Tennis: Erakovic banks on more success

By Michael Brown

Marina Erakovic broke through the US$1 million barrier earlier this year and, after the last fortnight in Paris, is well on her way to earning her second million. Photo / Getty Images.
Marina Erakovic broke through the US$1 million barrier earlier this year and, after the last fortnight in Paris, is well on her way to earning her second million. Photo / Getty Images.

Marina Erakovic broke through the US$1 million barrier earlier this year and, after the last fortnight in Paris, is well on her way to earning her second million.

Erakovic and Zimbabwean partner Cara Black were bundled out of the doubles quarter-finals at the French Open overnight (NZT), going down 2-6 7-6 6-4 to second seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic.

She picked up NZ$41,000 (euro25,000) for her efforts on top of the $98,000 (euro60,000) she earned for reaching the third round of the singles before being beaten by 17th-seeded American Sloane Stephens 6-4 6-7 6-3.

It takes her prizemoney for the year to US$359,584 and career earnings to US$1,348,902.

The 25-year-old can look forward to another good payday in the next month with the circuit about to hit the grass, culminating with Wimbledon where she had previously enjoyed her best success at a grand slam tournament.

Grass is her favourite surface.

Erakovic will play at Birmingham and will enter qualifying for Eastbourne before heading to Wimbledon where she will play singles and once again team up with Black in the doubles.

Her form in the doubles at Roland Garros wasn't a surprise, given Erakovic and Black had played in consecutive WTA finals in the two weeks immediately before the French Open, but her progress in the singles was encouraging after winning only one of her seven matches previously.

It will also boost her rankings, which should jump from 92 to about 70 in singles and from 32 to the mid-20s in doubles.

Erakovic has made a conscious decision over the past 12 months to play more aggressively and it's a tactic that brings both risk and reward.

'I think I'm playing good tennis,'' Erakovic told Newstalk ZB when reflecting on her French Open campaign. ``I have got nothing but positives to take out of this tournament. The match against Sloane was very tight and I definitely had my chances.

"I want to continue, I want to keep improving, I want to hit the ball bigger and bigger. I feel I can take a lot of confidence out of this tournament.''

Erakovic and Black had their chances in their doubles quarter-final against Hlavackova and Hradecka, who won the French Open two years ago, but converted only five of 16 break point opportunities, including three break points when 2-2 in the final set.

"We could talk about it all day long and say we could have done this and that but we were down 5-2 in the second set and came back [to win it in a tiebreaker],'' Erakovic said. ``We fought really hard and came very close. There were a lot of positives to come out of it.''

- APNZ

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