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Friday, January 30, 2009

Safina-Dokic Most Watched Women’s Match Ever in Australia

The excitement surrounding the Australian Open and Jelena Dokic's comeback reached a fever pitch down under on Tuesday, as the intense three-set match between home hero Dokic and Russian No.3 seed Dinara Safina became the country's most watched women's match at the Australian Open since the ratings system began in 2001.

The match peaked at 3.243 million viewers across Australia's five major metropolitan markets, and was the country's most viewed quarter final and the sixth most watched match, between men or women, since 2001. Roughly half of all television viewers in Australia were watching coverage of the Australian Open.

Dokic, who sees 2009 as her final chance for a major comeback, won her first Grand Slam match since 2003 in her first round match against Tamira Paszek of Austria. She went on to surpass world No.17 Anna Chakvetadze in the second round and then defeated 11th seed seed Caroline Wozniacki in the third round, making 2009 the first time she has reached the fourth round of the Australian Open.

Though Dokic's meteoric rise through the Australian Open was ended in the match, her attitude remains upbeat towards the upcoming year. "I think it was a good match. I played three sets with the No.3 player in the world. Everything is positive. I've had a great tournament," she said at the post-match press conference. "Sometimes things go your way, and sometimes they don't. I have to take all the positives and negatives out of today and really learn for the rest of the year about what I will do differently in a match like that."

Safina had only wonderful things to say about her opponent and the match. "She was No.4 in the world, or even higher," she recalled. "She's a great player. Just a matter of time and she continues working like this, working hard, and, you know, you can see that she's a great player."

Tennis Australia CEO Steve Wood praised the players and the coverage of the event: "The Australian Open 2009 and the comeback of Jelena Dokic truly have captured the hearts and minds of the nation, with viewers continuing to tune in to follow the event and Jelena’s progress," he said. "We are delighted that the viewing public is supporting its own world class sporting event."

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