Molik, Smeets earn Australian Open wild cards

Updated: December 19, 2006, 4:00 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Robert Smeets and Alicia Molik have earned wild cards into the 2007 Australian Open main draw after winning the wild-card playoffs at Melbourne Park.

Molik beat Australian Jessica Moore 6-4, 6-4 to secure her place in the main draw.

"Jess really played well, she surprised me," Molik said. "I probably could have polished off a few returning games a little bit sooner, but overall I was a lot happier with the way I served and very pleased to win the wild card."

Molik said she was as ready as she would ever be heading into January.

"I couldn't ask anymore of myself over the last five, six, seven weeks," she said. "I feel like I've set myself up really well. It will hold me in good stead going into the Hopman Cup."

In the men's playoff, 21-year-old Smeets beat Joe Sirianni 6-1, 7-5, 3-6, 6-3. The Queenslander said he was thrilled to score a place in his first Australian Open main draw.

"I got a little nervous there at the very end," Smeets said. "It hasn't sunk in yet really. I'm extremely relieved. I had a long week, trained hard.

"Finally I'm starting to break through a little bit now. Hopefully I can keep going," he said.

The Australian Open offers a total of 16 main-draw wild-card spots (eight men and eight women). One men's and one women's wild card is offered in reciprocal exchanges with both the French Open and the U.S. Open and to the winners of the Asian Tennis Championships. A wild card was also offered to the best-performing Australian players on the Kia Pro Circuit with the women's wild card going to Casey Dellacqua and the men's to Alun Jones. This leaves three men's and three women's wild cards still to be allocated.