A cynic could say Marina Erakovic's 6-4 6-0 defeat to Zarina Diyas in the second round of the Australian Open yesterday was typical of her career.
In the first round she pulled out a stunning performance to defeat the world No 21, Sorana Cirstea in straight sets.
She then comes up against an unknown from Kazakhstan, ranked 152 in the world, exactly 100 places below her and gets taken to the cleaners.
It was a matchup that should have led to Erakovic reaching the third round of the Australian Open for the first time. Instead, she's left trying to figure out what went wrong.
While Erakovic struggled and Diyas played extremely well, hitting flat, low balls and staying aggressive, the weather was a factor in the match and it was clear that Erakovic was the player that suffered the most.
The temperature in Melbourne hit 42 degrees during the match and just over an hour after it finished the tournament's extreme heat policy was brought in, ending all play on the outside courts.
For the first part of the opening set Erakovic looked comfortable. She wasn't having any trouble holding serve and Diyas looked the most likely to be broken.
However, at 4-4 Erakovic started to flag. Even the 400 or so spectators were suffering watching the match on court 17 because the heat was so intense.
It became harder for Erakovic to race around the court in long rallies and her serve went to pot.
While the 6-0 scoreline in the second set suggests it was a breeze for Diyas, it still took 37 minutes to play and during it Erakovic had eight break points, without being able to convert any of them.
Unlike against Cirstea, she wasn't able to raise her game in the big points and there was almost a sense of relief when Erakovic was put out of her misery in the sixth game of the set, even though she had two more break points.
Diyas advanced to the third round from her second match point and there was another haka performed for Erakovic from a member of the crowd, but this time few people, including Erakovic, had the energy, strength or will to enjoy it.
Today New Zealand's Michael Venus will play his second round doubles match, with Yuki Bhambri from India.
In the first round they upset Spaniards Roberto Bautista Agut and Daniel Gimeno-Traver, but will have a tougher task today against the tournament's 10th seeds, Horia Tecau from Romania and the Netherlands' Jean-Julien Rojer.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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