Today Marina Erakovic avenged last year’s loss Sofia Arvidsson in the final of the Memphis WTA tournament, by beating her in 6-1 3-6 6-3 of the same event.
Tomorrow, in the quarterfinals, she will hope to get revenge for another painful loss, her defeat to American Jamie Hampton at the ASB Classic in Auckland last month.
Hampton emphatically beat compatriot Coco Vandeweghe 6-3 6-0 in her second round match in Memphis and has been in good form since the tail end of last year.
When they met in Auckland Hampton won 6-1 7-6. As the score line suggests, Erakovic didn’t turn up for the first set, but the two players slugged it out in the second with little between them.
There is little grace in Hampton’s game, she is the epitome of a power player and Erakovic know she is playing far better than her current ranking of 66 suggests.
“Jamie has really been playing well,” Erakovic said.
“She’s a good player, she hits a big ball.
“I played her in Auckland but this is another tournament and another day and I have to go out there and play my game.”
Erakovic plays her best when she’s aggressive and looks to take command of the points early. That’s how she wants to play tomorrow, which suggests that while this match may go to three sets, it won’t take long to get through the points.
“There probably won’t be that many long rallies and I am definitely going to go out and be aggressive,” she said.
This is Erakovic’s sixth time playing in Memphis and it’s become her most successful tournament. When she came for the first time in 2008 she made it through qualifying and all of the way through to the semifinals, where she lost to Lindsay Davenport.
A year later she made it to the quarters and as previously mentioned was a finalist last year.
So what is it about this tournament that brings out the best in her?
“The first year I came I was with a really good friend of mine, Paul Wilson and we had such a good time,” she explained.
“We went to Graceland and this is a city of music. The people are really friendly, so I really enjoyed myself, so coming back every year I know that this is a tournament that I like and have good feelings about, so I think that’s a factor.”
Erakovic has become something of a three-set specialist of late. She has played 11 matches this year with six of them going to three sets, of those she’s won four and lost two.
So it could be said that she’s showing mental strength to win those deciding sets but is having to spent a lot of time on court to get victories.
“Tennis is best of three [sets] it would be great if I could win every match 6-2 6-2 but it doesn’t happen that way,” she said.
“But I fight hard and I have a good quality of tennis at the moment and it’s just maintaining that for two sets.
“Sometimes I go up and down a bit and I think that’s why I go into a third set occasionally.
“But if I can get out there I’ll do anything to win and it doesn’t matter what set it is.”
- © Fairfax NZ News
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