It might be cheating, but Marina Erakovic insists there's a third person on court with her as she tries to emulate Marcus Daniell's 2010 feat of winning a doubles title at home.
Erakovic and Swede Sofia Arvidsson brushed aside Alize Cornet and Edina Gallovits 6-3, 6-1 yesterday to progress to the final, with Erakovic becoming the first home player since Leanne Baker in 2005 to play in an ASB Classic final.
Last night Erakovic thanked the crowd. "It's like there's a third person on her side. She [Arvidsson] tells me every day it is amazing, the crowd here."
Arvidsson said, "First round, it was packed. I've never played doubles in front of so many people."
Yesterday they were treated to a one-sided affair, not that the crowd, or Erakovic and Arvidsson, minded.
"Thursday was a lot tougher. Those two [Natalie Grandin and Vladimira Uhlirova] were doubles specialists and these two, I don't think they play a lot of doubles and not a lot together. It suited us better because they weren't quick at the net and Sofia really held her ground and I had a lot more time to volley."
Things get a whole lot tougher today when they meet No 1 seeds and doubles specialists Katarina Srebotnik, a singles winner here in 2005, and Kveta Peschke. Last year they won titles at Indian Wells and New Haven.
The final appearance has salvaged a bleak week for Erakovic. She came into the tournament feeling fit and in form, but went out barely firing a shot in her 2-6, 2-6 first-round loss to Elena Vesnina.
Her partner, Arvidsson, was seeded eighth for the singles but could not convert five match points in her second-round clash against finalist Greta Arn.
The winners will share US$11,000 and 280 ranking points, while the losing finalists pick up US$5750 and 200 points.