THE BMW Malaysian Open is fast earning a reputation as one of the tour’s most difficult title to defend.
Russia’s Alisa Kleybanova, the inaugural winner, was beaten in the second round in the last edition and yesterday, defending champion Jelena Dokic fell at the same stage.
A disappointed Jelena, however, has no plans to fade away following her unimpressive start to the season.
The Australian had fully intended to get her career back on track by defending her title in Kuala Lumpur but the 29-year-old lost 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-2) to her compatriot Olivia Rogowska.
Jelena could have won in two as she was leading 4-3 in the second set but allowed her 21-year-old opponent back into the match to claim victory.
“It hasn’t been a good year to start. I took six months to recover from a shoulder injury last season and I’ve been struggling since,” said Jelena at the Bukit Kiara Equestrian & Country Resort yesterday.
“It was one of those frustrating days where I couldn’t play my best. It was a game I should have won easily. I wasn’t able to close down as much I wanted to.”
Jelena has not made any impact this season following early exits in Auckland, Sydney, Melbourne, Bogota and Monterrey.
“Now that I’m out, I don’t have tournaments to defend so I will just seek to improve my game and see where it goes from there,” added the World No 76.
A winner of six tour titles, Jelena was once among the elite in the women’s game and reached a career-high ranking of No 4 a decade ago.
On her immediate plans, Jelena said: “I will head to Indian Wells next week and then Miami. It’s tough to look beyond that.” By Ajitpal Singh