Tennis: Erakovic knocked out in Paris

Marina Erakovic has been knocked out of the French Open after losing her third round clash to American Sloane Stephens in three sets last night.

Stephens, the tournament's 17th seed, took out the match 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 in an encounter which lasted two hours and 16 minutes.

Erakovic was the first New Zealand woman to reach the third round of the French Open. The Kiwi number one earns 60,000.00 euros ($NZ98,000) despite the defeat.

The news was better for Erakovic later in the day as she advanced to the second round of the doubles with partner Cara Black. The duo defeated Angelique Kerber and Andrea Petkovic of Germany 6-2, 6-1. They will next face ninth seeds Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Kveta Peschke.

A year ago, Stephens became the first U.S. teenager to reach the fourth round at Roland Garros since Serena Williams in 2001. She followed that up by getting to her first Grand Slam semifinal at the Australian Open this January, beating Williams to get there.

Stephens, now 20, will face defending champion and second seed Maria Sharapova for a spot in the quarterfinals.

Stephens was three points away from closing out the match against Erakovic much earlier, ahead 4-2 in the second-set tiebreaker. But Erakovic took five of the next six points to force a third set.

Stephens then faced two break points in each of her next two service games, but saved all four to lead 2-1.

At the ensuing changeover, the chair umpire announced Erakovic would be docked a point for coaching, which is not allowed during Grand Slam matches.

She argued and shook her head, and then went out and got broken to trail 3-1. But up a break against a flustered opponent, Stephens got broken right back when she put a forehand into the net. Erakovic held in the next game, making it 3-all.

But Stephens wouldn't drop another game.

- nzherald.co.nz/AP

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