there is a turning point to the top in Sharapova's career, Indian Wells will have been the one in addition to hiring Thomas Hogstedt at the beginning of the season.

    In the first round of Indian Wells, the 23-year-old had to play a three hour marathon match against Spain's Anabel Medina Garrigues, which she won 7-5 6-7(3) 6-1. Then later in the draw, Maria crushed her old rival Dinara Safina 6-2 6-0.

    Sharapova then reached the semifinals of the fifth most important tournament of the season against the current World number one Caroline Wozniacki, which is nothing but an encouraging sign moving on to the spring and summer majors.

    Playing Wozniacki will make her work even harder on areas in her game she must improve.

    Even if Sharapova struggled over the past couple of years, the Russian never felt the desire to retire, which is key if you want to keep winning.

    Sharapova is also one of the very few players along with Clijsters, the Williams sisters, Kuznetsova, Ivanovic and Schiavone to have won majors, which prove she knows what it takes to win them.

Ana Ivanovic (SRB)

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    Ana Ivanovic has not been the same since winning the French Open in 2008. Maybe she was too young at the time to understand how precious this title is.

    Following this amazing achievement, the 23-year-old could not confirm the great results and therefore went out of the top 60 in 2009.

    In 2011, the Serb shines once again, over a year after having looked lost on court, when she let panic take her focus away, was unable to stop double faulting and was struggling with her backhand.

    Everything seemed to click back into place in Cincinnati against Azarenka last August, when she was totally dominated before being able to come back and pull off an unlikely upset.

    Since that match, she seems to have found her game again, mostly due to her work with Heinz Gunthardt.

    Now that he's not there anymore, she's trained by Antonio Van Grichen, former coach of Azarenka.

    If she succeeds in keeping the right guideline, she could be back soon in the top 10.

    Ivanovic's quarterfinal appearance in Indian Wells was her best result of the season so far.