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Triumphant Dokic wins back support of Australians

January 21, 2009 19:19 IST

Jelena Dokic, riding high on a wave of public sympathy and support, upset Russian 17th seed Anna Chakvetadze 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 on Wednesday to reach the third round of the Australian Open.

The Serbian-born Australian registered her first win over a player ranked in the top-20 for five years and her first victory on Melbourne Park's centre court for a decade.

Dokic's brave win was charged with a combination of raw emotion and pain.

Facing an opponent ranked 169 places above her, Dockic tried to keep her feelings under control as she tried to mend her fractured relationship with the Australian public.

"I was very nervous to be on centre court again. It's been a long time," said the 25-year-old, who struggled with an Achilles injury during the match.

"She had a slow start but she started to play really well in that second set.

"She really had the momentum. It's amazing I was able to come out and pull it out."

Although she began her playing career in Australia, Dokic's relationship with her adopted country turned sour when her family returned to Serbia in 2001 after her now estranged father Damir accused Australian Open organisers of rigging the draw to ensure his daughter lost in the first round.

Two years later, Dokic walked out on her family and returned to Australia. Her relationship with her family has never been the same and she is trying to patch things up with Australia.

Earlier this week, Dokic broke down and revealed the extent of the pain and torment she endured since breaking up with her own family.

The former world number four pleaded for understanding.

"I made it under the influence of my dad but I will regret leaving for the rest of my life. It will always be the mistake that I made," she told a news conference on Wednesday.

"I don't expect everybody to understand, of course, but I'm trying my best."

Dokic was wildly cheered by the crowd at Melbourne Park and appreciated the backing.

"I'm fighting and playing for this country. I'm proud to play for this country again and I think by the reaction tonight ... things have swung my way," she said.

"I cannot go back and change things. What's done is done. I can only look forward. I think we all can. Hopefully the crowd can do that as well."

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