New Zealand's Marina Erakovic has marched into the third round of Wimbledon with a gritty but classy 6-2 7-6 win over German tennis player Julia Goerges today.
In booking herself a match against good friend and practice partner Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand, the 20-year-old Aucklander emulated the feat of Wellington's Belinda Cordwell 20 years ago.
And a third round win would be the best performance by a New Zealand woman at Wimbledon since 1959 when Ruia Morrison-Davy lost 1-6 5-7 in the fourth round to eventual champion Maria Bueno of Brazil.
" It would be great to break some records and make New Zealand proud," Erakovic said.
She won today in front of another parochial crowd on court six that included several members of the New Zealand cricket team fresh from their win over England at The Oval.
Six years ago, she was an awestruck fan in Sydney when the cricketers were eating at the same restaurant.
"Now they come to watch me. That's great. We're both winning. That is fantastic."
Erakovic started nervously again, as she did in her opening round encounter against Michaella Krajicek on the same court.
However, in the third game she broke Goerges' serve only to hand the break back the next game.
Service breaks in the fifth and seventh games had her well in control and an ace, with three set points already on the board, wrapped the set up 6-2 in 25 minutes.
A clearly rattled Goerges called for a comfort break and came back still appearing to lack focus. Erakovic broke again and then won her serve to go 2-0 up.
"Slowly she (Goerges) started to play a little bit better and was being a bit more aggressive," Erakovic said.
"She's the sort of player if she has a good day, she is very dangerous."
Goerges got a break back in the sixth game.
Erakovic had her chances to get another break in the ninth game to go to 5-3 and was love-40 up when a line call went against her.
Goerges won the game and the rest of the serves went to plan setting up the tiebreaker.
Again, Erakovic's fighting spirit came to the fore after she double faulted to go 2-4 down in the tiebreaker, clawing her way back to 6-5 up.
This time, unlike two days ago, she only needed one match point.
The match only lasted an hour 20 minutes because there were no long rallies.
"That definitely was a ground stroke match today because she doesn't give you any short balls. Her returns were very deep and at my feet.
"It was not a match you could work your way into the net."
Erakovic felt she needed to do more work on her serve, which failed her a number of times.
Tanasurgarn, her next opponent, is a tour veteran at 31.
Now ranked 60 in the world, the American-born Thai has been as high as 19 and always performed well at Wimbledon where her best result is to make it into the fourth round from 1998-2002.
"We've been practising together, warming up together. I spoke to her a few days ago and said `let's meet in the third round'."
They have played each other once before - in 2006 on hard court, when Erakovic won 6-3 2-6 6-3.
A win over Tanasurgarn would set up a possible match against world No 2 Jelena Jankovic, who Erakovic lost to in the second round of the French Open.
"I like to take it one match at a time. I'm enjoying myself (at the moment). I like playing on the grass so the more matches the better."
Three weeks ago, Erakovic's goal was to make it into the world's top 50. Today she has done that and now looks set to get into the top 40.
She felt no weight of expectation from New Zealand.
"I know all of them are supporting me and keen to see me do well. It's just a great feeling."