Favourable draw for Erakovic at Indian Wells
New Zealand tennis No 1 Marina Erakovic has avoided the big guns for the opening rounds of the lucrative $US5.2 million Indian Wells tournament on the WTA tour, which starts this week in California.
Erakovic, who turns 25 today, has drawn Israeli wildcard Shahar Peer in her first round match, which will be played either tomorrow or Friday (NZT).
The pair have never played each other but the New Zealander is comfortably the highest ranked of the two, having climbed to No 63 in the world following her breakthrough WTA victory at the $US235,000 US National Indoor Championships in Memphis last week.
Peer, who is better known to New Zealand fans as the player at the centre of small anti-Israel protests at the ASB Classic in recent years, has dropped to No 128 in the world and required a wildcard to get into the draw this week.
She was a quarterfinalist at the tournament in 2007 and 2011 and has a career-high ranking of No 11.
Should Erakovic prevail in the first round, she would face the 19th seed and world No 22 Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic, who has a first round bye.
A possible third round date against the 12th seed and world No 14 Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia awaits the New Zealander, who would not have to face one of the top eight seeds until the fourth round (or last 16) at the earliest.
Top seed and world No 2 Victoria Azarenka is the defending champion in the stellar field, with Indian Wells being one of the biggest and most lucrative tournaments on the WTA calendar outside the four grand slam events.
- © Fairfax NZ News