Cometh the hour, cometh the player, as Wanganui tennis standout Emma Hayman has discovered deep in Central Asia this week.
The 24-year-old has had to step up big time for the New Zealand Fed Cup women's tennis team in Astana, Kazakhstan, after No1 player Marina Erakovic had a freak accident in the team hotel.
New Zealand had opened their Asia/Oceania Group II account with a strong 3-0 win over Vietnam, with Erakovic easily winning her match while Hayman teamed with fellow debutant and national doubles championship partner Abigail Guthrie to win their game against Thi-Tam-Hao Tran and Trang-Huynh Phuong Dai in three sets, 4-6 6-4 6-3.
However the team had their backs to the wall in their next game in a 2-1 loss to Hong Kong with Erakovic out of the reckoning.
New Zealand's top 100 player had slipped on the hotel floor and dislocated her thumb, sending her home for treatment.
Hayman had to take over the No 2 singles spot but was beaten in straight sets by Katherine Ip 6-2 6-2. She rebounded with Guthrie in the doubles as they beat Ip and Venise Chan 7-6 6-4.
It got better overnight yesterday, as the Kiwis easily beat Turkmenistan 3-0 without dropping a set.
Hayman beat Guliahan Kadyrova 6-0 6-0, then she and Guthrie were 6-4 6-1 winners over Anastasiya Prenko and Jenneta Halliyeva.
They play Singapore in their final pool match.
To have a chance of finishing top of their pool they must win the match-up and hope Hong Kong lose their final contest.
The winner of the pool will face the victors in the other pool, with the overall tournament champions gaining a spot in Asia/Oceania Group I for 2014.