Marina Erakovic demolishes British opponent

FRED WOODCOCK
Last updated 07:20 29/05/2013
Marina Erakovic
Reuters
EASY FOR KIWI: Marina Erakovic has eased through to the second round of the French Open in Paris.

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Marina Erakovic has completed a demolition job on Britain's Elena Baltacha in the first round of the French Open in Paris today (NZT).

The New Zealand tennis No 1 thrashed the qualifier 6-3 6-0 in less than an hour to set up a second round match with the tournament's 16th seed, Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova, who was a 6-1 6-4 victor over Lesia Tsurenko of the Ukraine.

Erakovic won her maiden WTA title in Memphis in February this year but had been on the slide since then, winning just one of her last seven singles matches heading into Roland Garros.

Her ranking has slumped to 91 but she was still far too good for the 29-year old Baltacha, who has a world ranking of 234 and had to battle through qualifying to make the main draw.

In their only previous meeting Baltacha won in three sets, but that was back in 2010 and the Brit was no show of repeating that victory today as Erakovic stamped on her mark on the match early and was clearly in no mood to relent.

The Kiwi set the tone with her serve, rattling down six aces to one and winning an impressive 79 per cent of points on her first ball. She only required eight second serves in the match, and won all of those points.

She also chalked up winner after winner, with 29 to Baltacha's seven, and it was difficult to find fault with her returning game as she converted five of six break points and won 60 per cent of all points on the Brit's serve.

It's the first time the 25-year-old has made the second round of the French Open since 2008, which remains her best effort in the French capital.

She'll have a chance to eclipse that against Cibulkova. The pair have met twice before, in each of the past two years in WTA tournaments in the United States, with the Slovakian completing comfortable straight-sets victories both times.

However, both matches were on hard courts.

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- Fairfax Media

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