Tennis: 'Atrocious' serve let's Erakovic down

By Dave Worsley

Marina Erakovic. Photo / Dean Purcell
Marina Erakovic. Photo / Dean Purcell

Atrocious - that's the word Kiwi tennis No 1 Marina Erakovic has used to describe the serve that repeatedly let her down in a heartbreaking first-round defeat at the Australian Open in Melbourne today.

Frenchwoman Alize Cornet, the former world No 11, beat Erakovic 7-5 6-7(3) 10-8 in three hours and 28 minutes.

The match total of 43 games was just five off the record set in 1996 between Arantxa Sanchez Vicario and Chanda Rubin.

Erakovic will rue her chances as she had service breaks in all three sets and completed 17 double faults in total.

At times she looked the better player as Cornet scrambled and chased down shots that looked like winners.

"I definitely had my chances all through the match. There's not a lot to say. I fought hard but every time I had a chance I let it go. We were nervous.

You get nervous at a Grand Slam, but you do your best to deal with it," Erakovic said after the match.

Played in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd who were fully behind the Kiwi the match never had a rhythm, with both players looking set to capitalise on service breaks or game points on their serves before letting their opponent come back.

"At the end of the day you always want to win no matter how you're playing, even though there was some shocking tennis."

When asked about her serving, Erakovic used the word atrocious under her breath then said: "Serving today was pretty bad. Seventeen doubles, no comment, I really just want to go back to the room."

Had she won against Cornet she would have faced a second-round meeting with former world No 1 Venus Williams.

Erakovic will now play in the doubles draw where she will team up with British player Heather Watson to face ninth seeds Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Kveta Peschke.

- APNZ

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