Kiwi tennis player Marina Erakovic has got off to a winning start to the WTA Texas Open in Dallas.

Erakovic had a lengthy 2hr 51min victory over Britain's Anne Keothavong 6-1 5-7 7-6(9) in the first round of the singles draw at the US$220,000 event yesterday.

Both players had difficulty with their serve; Erakovic had nine double faults, while Keothavong had 13 as they also suffered from low first serve percentages.

However, Erakovic was able to stay in the vital points just a bit longer than her opponent to grind out a win.


It is the second time in two months that the 24-year-old Erakovic has defeated Keothavong. She beat her in the first round of the Carlsbad tournament in California last month.

The 54th-ranked Erakovic will now take on South African seventh seed, Channelle Scheepers, in the second round who has a current WTA ranking of 42.

They have played only once previously, with Scheepers taking that match in three sets in Rome earlier this year.

In the doubles draw, Erakovic had another long match as she and Brit Heather Watson took more than an hour to account for the unheralded American combination of Elizabeth Lumpking and Yasmin Schnack 6-2 2-6 10-8.

In the quarter-finals they will play Americans Jennifer Elie and Asia Muhammed.

When Erakovic and Watson last played together they won the title at Stanford.

The tournament is part of the build up for the US Open which commences next week in New York.