Dellacqua wins wildcard into Australian Open
Casey Dellacqua will make her Grand Slam comeback at Australian Open 2010 after a thrilling three-set victory over top seed Olivia Rogowska in the Wildcard Play-off, saving three match points in the process.
Dellacqua, a former world No.39 who made the fourth round of Australian Open 2008, prevailed in a game of two halves, awaking from a slumber at 5-2 in the second set to eventually take the match 1-6 7-6(9) 6-3.
After the match, Dellacqua praised her opponent and said she was excited about what the summer had in store.
“I thought Olivia played a great set and a half, and I thought ‘I wonder if she could keep this up for the whole match’, and if I just hang in there, maybe I can just sneak into that match.
“Once I got to that second set, I thought ‘I’m not going to stay out this long to lose’.
“I’m just so excited to know that I’ve earned my spot back in the Australian Open – with such great memories here, it’s just exciting to be back playing here.”
Number 1 seed Rogowska will be left to rue her missed opportunities after having chances to close out the match in the second set tiebreak, but was unable to land the knock-out blow. The Victorian started just as she had left off against Jess Moore in her semifinal, striking the ball cleanly and sending a barrage of winners down the court.
At the other end, Dellacqua was unable to find any rhythm or consistency on her serve and, as had been the case in her past two matches, paid for a slow start to the match.
Rogowska broke to open the scoring and had soon raced through the set 6-1.
Again in the second she opened up a healthy lead, carefully constructing points as the West Australian committed countless errors from the back of the court. It wasn’t until the No.1 seed had broken three times for a 5-2 advantage, that Dellacqua was stunned into action.
She started to find the lines, and in no time reeled off the next four games as Rogowska started to retreat into her shell. The set was forced into a marathon tiebreak with both players having chances to close it out, but Dellacqua eventually prevailed after the longest rally of the match, letting out a roar of emotion.
Again the third set had a twist, with Rogowska clawing back from a 3-0 deficit to draw level, but Dellacqua’s experience shone through as she closed it out 6-3.
After missing most of 2009 with a shoulder injury, Dellacqua will make her WTA Tour comeback early next year as she closes in on the Australian Open.
“I’m just looking forward to getting back into that high level and to keep improving my tennis, and this week’s just been a great start for me,” she said.
“I’ve been at that level before and I know what it takes to compete against that calibre of girls but I still haven’t had a lot of matches and court time so this week was perfect for that.
“I still need to improve a lot of things, and I haven’t had a lot of court time, so this week was perfect for that, and the next couple of weeks and those lead-up tournaments before the Australian Open I will just be doing everything I can to get myself back to where I was.”
The Australian Open starts on 18 January 2010.