posted on Oct, 24 2004 @ 10:56 AM
Alicia Molik stunned Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova 4-6 6-2 6-3 in the final of the $US1.3 million ($1.77 million) WTA event in Zurich today,
denying the Russian a third consecutive tournament victory.
It was the first time that the fourth seeded Sharapova had lost a final in seven appearances.
Molik became the first Australian-born woman to win a WTA tier one event, although Jelena Dokic won the Italian Open and the Kremlin Cup in Moscow in
2001 as an Australian citizen, and Dianne Balestrat was a finalist at the Sydney Indoor event in 1985, losing to Pam Shriver.
"It feels great. I'm ready to play another match," said Molik after following up her success at the Athens Olympics, where she collected a bronze
"I think perseverance made the difference. I kept going for my shots, I kept believing, I kept serving smart. I never backed off.
"Maria kept hitting the ball, she kept hitting hard and she kept hitting deep. I tried to come back at her with the same sort of pace that she
dictated to me.
"I wasn't going to beat her by playing defensive so I tried to stay as aggressive as I could and I knew I'd create opportunities for myself."
The outcome was decided by Molik's ability to deny Sharapova some of the pace that she needed by employing her sliced backhand to good effect, and the
questionable state of Sharapova's right shoulder.