Doubles win would ease pain for Erakovic

DAVID LONG IN MELBOURNE
Last updated 08:33 17/01/2013
Marina Erakovic
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FINAL FLOURISH: Marina Erakovic will try to win her first WTA tournament on her third attempt in the Memphis final.

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The pain from losing 10-8 in the third set will have hopefully gone for Marina Erakovic when she takes to the court today for the doubles at the Australian Open.

Her defeat to Alize Cornet on Monday after three and a half hours on court was one that hit Erakovic hard. There's nothing she can do in Melbourne to make amends for that loss, but a good run in the doubles could help.

Once again Erakovic is partnering with Heather Watson from Guernsey and they'll take on the ninth seeds Anna-Lena Groenefeld from Germany and Kveta Peschke from the Czech Republic in the first match on court 11 today, starting at 1pm New Zealand time, 11am in Melbourne.

All the players will be thankful that it's a morning start because temperatures are expected to hit 36 degrees later on.

But no one will be more grateful than Watson, who, to the cries of 'Heather Watson's Barmy Army,'  from the crowd yesterday, saved three match points in the second set to win 4-6 7-6 6-2 in just over three hours.

Watson will play Agnieszka Radwanska in the third round of the singles tomorrow, but all her thoughts now are on recovering for that doubles match with Erakovic today.

"I've had an ice bath, a massage and a recovery shake so I've done everything I can." Erakovic said.

"I love playing with Marina, we gel really well together on and off the court," Watson added.

"We have got a tough first round, but we're both healthy and hopefully we can give it a good go."

Watson said she spoke to Erakovic about that devastating loss to Cornet, who lost 6-3 6-3 to Venus Williams last night, but the Kiwi No 1 didn't want to discuss it.

"I tried talking to her about it and she said I don't want to talk about it," Watson said.

Erakovic has rarely had a consistent partner over her career, but the combination with Watson is one that clicked from the start.

Impressively, they won the first two WTA tournaments they played together, in Stanford and Dallas.

Erakovic was forced to pull out with a hip injury when they were up 3-2 against Ekaterina Makarova and Elina Vesnina in the first round of the US Open last September, which turned out to be the New Zealander's last match of the year.

At the ASB Classic a couple of weeks ago they beat New Zealanders Paige Hourigan and Claudia Williams in the first round, but then lost to the eventual tournament winners Cara Black - one of the greatest women's doubles players there's ever been - and Anastasia Rodionova.

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So excluding the match where Erakovic had to retire they have won nine of the 10 matches they've played together.

But Groenefeld and Peschke certainly won't be easy beats.

Peschke is 37 and won the Wimbledon doubles with Katarina Srebotnik in 2011. Groenefeld is 10 years Peschke's junior and also only plays doubles these days.

Together they made it to the final in Brisbane a couple of weeks ago, but last week lost in the second round in Sydney.

So it will be a battle between a couple of doubles specialists and two players who prefer singles, but know they work well together in doubles.

Brits and Kiwis in Melbourne today will both be hoping that the later comes out on top.

- Stuff

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