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Erakovic good draw but cautious at French Open

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Marina Erakovic has a golden opportunity to turn around what has been a difficult season to date when the French Open starts tomorrow night.

The sole New Zealander in the singles has received a relatively kind draw, pitted against American Shelby Rogers in the first round.

24-year-old Rogers did reach the quarter finals in Paris last year beating the likes of Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova before losing to the eventual winner Garbine Muguruza. But she’s unseeded and only narrowly beat Erakovic in the first round of the Miami Open in March.

That was when Erakovic was struggling with illness and Rogers was only able to prevail 4-6, 6-3, 7-6. Erakovic had won their only previous encounter in straight sets in Washington in 2014. Yes, Erakovic hasn’t won a tour level match so far in 2017, but there couldn’t be a better time for her to stop the rot.

Her ranking heading into Roland Garros is 143 and it will be her last main draw Grand Slam for a while if she doesn’t find form quickly.

Speaking earlier in the week, Erakovic was hesitant about whether she could rediscover the form that took her inside the world’s top 40 a few years ago.

"You are right it hasn’t been going very well at all. It’s one of those things that happen. You work through it but I’m not going to tell you now it’s going to change, I don’t know it if it will change. I’m still working hard, I still enjoy playing tennis and I go out there and compete and that’s all I can do."

She may be a little more optimistic after seeing the draw however.

"I’m at the French Open, last year I was in qualifying, this year I am in main draw so not everything’s exactly downhill. It’s step by step and I don’t know if things will change. I am a positive person but I have to take things a step at a time." Erakovic said.

There are some key areas the 29 year old has been working on since arriving in Europe just under two weeks ago.

"Mainly building up more aggression on the court, attack a little bit more and use my forehand. The serve’s a big one, trying to hit specific targets and use a bit more variety there. I’m the type of player that has a lot of tools, the slice backhand, heavy forehand, so it’s kind of trying to implement the right ball at the right time."

The doubles draw is made on Monday New Zealand time with Kiwis Michael Venus, Artem Sitak and Marcus Daniell all competing.

Daniell will be a late arrival into Paris as he’s scheduled to play the final of the ATP tournament in Lyon with his doubles partner Brazilian Marcelo Demoliner tonight.

They take on the Argentine/Canadian duo of Andres Molteni and Adil Shamasdin for the title. Victory would Daniell would see the Kiwi rise to a career high ranking just outside the top 40.

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