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Women's Tennis (WTA)

Dokic upends Safarova in Kuala Lumpur final



Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Sports Network) - Jelena Dokic of Australia fought off several match points in the second set and rallied in the third to beat Czech Lucie Safarova in the title match at the Malaysian Open.

Dokic recorded a 2-6, 7-6 (11-9), 6-4 victory in two hours, 41 minutes to claim her sixth career WTA title and first in nearly nine years. Sunday's victory against the fifth-seeded Safarova was the culmination of a long comeback for the Croatian-born player.

She burst onto the scene as a 16-year-old in 1999 with a surprising Wimbledon quarterfinal appearance that featured an upset of top-seeded Martina Hingis in the first round, then reached the semifinals at the All England Club the following year.

Dokic, now 27, went on to win five titles between the 2001 and '02 seasons, with the last coming in June 2002 in Birmingham. She rose to No. 4 in the world later that year.

But injuries and personal issues set her back -- this tournament marked the first time she played in a WTA semifinal in seven years, and the first time she played in a final since 2003.

Dokic capped her resurgence with a gutsy performance against Safarova, who had opportunities to close out the match after dominating the first set, but wasn't able to. Even after Dokic prevailed in the second-set tiebreak, Safarova held a 3-1 lead in the third.

But Dokic came back again, preventing Safarova from claiming her fifth career title.

Dokic beat the 24-year-old Safarova for the second time this season. She rallied for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win at the Paris Indoors last month. Safarova captured a straight-set triumph when the two first met last year in the first round of the French Open.

The veteran Dokic earned $37,000 for this week's victory.

03/06 11:03:41 ET

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