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Erakovic at the 2016 US Open
|Country (sports)||New Zealand|
|Residence||Auckland, New Zealand|
|Born||6 March 1988|
Split, SFR Yugoslavia
|Height||1.74 m (5 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
|Retired||11 December 2018|
|Plays||Right-handed (two-handed backhand)|
|Career titles||1 WTA, 12 ITF|
|Highest ranking||No. 39 (7 May 2012)|
|Grand Slam Singles results|
|Australian Open||2R (2009, 2012, 2014)|
|French Open||3R (2013)|
|Wimbledon||3R (2008, 2013, 2016)|
|US Open||2R (2014)|
|Career titles||8 WTA, 6 ITF|
|Highest ranking||No. 25 (24 June 2013)|
|Grand Slam Doubles results|
|Australian Open||1R (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015)|
|French Open||QF (2013, 2014)|
|US Open||QF (2008)|
|Fed Cup||26–12 (singles 18-7, doubles 8-5)|
Marina Erakovic (/ / mə-RIN-ə ih-RAK-ə-vitch; Croatian: Marina Eraković [marǐːna erǎːkoʋitɕ]; born 6 March 1988) is a retired tennis player from New Zealand. Her career-high rankings are world No. 39 for singles, achieved in May 2012, and No. 25 in doubles, achieved in June 2013. She won one WTA singles title, at Memphis in February 2013, and eight WTA doubles titles.
Erakovic, born in Split, Croatia (then part of Yugoslavia), emigrated with her family to Auckland, New Zealand in 1994 as a 6-year-old girl. She attended St Thomas's Primary School and Glendowie College in Auckland.
Erakovic and Monica Niculescu were the runners-up to Victoria Azarenka and Olga Govortsova in the 2004 Wimbledon girl's doubles, before Erakovic teamed with Michaëlla Krajicek to win the US Open title three months later, beating Niculescu and her Romanian teammate Mădălina Gojnea. Erakovic became the first player from New Zealand to win a Grand Slam title (singles or doubles) since James Greenhalgh and Steven Downs won the boys' doubles in 1993 at the French Open and Wimbledon. Erakovic then partnered Azarenka to an easy win in the 2005 Australian Open over Nikola Fraňková and Ágnes Szávay, and reunited with Niculescu to be runners-up at Wimbledon, defeated this time by Azarenka and Szávay.
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2005–2007: New Zealand's No. 1
In 2005 and 2006, Erakovic won five ITF singles titles. She was a wild-card entry in the 2005 ASB Classic in Auckland where she lost in the second round. She lost in the second round of qualifying for the 2006 French Open.
In 2007, she also lost in the second round of qualifying for the Australian Open, the first round of qualifying for the French Open, the first round of qualifying for Wimbledon, and the third round of qualifying for the US Open. She was a wild-card entry in the ASB Classic where she was defeated in the second round.
At the end of 2007, aged 19, Erakovic was the best female tennis player in New Zealand, ranked No. 153 in the WTA rankings.
2008–2009: Climbing up to top 70; injury and fall out of top 200
She received a wildcard into the ASB Classic where she beat world No. 67, American Ashley Harkleroad, in the second round 7–6, 7–5, and defeated the top seed Vera Zvonareva, 6–3, 2–6, 7–6 in the quarterfinals. She lost in the semifinals to world No. 90, Aravane Rezaï. Erakovic was the first New Zealander to reach the quarterfinals at this WTA Tour event since Belinda Cordwell in 1990.
She lost in the first round of qualifying for the Australian Open.
At the French Open, Erakovic beat world No. 56, Tathiana Garbin, in the first round before losing to third-seeded Jelena Janković. She was the first New Zealand-raised player to make the main draw of a Grand Slam singles tournament since 1993.
At Wimbledon, Erakovic defeated Krajicek in the first round, and Julia Görges in the second before losing to Tamarine Tanasugarn. She was the first New Zealand player to reach the third round at Wimbledon since Belinda Cordwell in 1988.
At the US Open, she lost in the first round to Pauline Parmentier 3–6, 6–7 but reached the doubles quarterfinals with Jelena Kostanić Tošić. This was the first time a New Zealander had reached the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam tournament in either singles or doubles since 1994.
She ended the year ranked No. 66 in the world, mostly due to her Wimbledon performance and the three semifinals reached in WTA International tournaments.
By the end of the year, she was out of top 200.
2010–2011: More setback; reborn – top 70 again
Erakovic competed in singles and doubles at the ASB Classic, losing in the first round in both events. She then competed at the Australian Open, losing to eventual semifinalist Li Na in the first round. In doubles, she and partner Casey Dellacqua lost to 11th seeded Russian pair Alla Kudryavtseva and Ekaterina Makarova in the first round.
She started the year with the ASB Classic where she again received a wild-card entry, and lost in the first round against Elena Vesnina 2–6, 2–6. She then competed on the ITF Circuit where she won three titles.
Erakovic took part in the French Open where she won three straight matches in the qualifying draw against Ajla Tomljanović, Kurumi Nara and Petra Cetkovská, qualifying her for the main draw. In the first round, she lost to Arantxa Rus.
She qualified for Wimbledon, where she beat Chang Kai-chen in the first round, her first singles Grand Slam win since the Australian Open in 2009. However, she lost to Daniela Hantuchová in the second round.
Erakovic made her first WTA Tour final at the Challenge Bell in Québec City. To reach the final, she defeated Caroline Garcia, Irina Falconi, top seed Daniela Hantuchová and defending champion Tamira Paszek. In the final, she lost to Barbora Záhlavová-Strýcová.
This very good year made her quickly climb back to No. 61.
2012: Top 40 personal high, short-lived
At the Australian Open, Erakovic beat Irena Pavlovic in the first round and lost to Christina McHale in the second, in three sets. In the doubles, she and partner Chuang Chia-jung were eliminated in the first round.
In May at the Italian Open, Erakovic had one of the biggest wins of her singles career defeating world No. 13, Sabine Lisicki, in the first round. Earlier, she lost in the semifinals to Elena Vesnina at the Budapest Grand Prix, WTA International tournament in Hungary. This helped her reach her career high of No. 39 on 7 May 2012.
She missed all 2012 tournaments after the US Open due to a right hip injury. At the end of the year, she was down to top 70.
2013: Readvance to top 50
Erakovic began the season at the ASB Classic, where she was defeated by Jamie Hampton in the second round of singles, and with Heather Watson as her partner, was defeated in the quarterfinals of the doubles.
Erakovic lost in the first round of the Australian Open to Alizé Cornet. In February, she won her first WTA Tour singles tournament at the U.S. National Indoor Championships in Memphis. In doing so, she became the first New Zealander to win a WTA Tour singles title since Belinda Cordwell won the 1989 Singapore Open. It was to be the last time the tournament was played. Then Erakovic teamed up with former world No. 1, Cara Black, and they had immediate success together, reaching the finals of three European tournaments.
At the French Open, Erakovic upset 16th seed Dominika Cibulková in the second round before losing to 17th seed Sloane Stephens in the third round, thus missing out on a fourth-round match against defending champion Maria Sharapova. She and Black made it to the quarterfinals of the doubles, losing in three sets to second seeds Andrea Hlaváčková and Lucie Hradecká.
She was beaten by Laura Robson in the third round at Wimbledon, after being a set up and serving for the match. Seeded 11th, she and Black were beaten in the second round of the doubles by Eugenie Bouchard and Petra Martić, 7–6, 7–6.
At the US Open she lost her first-round singles match to María Teresa Torró Flor 0–6, 4–6, while she and Black, seeded 13th, lost in a marathon third-round doubles match, again to the second seeds (this time Makarova and Vesnina). Seeded sixth, she reached the final of the Challenge Bell for the second time, defeating Mallory Burdette, Barbora Záhlavová-Strýcová, Ajla Tomljanovic and Christina McHale before losing in straight sets to Lucie Šafářová.
Erakovic lost in qualifying in both the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo and the China Open in Beijing. Her doubles partnership with Black had ended, as Black joined forces with Sania Mirza to win both those tournaments and announced that the new partners intended to stay together through 2014. Although Erakovic was drawn to play doubles in Beijing with Elena Vesnina, she withdrew from that competition and all tournaments for the remainder of the year after the death of her grandmother.
The end of the year found her as 46th ranked player.
2014: Regress to top 80
At her home tournament in Auckland, the ASB Classic, Erakovic was reunited briefly with Cara Black in the doubles. Seeded second, they lost in the first round to local wild-card entry Sacha Jones and Abigail Guthrie. Erakovic then lost to Lauren Davis in the first round of singles. She also lost in the first round of both singles and doubles at the Hobart International, the latter to eventual winners Monica Niculescu and Klára Zakopalová when top seed with partner Zheng Jie.
At the Australian Open, Erakovic beat 21st seed Sorana Cîrstea in the first round of the singles, but lost to Kazakh qualifier Zarina Diyas 4–6, 0–6, in the second round. She and Zheng Jie were seeded tenth in the doubles, but lost in the first round to the French pair of Alizé Cornet and Caroline Garcia. At the Open GdF Suez in Paris, Erakovic again lost in the first round of both doubles (when paired with Petra Martić) and singles, trailing 3–6, 0–3 in the latter against Daniela Hantuchová before retiring with a back injury.
Erakovic then represented New Zealand at the Fed Cup Asia/Oceania Group II Round Robin tournament in Astana. She had singles victories over opponents from Pakistan, Iran and India, winning each in straight sets and losing only four games in total, before losing her only doubles match when partnered with Abigail Guthrie. They were beaten 7–5, 6–1, by Indians Sania Mirza and Prarthana Thombare.
At the Qatar Open, she again lost in the first round of both singles (to 12th seed Samantha Stosur) and doubles. In the latter, she and Petra Martić lost in a super tie-break to Anna-Lena Grönefeld and Mirjana Lučić-Baroni.
Erakovic improved her 2014 record by reaching the quarterfinals in the singles at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco. After a win over local wildcard Ana Sofia Sánchez, she defeated sixth seed Bojana Jovanovski before losing 4–6, 5–7 to top-seed (and eventual tournament winner) Dominika Cibulková in a match where both players struggled to consistently hold serve. Her doubles partner for this tournament, Ashleigh Barty, had to withdraw from the competition.
She then moved to Indian Wells, where she and Petra Martić won their first-round doubles in the BNP Paribas Open but lost in the next round to fourth seeds Květa Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik. She was well-beaten in her first singles match by Monica Niculescu. At the Sony Open in Miami, she lost to qualifier CoCo Vandeweghe in the first round of the singles and then, with Petra Martić, lost in a super tie-break to second seeds Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina in the first round of doubles. Having been eliminated so quickly, she took the opportunity to play in a $50k clay-court tournament in Osprey, Florida. Seeded first, she went all the way to the final before losing 2–6, 3–6 to second seed Anna Schmiedlova.
The Family Circle Cup is the first WTA Tour event of the season to be played on clay, and Erakovic scored what was described as one of her finest wins on that surface when beating former world No. 3, Nadia Petrova, in three sets in the first round. However, she was well-beaten by the No. 1 ranked junior in the world, Belinda Bencic. In the doubles, she and new partner Arantxa Parra Santonja were leading 5-4 over the No. 1 pair in the world, Hsieh Su-wei and Peng Shuai, before Peng suffered an abdominal strain and was forced to retire. Their second round (quarterfinal) was the complete opposite, as they quickly lost to Medina Garrigues and Shvedova.
Erakovic returned to New Zealand for a holiday through most of April, before resuming as top seed at the $50k clay-court tournament in Indian Harbour Beach, Florida. She beat two qualifiers before losing to Anett Kontaveit in the quarterfinals. Moving over to Europe, she was beaten in the first round of qualifying singles for the Italian Open in Rome by Julia Görges. She progressed to the doubles in the quarterfinals, where, for the second time in the space of a few months, she came up against Peschke and Srebotnik. She and partner Arantxa Parra Santonja were beaten 6–4, 6–4 by the fourth seeds, who went on to win the tournament after Errani and Vinci had to retire when Errani injured her hip. They were second seeds in the doubles at the Nürnberger Versicherungscup, their last tournament before the French Open, but were well-beaten in the first round by Anna-Lena Grönefeld and Antonia Lottner. Erakovic then lost her first-round singles match to top seed Angelique Kerber.
At the French Open, Erakovic had an easy win over Nadiia Kichenok in the first round, before losing 4–6, 4–6 to fifth seed Petra Kvitová. She and Parra Santonja were seeded 16th in the doubles, and had straight sets wins in the first three rounds as they progressed to the quarterfinals, a performance which equalled Erakovic's run from the previous year. Up against the higher-ranked, but unseeded, Lucie Hradecká and Michaëlla Krajicek, they led the first set 5–2 before losing five games in a row, and were eventually defeated 7–5, 6–3.
The grass-court season in England began badly for Erakovic, when she was beaten in the first round of the Aegon Classic by Tímea Babos. Her original opponent, qualifier Irina Falconi, had withdrawn due to a viral illness, and Babos entered the main draw as a lucky loser. Erakovic and Parra Santonja were beaten in the first round of the doubles by the vastly experienced pair of Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond. In their final lead-up to Wimbledon, the pair took part in the Topshelf Open at Rosmalen. Erakovic's opening match was a titanic struggle against qualifier CoCo Vandeweghe, the eventual winner in final, who sent down 19 aces on the way to winning the match in a third set tie-breaker.
The doubles was a different story, as Erakovic and Parra Santonja moved steadily through the tournament with a series of straight sets wins, beating top seeds Andrea Hlaváčková and Zheng Jie in the semifinal. Six years to the day after winning this tournament with Michaëlla Krajicek as her partner, Erakovic stood triumphant again after a fairytale reversal of fortune during the final. Krajicek and Kristina Mladenovic sped through the first set 6–0 in under 20 minutes, had the lead at 5–2 and held two match points at 5–4 in the second set, before Erakovic and Parra Santonja broke back to force a tie-breaker, which they won 7–5. The super tie-break third set ebbed and flowed as only seven of the 18 points went to the server, with Erakovic and Parra Santonja finally prevailing 10–8. Shortly afterwards Erakovic revealed that she had parted company with long-time coach Christian Zahalka.
Erakovic scored the very first point of the tournament as play began at Wimbledon but, as she did with Belinda Bencic at Charleston, again found a stumbling block in a top junior. This time it was Croatian Ana Konjuh who prevailed in three sets. Ranked 17th in the doubles, and therefore one place outside the seedings, Erakovic and Parra Santonja were drawn in the first round against the 12th seeds Anabel Medina Garrigues and Yaroslava Shvedova, who had defeated them so easily at Charleston. Although this match was much closer, the result was the same, with Medina Garrigues and Shvedova winning in three sets. A disappointing week at Wimbledon came to a close when she lost in the first round of the mixed doubles. Partnered with South African Raven Klaasen, there was only one service break in the entire match against the British pair of Dominic Inglot and Johanna Konta. That was enough to produce a final scoreline of 7–6, 6–4.
Back in New Zealand for a short break, Erakovic announced that she would be working with Parra Santonja's coach, Eduardo Nicolás, on a trial basis until the end of the US Open. Clearly refreshed after her time off, Erakovic resumed in the Citi Open in Washington D.C. Playing only in the singles, she defeated Kristyna Pliskova, Shelby Rogers and Bojana Jovanovski on her way to the semifinal, where she was drawn against Kurumi Nara. After taking the first set to love she was able to convert only three further opportunities to break Nara's serve, whilst dropping her own service five times, and eventually lost 6–0, 4–6, 4–6.
One disadvantage of getting to the last round or two when relatively lowly ranked is that players may miss their chance at a bigger tournament following immediately afterwards. This was the case with the Rogers Cup in Canada, as Erakovic was unable to reach Montreal in time for her first singles qualifying match. In an ironic twist of fate, it was Parra Santonja who took her place (albeit a losing one). Erakovic had to be content with a start in the doubles, but had a new partner in Andreja Klepač. They lost in the first round to the Czech twins Karolina and Kristyna Pliskova, the latter getting some revenge for her singles defeat a week earlier.
The following week saw Erakovic in the Western & Southern Open, the next Premier-5 tournament, but she lost in the first round of qualifying singles to Shahar Pe'er. Reunited with Parra Santonja in the doubles, they won their first match, but lost 3–6, 2–6 in the second round to eighth seeds Alla Kudryavtseva and Anastasia Rodionova.
The last tournament before the US Open was the Premier level Connecticut Open, where Erakovic faced Caroline Garcia in the first round of qualifying singles. Garcia, the third seed in the qualifying tournament, was the winner for the first time in their four meetings, taking the match in straight sets, 6–4, 6–4, with only one service break in each set. The doubles was a different story, with Erakovic and Parra Santonja having nail-biting wins in all three matches on the way to the final. They did not manage even one point against the serve of Garbiñe Muguruza and Carla Suárez Navarro in the first set of their first-round match, but eventually did enough to win 10–6 in the super tie-break. The second match (quarterfinal) was against their old foes Medina Garrigues and Shvedova. Down 0–5, 0–40 in the first set, they were able to win that game (although losing the next) before going on to win another super tie-break 10–7. It became three super tie-breaks from three when beating Caroline Garcia and Monica Niculescu in the semifinal, clawing their way back from 3–8 in the final set to level at 9-all, then going on to win 11–9.
The final saw another titanic struggle, this time against Andreja Klepač and Sílvia Soler Espinosa. After breaking Soler Espinosa's serve to lead 4–3, Erakovic and Parra Santonja both dropped service games to lose the first set 5–7. They recovered to win the second set 6–4, coming back from 0–40 in the last game of the set. Up 7–5 at the second change of ends in the super tie-break, they did not win another point as Klepač and Soler Espinosa wrapped up the match 10–7.
As the US Open began, it was announced that Erakovic had been voted onto the WTA Players' Council, replacing Akgul Amanmuradova as the representative of the 51-100 Ranking Category. She would later move to representing the 21+ group, allowing Amanmuradova to regain her seat. She celebrated by recording her first ever singles victory at Flushing Meadows, beating 20th seed and former US and French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in three sets. In the second round, she faced Elena Vesnina, and lost a three-set match in just under two and a half hours. The final score was 7–5, 2–6, 6–4, but Erakovic would have rued her missed opportunities in the first set when Vesnina came from 2–5 down to win five successive games. In the doubles, Erakovic and Parra Santonja were again ranked 17th, just as at Wimbledon (had they won at New Haven, they would have been seeded 15th). They started with a comfortable win against the teenage American wildcards Katerina Stewart (who would progress all the way to the semifinals in the girls' singles) and Louisa Chirico, but the second round match against Muguruza and Suárez Navarro saw the Connecticut Open result reversed, with the Spanish 12th seeds prevailing 6–7, 6–3, 6–3.
Erakovic missed the next week of tournaments after the US Open due to taking a training block. These included the Coupe Banque Nationale in Quebec, where she had been runner-up a year earlier, and the loss of points carrying over from that result saw her drop from 76 to 103 in the singles rankings, taking her outside the top 100 for the first time in four years. She resumed a week later in the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, becoming top seed in the qualifying tournament, after CoCo Vandeweghe was promoted to the main draw. She raced through her three matches to qualify for the tournament proper, dropping only eight games in total. Her first round match was against fifth seed (and world No. 12) Sara Errani, who sped away to an early 4–0 lead. From there it was all one-way traffic, as Erakovic broke back and then shut out the Italian almost completely, winning 12 of the next 13 games to take the match 6–4, 6–1, the only hiccup being when she dropped her own service in the second game of the second set. Errani had started with an amazing 39 consecutive first service points, and the only times she needed a second serve in the first set were the first two points of her fifth service game. Erakovic was unable to repeat her effort in the second round, falling to Australian left-hander Casey Dellacqua 2–6, 4–6. Her second serve deserted her completely, as she won only three out of 17 in the entire match. She also struggled to break Dellacqua's serve, winning only one of six break points in the first set and one of four in the second. With Erakovic only playing singles in this tournament, Parra Santonja teamed up with Janković to go as far as the semifinals in the doubles.
Two days later Erakovic was in Wuhan for the Wuhan Open, only to find herself with a walkover win in the first round of qualifying. Her scheduled opponent, Varvara Lepchenko, was still competing in the Korea Open, where she made it all the way to the final before losing to Karolína Plíšková. Erakovic won her second qualifying match to reach the main draw, but lost in the first round to fellow qualifier Karin Knapp in three sets. In the doubles she had a new partner in Stefanie Vögele, and they won the first set comfortably (6–2) against Anna-Lena Grönefeld and Alicja Rosolska. All four players dropped their first service game in the second set, but Vögele dropped her next service game as well, and Grönefeld served out the set to win 6–4. She and Rosolska then dropped only one point while serving in the super tie-break to run out the winners 10–5.
Next stop on the tour was the last Premier-Mandatory tournament of the season, the China Open. A very easy winner in the first round of qualifying singles over María Teresa Torró Flor, she was then beaten 6–3, 6–3 by Mona Barthel in the second round. Reunited with Parra Santonja in the doubles, they faced yet another super tie-break third set in the first round, this time against Chuang Chia-jung and Olga Govortsova. They were able to break serve only once as they eventually went down 6–10.
Erakovic returned to Europe for the last two weeks of the regular tournament season, starting with the Generali Ladies in Linz, Austria, where she had won the doubles title in 2011. In her first singles match she defeated eighth seed Caroline Garcia (her 300th tour singles win), and followed that with an easy win over Klára Koukalová. Her quarterfinal match was against Camila Giorgi, who beat her 6–3, 7–5 after winning the final four games, the last when Erakovic dropped her serve to love. Seeded second in the doubles for this tournament, she had a new partner in Anabel Medina Garrigues who, with Yaroslava Shvedova, had been such a thorn in her side earlier in the year. After an easy first-round win, they scored a super tie-break win in the second round (quarterfinal) over Paula Kania and Valeria Solovyeva after sharing the first two sets. This match was notable more for the fact that the players dropped ten consecutive service games after Erakovic and Medina Garrigues had each held serve to lead 2–1 in the first set. In the semifinal they lost in straight sets to Garcia and Annika Beck, with Medina Garrigues unable to hold her service at any time in the match – in complete contrast to Erakovic, who dropped only three points in the first set and one in the second.
2015: Slow regress and out of top 100
Erakovic started the new year, as usual, in the ASB Classic, still with Eduardo Nicolás as her coach, but with a new doubles partner in Monica Puig. They made a shaky start to their career together, needing a super tie-break to win their first match, and then went down to second seeds Andrea Hlaváčková and Lucie Hradecká, again through a super tie-break, in the second round (quarterfinals). Drawn against each other in the singles, it was Erakovic who prevailed in three sets, and was then defeated by eventual semifinalist Záhlavová-Strýcová, again in three sets.
She won her first singles qualifying match at the Apia International Sydney, but lost her second to defending doubles champion Tímea Babos in straight sets. Reunited with Arantxa Parra Santonja in the doubles, the partnership went out in the first round to Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Sania Mirza, losing in straight sets in under an hour. The following week saw the start of the first Grand Slam event of the year, the Australian Open. Drawn against 24th seed Garbiñe Muguruza in the first round, she lost 5–7, 0–6. Reunited with Puig in the doubles, they were drawn against 13th seeds Krajicek and Záhlavová-Strýcová, again losing, by 7–6, 6–7, 3–6.
For players not involved in the Fed Cup, there was a week's break before the next round of tournaments. Erakovic and Puig headed to the Thailand Open in Pattaya. Although they lost as a combination in the first round of the doubles, both progressed all the way to the semifinals in the singles. Erakovic started with a win over Luksika Kumkhum. She raced through her second match to beat Yuliya Beygelzimer 6–1, 6–1, before scoring one of her best-ever wins in the quarterfinal, as she defeated former world No. 2, Vera Zvonareva, 2–6, 7–6, 7–5. That match lasted 2 hours and 38 minutes, but her semifinal was to be even longer, as it took Daniela Hantuchová 2 hours and 46 minutes to finally see of the challenge from the New Zealander. The final score was 4–6, 6–3, 7–6.
Her run at this tournament had exactly the same consequences for Erakovic as her experience in Washington the year before – she was unable to compete in the qualifying rounds of the next tournament, the Dubai Championships. She was, however, able to sign up for doubles, partnered this time with Heather Watson. They defeated the Chan sisters in the first round 6–4, 2–6, 13–11 in a super tie-break. In the second round they faced seventh seeds Caroline Garcia and Katarina Srebotnik. Watson dropped both her service games in the first set, and they each dropped one in the second set. Despite saving three match points on Srebotnik's serve at 2–5 in the second set, and winning the game, Erakovic and Watson were unable to prevent Garcia from serving out her last game to love to win the match 6–3, 6–4.
Erakovic stayed in the Persian Gulf to compete the following week's Premier tournament in Doha, but retired due to a viral illness in her first singles qualifying match, when down 3–6, 0–3 against Tímea Babos. It was not a memorable end to her 500th singles match on the professional tour. The illness may have been more severe than Erakovic first thought, as several other players also pulled out of the tournament with the same complaint. Luckily her first doubles match, with new partner Gabriela Dabrowski, was not scheduled until two days later, and they beat the Ukrainian pair of Yuliya Beygelzimer and Olga Savchuk 10–8 in the super tie-break. They didn't fare so well in the second round (quarterfinal), when beaten 6–3, 6–2 by Chan Hao-ching and Casey Dellacqua, managing to win only five service points in the second set.
Erakovic missed the next week of tournaments, opting for additional practice ahead of the first Premier Mandatory tournament of the year, the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells. For the first time ever, she progressed past the first round. After a scrappy win over wildcard entry Grace Min, she came up against 27th seed Timea Bacsinszky, who had won her two previous tournaments in Mexico. Erakovic got the only break of service to take the first set, but from there on her second service let her down. Unable to gain even one break point in the second set, she was unable to convert either of the two she received in the third set, the final score being 4–6, 6–3, 6–2 to Bacsinszky. In the doubles, she was reunited with Arantxa Parra Santonja, but once again they came up against high seeds in the first round. This time the stumbling blocks were the Spanish fifth seeds in Garbiñe Muguruza and Carla Suárez Navarro, who overpowered the lower-ranked pair 6–1, 6–4, in just over an hour. Once again the second service was the bogey, as they won only four out of 19 during the match.
The next tournament was also the next Premier Mandatory stop on the tour – the Miami Open. Erakovic served superbly in the first qualifying round to beat Alexandra Panova, then not quite so well against Lourdes Domínguez Lino, but won both matches in straight sets to progress to the main draw. Up against wildcard Daria Gavrilova, with a second round match against Maria Sharapova at stake, she injured her left ankle during the first set and had to retire while trailing 1–5. Although her first-round doubles match (with new partner Andrea Petkovic) was not until two days later, the injury was severe enough to force Erakovic's withdrawal.
Next stop was her first clay-court tournament for the year, the Family Circle Cup. Her first-round singles match, against South African Chanelle Scheepers, was a topsy-turvy affair. Erakovic dropped her serve three times in the first set, breaking Scheepers only once, but broke her twice in the second set while holding her own throughout. The final set saw plenty of chances go begging for both players. Erakovic dropped her second and fourth service games, the latter ending with consecutive double faults, to be down 2–5. She broke Scheepers in the next game, then held her own service to be down 4–5. Scheepers double-faulted twice on match point, but held service at her third attempt to run out the winner 6–2, 2–6, 6–4 in 2 hours and 9 minutes. She has now won all three of her matches against Erakovic. Finally able to take the court with Petkovic as her doubles partner, they won their first two matches in straight sets, demolishing the fourth seeds Tímea Babos and Anna-Lena Grönefeld 6–1, 6–2, in the quarterfinal. The semifinal saw Casey Dellacqua and Darija Jurak take the first set 6–4 in a see-saw affair, and then Erakovic and Petkovic raced through the second set to win it 6–1. Although Petkovic served an ace during the super tie-break, she also finished with a double-fault to hand the deciding set to Dellacqua and Jurak 5–10.
Erakovic skipped the following tournament in Stuttgart, choosing instead to wait a further week until the only African stop on the WTA Tour, the Morocco Open at Marrakesh. Playing only singles, she faced Kristina Mladenovic in the first round. She lost her opening service game, and despite several chances in Mladenovic's first two long service games, could not break back, instead being broken again to lose the first set 2–6. Mladenovic then dropped service twice in the second set, to Erakovic's once, the latter taking the set 6–3. Erakovic dropped her service to love in both her second and third service games in the deciding set and, although she broke back to 2-5, and saved two match points in the last game, Mladenovic eventually triumphed 6–3. Although Erakovic's first serve went well, the biggest difference between the players was again the second service, where Erakovic was able to win only eight points in the match, out of 29 attempts, compared with 22 from 44 for Mladenovic.
Mid-year: Back to Europe
At the Madrid Open, she drew Kateryna Bondarenko in her first-round qualifying singles match. Erakovic opened with a hard-fought three-set win. Three hours later she was back on court for her second qualifying match, against Monica Niculescu, eventually taking the match 2–6, 7–6, 6–3. Her first round proper was against her new doubles partner, Julia Görges, the final score being 6–1, 0–6, 6–4. In their first-round doubles match they came up against the wildcard pair of Lisa Raymond and Madison Keys, to whom they lost 5–7, 6–3, [6–10].
The next stop on the tour was in Rome for the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, where Erakovic lost her first-round qualifying singles match to Christina McHale in straight sets and did not enter the doubles. She skipped the following week's tournaments, despite originally entering the Nuremberg event, and waited until the next stop on the tour – at Stade Roland Garros.
Erakovic's terrible luck with the draw in major tournaments continued in Paris, as she started her campaign against fourth seed Petra Kvitová, victor in all four of their previous encounters (including the second round of this event a year earlier). For the very first time in a major, Erakovic had a singles match on the Centre Court (Philippe Chatrier). Starting a red-hot favourite with bookmakers, Kvitová survived a break point in her first service game, and three more in her second, before dropping her third in a game which included an ace and two double-faults. Erakovic held serve to lead 4–2, but couldn't maintain the momentum as Kvitová broke back twice to take the set 6–4, her final service game being the only one where she did not offer a break point. Despite an excessive amount of unforced errors, Kvitová was able to pull out the big points when it mattered most. Although Erakovic served well, her returns were not as consistent as they needed to be, and resulted in a disastrous eight unforced errors as she served the final game of the set.
The second set again had too many unforced errors, but this time it was Kvitová who was broken three times to Erakovic's once, the New Zealander winning the set 6–3. In contrast to the first two sets, where there had been 14 and 11 deuces respectively, the third and deciding set had only two, in Erakovic's first and fourth service games. Kvitová broke in the third game of the set, but immediately dropped her own service to love. They both also dropped their fourth service games, but Erakovic was broken in her next as well to be down 4-5. There were no worries for Kvitová as she served out to love, taking the match 6–4, 3–6, 6–4.
As if the singles draw wasn't bad enough, Erakovic and Heather Watson started their doubles run against the third seeds Tímea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic. Dropping serve twice in the first set, and only breaking the seeds' service once, the first set was over in not much more than half an hour. The second set, however, was a different story. Each team lost one service game, leading to a tie-break with the score at 6–all. After winning their first serve, and splitting the first pair of points against them, Erakovic and Watson had to watch as Babos and Mladenovic won six straight points to take the set and the match 6–4, 7–6.
The grass-court season began the following week, with Erakovic choosing to play again at the Topshelf Open. She did not defend her doubles title, however, playing only singles. In the first round she beat Carina Witthöft in straight sets. Having missed out on four break points to win the match at 5–4 in the second set, she had to wait a further 20 minutes until she won in a tie-break, the final score being 6–4, 7–6. In the second round she met Yaroslava Shvedova, who had beaten top-seed Eugenie Bouchard in the first round. Erakovic started badly, dropping serve in the first and fifth games before breaking Shvedova to pull back to 3-5, but both then held serve for the Kazakhstani representative to win 6–4. In the second set Erakovic was broken in her third service game and, despite surviving three match points in the final game, could not break Shvedova, the final score being 6–4, 6–4.
Next stop was Erakovic's first English tournament of the year, the Premier-level Aegon Classic at Birmingham, and again she competed only in the singles. Placed in the qualifying draw, she started with a 6–1, 6–2 win over Alla Kudryavtseva in just over an hour, which included three consecutive aces to win her second service game. The match could not be completed before nightfall on the first day, but Erakovic wrapped it up in just nine minutes on the second morning. Starting just two hours later, her second-round match was a titanic struggle against Belgian Kirsten Flipkens. Erakovic dropped one service game in the first set; they each dropped one in the second, forcing a tie-breaker which Erakovic won comfortably 7–1; and they both held serve through the third set until the rain came with Flipkens leading 6–5. After a break of more than an hour, the players returned to see Erakovic hold her nerve, and her serve, to set up another tie-breaker. She prevailed again, the final score being 4–6, 7–6, 7–6.
Into the main draw, her first match was against Petra Cetkovská, whom she beat 6–4, 6–2, to remain unbeaten in their four meetings. Next up was another meeting with Hantuchová, who had beaten Erakovic in the semifinal in Pattaya, and this was yet another match affected by weather. Rain came after 25 minutes, with the score at 3–3, and Hantuchová promptly dropped her service on the resumption. She broke Erakovic's serve three games later, however, and they went to a tie-breaker. Erakovic held a set point at 6–5 but couldn't convert, whereas Hantuchová converted her first set point to take the tie-break 8–6 after an hour's play. Erakovic then dropped the first game of the second set. There were no other breaks of service, although Hantuchová had one more opportunity, and eventually the Slovak ran out the winner 7–6, 6–4.
The final Premier-level English tournament is the Aegon International at Eastbourne. Erakovic again started in the qualifying singles draw, where she began with a comfortable 6–2, 6–3 win over Lesia Tsurenko in just over an hour. The only time she dropped her service was when broken to love in the first game of the second set, but she broke Tsurenko's serve in the fourth and eight games before serving out to love. Her second match, against top-seed Daria Gavrilova, was a very different story. She broke the young Russian's serve in the first and fifth games to lead 4–1, but then lost four in a row before eventually holding her last two service games and forcing a tie-breaker. Erakovic dropped two set points before prevailing in just under an hour. The second set started the opposite way to the first, with Erakovic the player down 4–1. Although she held her next service game, Gavrilova served out to take the set 6–2. Unable to convert a break point in Gavrilova's first service game of the deciding set, Erakovic then lost her own serve before breaking back in the eighth game to level at 4–4. She held her own serve, then broke Gavrilova to take the set and the match, 7–6, 2–6, 6–4, in 2 hours and 35 minutes.
Gavrilova also ended up going into the main draw, however, as the highest-ranked loser. She took top seed Petra Kvitová's spot, and won her way to the quarterfinals before withdrawing due to an abdominal muscle injury. Erakovic, meanwhile, faced Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova in the first round, a match which was all over in just 55 minutes. Erakovic dropped her last two service games in both sets, with Pironkova winning 6–2, 6–2. Scheduled to play doubles for the first time since the French Open, Erakovic was denied the chance when her first-time partner Eugenie Bouchard suffered an abdominal strain in her singles match against eventual title winner Belinda Bencic, just two hours before their doubles match was due to begin.
Erakovic began her campaign at the Wimbledon Championships with a singles match against 95th-ranked Yulia Putintseva. In one of the longest sets she had ever played, only three games had been completed after 26 minutes. The first two took six and eight minutes, and then Erakovic took 12 minutes to serve her second and fourth games (20 and 18 points respectively) as every game went with serve through to six-all after an hour and 11 minutes. The tie-break took a further nine minutes, with Erakovic taking a 5–2 lead before Putintseva stormed back with five successive points to win the set. With Putintseva serving first, the second set also went with serve for the first eleven games. Erakovic then blew a 30-15 lead with three backhand unforced errors to lose the set and the match 6–7, 5–7. She had committed 43 unforced errors, as well as serving five double faults, compared with 29 unforced errors and no double-faults from her opponent.
In the doubles she was again partnered by Watson, and their first match was against Bojana Jovanovski and Nadiia Kichenok. Dropping their second service game, then trailing 1–4, they won the next five games to take the first set in 32 minutes. They broke service again in the third game of the second set, and had a match break point at 5–3 but couldn't convert. They then dropped their own serve to be level at 5–5 after being two points from victory. Eventually they went to a tie-break where, from 3–all at the first change of ends, they lost only one more point, the final score being 6–4, 7–6.
Their second-round match was against the 16th seeded pair of Medina Garrigues and Erakovic's former partner, Parra Santonja. Breaking the Spaniards' serve twice, they raced to a 4–1 lead, but Erakovic and Watson then each dropped their own service game to bring the match back to parity. Games then went with serve to yet another tie-break, where they were only able to win two points. On the right end of three service breaks in the second set, Erakovic and Watson were eventually able to serve out for the win on their fourth set point. The deciding set, however, was in complete contrast to the first two, as Medina Garrigues and Parra Santonja raced through in just 25 minutes without losing a game. The final score in favour of the seeded pair was 7–6, 3–6, 6–0.
Erakovic injured a knee at Eastbourne and, although she continued on to play at Wimbledon, she then returned home to Auckland for six weeks' rest and rehabilitation.
Back to the U.S. – and injury ends her year
Playing singles only, Erakovic returned to the tour at the Western & Southern Open where, in a scrappy first-round qualifying match that saw more service breaks than holds, she lost to Kurumi Nara, 4–6, 3–6. She also played singles only at the Connecticut Open. She beat Lucie Hradecká in the first round of qualifying, Erakovic winning the first set 6–4, and losing the second 3–6. They had a service break each early in the third set, then held serve until the tenth game of the set, when Erakovic broke to win the match 6–4, 3–6, 6–4. She had identical scorelines for the first two sets against Olga Savchuk in the second round of qualifying, then broke Savchuk's first service game of the third set to lead 3–0. However, she dropped her own service when leading 4–2, and games then went with service until Erakovic was broken to love to make the score 6–5 in favour of Savchuk. The latter then served out to love to win the match 4–6, 6–3, 7–5.
At the US Open, Erakovic was drawn against second seed Simona Halep in the first round. Serving first, she started with three consecutive backhand unforced errors, dropping both that and her fourth service game as Halep took the first set 6–2 in 32 minutes. After receiving treatment on her troublesome knee during the break between sets, Erakovic was broken in her first two service games to be down 0–3, and retired from the match. Scheduled to play doubles with Watson against Krajicek and Strýcová the following day, she was forced to default.
Two weeks later, having returned home, she announced that she would not be playing again in 2015 to allow her knee time to fully recover. She finished the year with a singles ranking at 135, rather higher than the first estimate of "below 160".
Auckland, then Australia
Feeling well-rested and hopefully injury-free, although obviously rusty from lack of match fitness, Erakovic returned to the tour with a wildcard entry into her home tournament, the ASB Classic. Drawn against Yulia Putintseva, the pair battled hard for two hours, through two tie-breakers, before Erakovic prevailed 7–6, 7–6. She converted only two of seven break points in the first set, and was unable to win even a solitary point on her second serve. The second set, however, showed a marked improvement in the latter, as she picked up 10 points from her 13-second serves. Her second round match, against Alexandra Dulgheru, again featured a tie-break, but this time the New Zealander lost 4–7. They traded service breaks to start the second set, but Dulgheru finished much the stronger to run out the winner 7–6, 6–3.
In the doubles, Erakovic teamed up with Sílvia Soler Espinosa for the first time in close to ten years. In the first round, they were drawn against local wildcards Sacha Jones and Rosie Cheng. After losing the first two games they won the next six, and the set. The second set was closer, eventually going to a tie-break, but the far more experienced pair prevailed comfortably in the finish, the final score being 6–2, 7–6. Their second round (quarterfinal) was against the second seeds Görges and Srebotnik. The first three service games were all lost, and it was Soler Espinosa holding serve that saw them eventually take the first set. She dropped both her second and third service games in the second set, however, as the seeds bounced back to level the match. Erakovic and Soler Espinosa raced away to a 6–1 lead in the match tie-break, losing only two points on their own service as they eventually won 6–4, 4–6, [10–7].
The semifinal was against Danka Kovinic and Barbora Strýcová, and an inability to convert break points cost Erakovic and Soler Espinosa dearly. They missed three in the very first game, eventually gaining only two of the ten offered. Kovinic and Strýcová fared slightly better, claiming three of eight break points to take the set 6–4. With only one service break apiece, the second set was much tighter. With Erakovic serving to stay in the match at 4–5, she was 15–30 down when rain forced a halt, the match resuming the following day. Kovinic and Strýcová took only a couple of minutes to get the two points they needed to win the match, 6–4, 6–4.
At the Australian Open, Erakovic wasdrawn in the first round of qualifying against Michelle Larcher de Brito, and took the first set 6–0 in 26 minutes. Although her first service game had three deuces, Larcher de Brito's set was full of unforced errors. The second set was more even, with both players making more mistakes than winners, until Erakovic dropped her serve for the third time in the set, meaning that Larcher de Brito levelled the set count at one-all. The third set saw more of the same before Larcher de Brito, having held one match point at 4–5, was able to break Erakovic's serve again at 5–6 to win the match 0–6, 6–4, 7–5. With her doubles ranking having also tumbled during her time out, and despite having made the semifinals at Auckland, Erakovic was unable to find a partner ranked high enough to get her into the doubles draw for the first major of the year.
Rio and Rabat
Erakovic resumed in the Rio Open, where she teamed up again with Soler Espinosa in the doubles. Seeded second, they started with a comfortable 6–2, 6–2 win over Carolina Alves and Heidi El Tabakh, but the second round match was far tougher. Their opponents, Tara Moore and Conny Perrin, broke Soler Espinosa's first service game, but the seeds broke back to level at four all. Erakovic and Soler Espinosa were unable to convert either of two break points at 6–5 to take the set, and a tie-break followed. Down 2–4 at the first changeover, Moor and Perrin then picked up five consecutive points to take the set. In total contrast, Erakovic and Soler Espinosa raced through the second set to win 6–0 in just 27 minutes, a rain break halfway through doing nothing to stop their progress. The match tie-break saw them battle back from 2–5 down to lead 8–7, but Moore and Perrin were able to take the next three points to complete an upset result, 7–6, 0–6, [10–8].
In the singles, Erakovic started with an epic three-hour marathon against María Teresa Torró Flor. Breaking the Spaniard's serve twice, and holding three set points on her own serve at 5–2, 40–0, Erakovic served three consecutive double faults as she dropped that game, and her next, before Torró Flor won a 14-point game to go ahead 6–5. Erakovic held serve to force the tie-break where, despite dropping four of her own serves in a row, she finally prevailed 10–8. It was a similar story in the second set as both players dropped serve twice on the way to another tie-break. Between them, the pair won only three of their service points as Torró Flor, having held three set points, eventually won 7–5. The third set was rather more straightforward as Erakovic broke Torró Flor's serve twice on the way to a final score of 7–6, 6–7, 6–2. Her second round match against Petra Martić was half an hour shorter, again featuring a first set tie-break. Five double faults at inopportune times through the set saw Martić eventually take the tie-break 7–2, but it was a different story in the second set. Erakovic served much better, and was able to take the only service break in the set. Martic was much the stronger in the deciding set, however, breaking Erakovic twice to run out the winner 7–6, 5–7, 6–2.
The highlight of Erakovic's clay-court season was the tournament in Rabat, Morocco, where she played three rounds of qualifying, then went all the way through the main draw to the final before losing 2–6, 1–6 to world No. 15, Timea Bacsinszky, having beaten subsequent Nürnberg singles and doubles winner Kiki Bertens in three sets in the semifinal. She played eight games in eight days - perhaps it wasn't surprising that she had had enough by the time she reached the final.
Beaten in the first round of qualifying for the French Open, she had far more success at Wimbledon. Winning her three qualifying matches, she beat Irina Falconi and 22nd seed Jelena Jankovic in the first two rounds, before bowing out to 12th seed Carla Suarez Navarro in the third. It was her best result in a major tournament since losing at the same stage at Wimbledon three years earlier. While her singles ranking jumped more than 40 places to 115, her doubles ranking plummeted more than sixty places to 255. She had not played doubles since her first-round win with Karin Knapp in Katowice at the beginning of April (they had to default the second round after Knapp was injured playing singles).
After Wimbledon, she played in the Croatian and Swedish Opens on clay, then returned to New Zealand for an extended break before the US Open.
USA and Asia
At Flushing Meadows, she lost in the first round of singles qualifying to Wang Yafan. Rather surprisingly, she teamed up again with Parra Santonja to play doubles, winning the first-round match against Aleksandra Krunic and Andreea Mitu, but losing their second to 11th seeds Xu Yifang and Zheng Saisai. This was followed by losses in the first round at Seoul (to Patricia Maria Tig) and in the first qualifying round of the Premier tournament at Wuhan (to Louisa Chirico). She won both her qualifying singles matches in Hong Kong, but was beaten in a close match in the first round proper by Heather Watson, 7–5, 7–6. Partnered by local player Zhang Ling in the doubles, they won a tight first-round match before going down to the top-seeded Chan sisters from Taipei, the final score being 6–4, 6–3.
Erakovic then took a short break before heading to Taipei for her first 125K series tournament, where she reached the semifinals before losing to local player Chang Kai-chen. The final tournament of the year was in Honolulu, where she lost in the second round to Zhang Shuai. The points she earned from these last two tournaments lifted her singles ranking to 105, the mark she was hoping to reach to guarantee a main draw slot for the Australian Open.
Start of the year
With her ranking being so low, Erakovic required a wildcard to enter the main draw of the first tournament of the year, the ASB Classic in Auckland. Drawn against one of the leading juniors from 2016, Jelena Ostapenko, who was to find fame a few months later as the winner of the French Open, she was never comfortable as the young Latvian raced through the match to win 6–1, 6–2.
She missed the Australian tournaments the following week, electing to go straight to Melbourne for the Australian Open. Drawn against seventh seed Garbiñe Muguruza, to whom she had lost at the same point two years earlier, she had a royal chance to reverse that result once it became clear that Muguruza was finding it very uncomfortable to play with a hamstring strain incurred in her previous match in Brisbane. Erakovic held a set point on Muguruza's serve at 5–4, but couldn't convert, and then dropped her own serve as Muguruza went on to take the first set 7–5. A long medical time-out followed before Muguruza reappeared with her thigh heavily strapped. Erakovic broke service to lead 4–1, and was two points away from another break, with Muguruza moving very gingerly, when everything turned against the New Zealander. Muguruza managed to hold that serve, and then won the next four games in a row as Erakovic made a string of unforced errors. The final score was 7–5, 6–4. Once again, with her ranking so low, Erakovic was unable to find a partner to compete in the doubles.
Next stop for Erakovic was the Taiwan Open where, again only playing singles, she won her two qualifying matches as top seed, and then faced third seed Caroline Garcia in the main draw. Although the unforced error count on return strokes was quite even, Garcia was unstoppable when it came to hitting forehand winners, taking that part of the contest by 18 to 4. Erakovic broke Garcia's serve in the second set at the only opportunity she had, but was able to hold her own service only once in that set. She also served seven double faults through the match, and eventually lost 3–6, 2–6.
North America (1)
Erakovic then took a break for a month before resuming in the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco. She won her first qualifying match, but was well-beaten by Jamie Loeb in the second, going down 6–4, 6–0. The next stop on the tour was Indian Wells where, almost unbelievably, she was drawn in the first round of qualifying against Jamie Loeb again. While this match was closer, taking nearly two and a half hours and going to a third set, the result was the same, with Loeb taking the match 6–4, 6–7, 6–1 after five match points.
The tour then moved to the Miami Open, where Erakovic won through qualifying against Naomi Broady and Françoise Abanda before facing Shelby Rogers in the first round. After an epic three-set struggle lasting two hours and 39 minutes, Rogers prevailed 4–6, 6–3, 7–6. Erakovic's second serve let her down badly after the first set, her 13 double-faults costing her the match.
At the Premier-level Volvo Car Open in Charleston, the only WTA tournament played on green clay, Erakovic was able to get into the main draw as the last direct acceptance, and faced Tunisian lucky loser Ons Jabeur in her first-round match. Erakovic appeared to strain her neck during the first set, and required a medical time-out as well as a couple of other treatments from the physio. Broken once in the first set, she faded badly in the second to eventually lose 4–6, 1–6.
She then dropped to the ITF Circuit the following week when, seeded fourth in singles, she lost in three sets in the first round at Indian Harbour Beach to Sesil Karatantcheva. She also played doubles, for the first time since Auckland, with Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak as her partner. After winning their first match very easily, they had to default their second. Erakovic then returned to Auckland for rest and treatment of her neck injury, having confirmed that she would be in the main draw at the French Open, although relegated to the qualifying tournament for Wimbledon.
Erakovic resumed tournament play at Nürnberg, losing in the first round of qualifying to Aleksandrina Naydenova, before moving to Paris. In the first round at Roland Garros, she drew her Miami nemesis, Shelby Rogers. Breaking Rogers' serve to lead 4–2, she promptly lost her own serve in the next game as they moved to a tie-break to decide the first set. Erakovic was up 4–1 before Rogers, with a mixture of winners and forced errors, took the next six points to win the tie-break 7–4. The second set went with service for the first nine games before Erakovic, serving at 30–all, committed two unforced errors to lose the game, and the match, 6–7, 4–6.
No longer required in Paris, Erakovic headed to London for the start of the grass-court season in the ITF Surbiton Trophy. Beaten in the second round of singles by Evgeniya Rodina, she went all the way to final of the doubles with her new partner, Chang Kai-chen of Chinese Taipei, where they lost in straight sets to the Australian pair of Monique Adamczak and Storm Sanders. The result, however, was enough to improve Erakovic's ranking by nearly 50 places, bringing her back inside the top 200. In the first round of singles at the next ITF Aegon Trophy event, in Manchester, Erakovic looked very comfortable in the early stages of her match against Aleksandra Krunic, jumping out to a 7–5, 3–0 lead. She then lost six games in a row to lose the second set and, although she held her first two service games in the third set, Krunic then won another four in a row to wrap up the match 7–5, 6–3, 6–2. It was a different story in the doubles, where Erakovic and Chang again went through to the final. In a match marred by copious unforced errors, they were again runners-up, this time to Magdalena Frech and An-Sophie Mestach, with the final score being 4–6, 6–7.
Less than four hours later, Erakovic was more than a hundred kilometres away in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, to start the next tournament in the series. And, two and a half hours after that, she had won an exhausting first round singles qualifying match against American Alexandra Stevenson, 6–7, 7–5, 6–0. Playing singles only, she eventually went all the way to the semifinals, where she lost to Alison van Uytvanck in straight sets, 4–6, 2–6. From there it was on to Roehampton, and a successful run through the qualifying rounds for Wimbledon, with an emphatic win over Australian teenager Destanee Aiava sealing her place in the main draw. Unfortunately she drew second seed Simona Halep as her opponent and, not playing as well as she had in the qualifying matches, lost in straight sets, 4–6, 1–6. The loss of the points from her success the year before meant that her ranking dropped 50 places to 179. She flew home for a short break, before heading to the USA and an ITF tournament in California.
Back to North America
At the Sacramento tournament, after winning the first set in her opening match against Jennifer Elie, Erakovic dropped the second set and was forced to retire with an injury. Taking a few days off to recover, she moved to the Premier event at Stanford where, after a comfortable win over Raquel Atawo in the first round of qualifying, and a gruelling 2 hours and 40 minute match against American teenager Michaela Gordon, she was drawn to meet Ana Konjuh in the first round. Unfortunately her neck injury recurred, and she had to retire with the score at 6–3, 1–0 to Konjuh. Set to play WTA doubles for the first time since Auckland, she was paired with Ajla Tomljanović who also had to withdraw from her first-round singles through injury. The latter's problem with her right shoulder was what forced them to default the doubles match.
Next up was the US Open, and Erakovic's poor year continued, being beaten in the first round of singles qualifying by 18 year old Hungarian Fanny Stollár. Broken early in both sets, she lost 4–6, 2–6 in just over an hour. She had better luck at the Coupe Banque Nationale in Québec, where she won her first round singles match against Alla Kudryavtseva before losing 4–6, 6–7 to eventual champion Alison Van Uytvanck, in a match which was riddled with errors from both players. She also played doubles, with Julia Glushko, meeting the fourth seeds Naomi Broady and Asia Muhammad in the first round. The first set in this match was over very quickly as Erakovic and Glushko managed to hold serve only once, but the second was much tighter, with breaks of service traded before going to a tie-break. A double-fault at a crucial time cost them momentum when leading, and Broady and Muhammad eventually prevailed, the final score being 6–1, 7–6.
Possibly the lowest point of her recent career followed as she moved to an ITF tournament in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In the first round, she beat her doubles partner Laura Robson in three sets, and then met the world No. 511, wild-card American Sanaz Marand. In another three-setter which lasted over two hours, Marand raced away to win 6–4, 3–6, 6–1, as Erakovic served up 13 double-faults. She saved two match points in the final game, but that wasn't enough. To add further to her woes, she and Robson were bundled out in the first round of the doubles by Ulrikke Eikeri and An-Sophie Mestach, going down 6–10 in the match tie-break.
The following tournament, at Templeton in California, saw Erakovic beat Grace Min and Anna Karolína Schmiedlová in the first two rounds to make the quarterfinals, where she lost to Sachia Vickery in straight sets. She then had four weeks off, before returning in an ITF tournament in Macon, Georgia. She lost in the first round in both singles and doubles, and followed that up with another first-round loss two weeks later in Waco, Texas, Eikeri again proving her nemesis.
In that year, her level dropped to such an extent that her poor run to end the North American ITF Circuit left her ranked outside the top 200 for the first time in seven years. Her doubles ranking had started the year on the back foot in any case, due to a lack of play in 2016. Unable to find a partner at any tournament until halfway through the year, where she and Chang Kai-chen went quite well in England, she again finished the year without a partner. Her ranking slid all the way to 290, the lowest it had been for eight years.
Injury again took its toll, ending her season prematurely and then causing her to miss her home tournament (the ASB Classic) for the first time since 2005. She subsequently would miss all of the 2018 season, and eventually announced her retirement on 11 December.
Equipment and apparel
Doubles: 1 (runner-up)
|Runner-up||2013||Madrid Open||Clay||Cara Black|| Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
WTA career finals
Singles: 5 (1 title, 4 runner-ups)
|Loss||0–1||Sep 2011||Tournoi de Québec, Canada||International||Carpet (i)||Barbora Strýcová||6–4, 1–6, 0–6|
|Loss||0–2||Feb 2012||U.S. National Indoor, Memphis||International||Hard (i)||Sofia Arvidsson||3–6, 4–6|
|Win||1–2||Feb 2013||U.S. National Indoor, Memphis||International||Hard (i)||Sabine Lisicki||6–1, ret.|
|Loss||1–3||Sep 2013||Tournoi de Québec, Canada||International||Carpet (i)||Lucie Šafářová||4–6, 3–6|
|Loss||1–4||Apr 2016||Morocco Open, Marrakesh||International||Clay||Timea Bacsinszky||2–6, 1–6|
Doubles: 16 (8 titles, 8 runner-ups)
|Loss||1.||24 May 2008||İstanbul Cup, Turkey||Clay||Polona Hercog|| Jill Craybas
|Win||1.||21 June 2008||'s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands||Grass||Michaëlla Krajicek|| Līga Dekmeijere
|Win||2.||4 October 2008||Japan Open, Tokyo||Hard||Jill Craybas|| Ayumi Morita
|4–6, 7–5, [10–6]|
|Win||3.||26 October 2008||Fortis Championships,
|Hard||Sorana Cîrstea|| Vera Dushevina
|2–6, 6–3, [10–8]|
|Win||4.||14 February 2010||Pattaya Open, Thailand||Hard||Tamarine Tanasugarn|| Anna Chakvetadze
|Loss||2.||24 July 2010||Slovenia Open, Portorož||Hard||Anna Chakvetadze|| Maria Kondratieva
|4–6, 6–2, [7–10]|
|Loss||3.||8 January 2011||Auckland Open, New Zealand||Hard||Sofia Arvidsson|| Květa Peschke
|Winn||5.||16 October 2011||Linz Open, Austria||Hard (i)||Elena Vesnina|| Julia Görges
|Loss||4.||14 January 2012||Hobart International,
|Hard||Chuang Chia-jung|| Irina-Camelia Begu
|7–6(7–4), 6–7(4–7), [5–10]|
|Win||6.||16 July 2012||Stanford Classic,
|Hard||Heather Watson|| Jarmila Gajdošová
|Win||7.||25 August 2012||Texas Open Dallas,
|Hard||Heather Watson|| Līga Dekmeijere
|Loss||5.||11 May 2013||Madrid Open, Spain||Clay||Cara Black|| Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
|Loss||6.||25 May 2013||Internationaux de Strasbourg,
|Clay||Cara Black|| Kimiko Date-Krumm
|4–6, 6–3, [12–14]|
|Loss||7.||16 June 2013||Birmingham Classic, England||Grass||Cara Black|| Ashleigh Barty
|Win||8.||21 June 2014||'s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands||Grass||Arantxa Parra Santonja|| Michaëlla Krajicek
|0–6, 7–6(7–5), [10–8]|
|Loss||8.||23 August 2014||Connecticut Open New Haven,
|Hard||Arantxa Parra Santonja|| Sílvia Soler Espinosa
|5–7, 6–4, [7–10]|
ITF Circuit finals
Singles: 17 (12 titles, 5 runner-ups)
|Winner||1.||6 March 2005||ITF Warrnambool, Australia||Grass||Daniella Dominikovic||6–3, 4–6, 6–4|
|Runner-up||1.||13 March 2005||ITF Benalla, Australia||Grass||Yuan Meng||4–6, 4–6|
|Winner||2.||20 March 2005||ITF Yarrawonga, Australia||Grass||Emily Hewson||6–3, 4–6, 6–4|
|Winner||3.||3 September 2006||ITF Alphen aan den Rijn, Netherlands||Clay||Andrea Petkovic||4–6, 6–2, 7–5|
|Winner||4.||15 October 2006||ITF Melbourne, Australia||Hard||Casey Dellacqua||6–1, 0–6, 6–4|
|Winner||5.||29 October 2006||ITF Beijing, China||Hard||Alla Kudryavtseva||6–2, 6–1|
|Runner-up||2.||29 July 2007||ITF La Coruña, Spain||Hard||Neuza Silva||6–0, 5–7, 3–6|
|Runner-up||3.||5 August 2007||ITF Vigo, Spain||Hard||Olivia Sanchez||w/o|
|Winner||6.||14 October 2007||ITF Rockhampton, Australia||Hard||Sophie Ferguson||7–6(7–5), 7–5|
|Winner||7.||21 October 2007||ITF Gympie, Australia||Hard||Sophie Ferguson||6–4, 6–3|
|Winner||8.||9 February 2008||ITF Mildura, Australia||Grass||Chang Kai-chen||6–3, 6–1|
|Runner-up||4.||17 February 2008||ITF Berri, Australia||Grass||Nicole Kriz||4–6, 6–4, 6–7(3–7)|
|Winner||9.||7 June 2008||ITF Surbiton, England||Grass||Anne Keothavong||6–4, 6–2|
|Winner||10.||7 March 2011||ITF Irapuato, Mexico||Hard||Andreja Klepač||7–5, 6–4|
|Winner||11.||28 March 2011||ITF Pelham, United States||Clay||Renata Voráčová||6–4, 2–6, 6–1|
|Winner||12.||4 April 2011||ITF Jackson, United States||Clay||Ajla Tomljanović||6–1, 6–2|
|Runner-up||5.||30 March 2014||ITF Osprey, United States||Clay||Anna Schmiedlova||2–6, 3–6|
Doubles: 11 (6 titles, 5 runner-ups)
|Runner-up||1.||29 October 2006||ITF Beijing, China||Hard||Raquel Kops-Jones|| Ji Chunmei
|Winner||1.||30 June 2007||ITF Padova, Italy||Clay||Maret Ani|| Vanessa Henke
|Winner||2.||28 July 2007||ITF La Coruña, Spain||Hard||Melanie South|| Andrea Hlaváčková
|6–1, 4–6, 6–4|
|Winner||3.||15 December 2007||ITF Dubai, United Arab Emirates||Hard||Monica Niculescu|| Yuliana Fedak
|Winner||4.||7 February 2008||ITF Mildura, Australia||Grass||Nicole Kriz|| Monique Adamczak
|Winner||5.||17 February 2008||ITF Berri, Australia||Grass||Nicole Kriz|| Shannon Golds
|2–6, 7–6(7–4), [10–3]|
|Winner||6.||28 November 2009||ITF Toyota, Japan||Carpet (i)||Tamarine Tanasugarn|| Akari Inoue
|Runner-up||2.||16 April 2010||ITF Johannesburg, South Africa||Hard||Tamarine Tanasugarn|| Vitalia Diatchenko
|3–6, 7–5, [14–16]|
|Runner-up||3.||9 May 2010||ITF Fukuoka, Japan||Carpet||Alexandra Panova|| Misaki Doi
|Runner-up||4.||10 June 2017||ITF Surbiton, England||Grass||Chang Kai-chen|| Monique Adamczak
|Runner-up||5.||18 June 2017||ITF Manchester, England||Grass||Chang Kai-chen|| Magdalena Frech
Junior Grand Slam finals
Doubles: 4 (2 titles, 2 runner-ups)
|Runner-up||2004||Wimbledon Championships||Grass||Monica Niculescu|| Victoria Azarenka
|4–6, 6–3, 4–6|
|Winner||2004||US Open||Hard||Michaëlla Krajicek|| Monica Niculescu
|Winner||2005||Australian Open||Hard||Victoria Azarenka|| Nikola Fraňková
|Runner-up||2005||Wimbledon Championships||Grass||Monica Niculescu|| Victoria Azarenka
|7–6(7–5), 2–6, 0–6|
Singles performance timeline
|Grand Slam tournaments|
|Summer Olympics||Not Held||1R||Not Held||1R||Not Held||A||NH||0–2|
|Premier Mandatory tournaments|
|Beijing||Not Tier I||A||A||A||A||Q2||Q2||A||A||A||0–0|
|Premier 5 tournaments|
|Doha||Not Tier I||A||Not Held||NP5||A||A||1R||NP5||A||NP5||0–1|
|Dubai||Not Tier I||A||A||A||Not Premier 5||A||NP5||A||0–0|
|Cincinnati||Not Tier I||A||A||A||A||2R||Q1||Q1||A||A||1–1|
|Tokyo||A||A||A||1R||A||A||A||A||Q2||Not Premier 5||0–1|
|Wuhan||Not Tier I or Premier 5||1R||A||Q1||A||0–1|
Doubles performance timeline
|Grand Slam tournaments|
|Premier Mandatory tournaments|
|Beijing||Not Tier I||A||A||A||A||A||1R||A||A||A||0–1|
|Premier 5 tournaments|
|Doha||Not Tier I||A||Not Held||NP5||A||A||1R||NP5||A||NP5||0–1|
|Dubai||Not Tier I||A||A||A||Not Premier 5||2R||NP5||A||1–1|
|Cincinnati||Not Tier I||A||A||A||A||1R||2R||A||A||A||1–2|
|Tokyo||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||1R||Not Premier 5||0–1|
|Wuhan||Not Tier I or Premier 5||1R||A||A||A||0–1|
- Brittain Wynyard (22 December 2016). "ASB Classsic". YouTube. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
- WTA (28 January 2012). "Marina Erakovic Visits Kids Zone at Wimbledon 2012". YouTube. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
- "Erakovic makes a great start to year". New Zealand Herald. 6 January 2008. Retrieved 17 June 2008.
- "Erakovic goes down, Davenport into final". New Zealand Herald. 4 January 2008. Retrieved 17 June 2008.
- "Erakovic through to quarters". New Zealand Herald. 2 January 2008. Retrieved 17 June 2008.
- "Erakovic advances to quarter-finals". The Press. 3 January 2008. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
- NZPA (29 May 2008). "Tennis: Erakovic through to second round at Roland Garros". New Zealand Herald.
- NZPA (27 June 2008). "Erakovic eyes record after second round win". New Zealand Herald.
- NZPA (1 September 2008). "Tennis: Erakovic into quarterfinals at US Open". New Zealand Herald.
- "Hip Injury Still Pains Erakovic". 6 May 2009. Retrieved 23 May 2009.
- "Marina Erakovic Withdraws from Wimbledon". The New Zealand Herald. 10 June 2009. Retrieved 16 June 2009.
- Deane, Steve (5 January 2010). "Too many errors dash hometown hopes". New Zealand Herald.
- "Tennis: Erakovic's bad day at the office". New Zealand Herald. 5 January 2010.
- NZPA (15 February 2010). "Erakovic wins doubles title in Thailand". New Zealand Herald.
- "Erakovic topples world no 13 in Rome opener". stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 16 May 2012.
- "Tennis: Erakovic beats world No13 Lisicki". nzherald.co.nz. 16 May 2012. Retrieved 16 May 2012.
- "Cibulkova Serves It Up, QFs Set In Carlsbad". Retrieved 22 July 2012.
- "Erakovic wins maiden title". NZ Herald. 24 February 2013. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
- "Tournament win 'means a lot' – Erakovic". stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 25 February 2013.
- Erakovic beat Cibulkova in French Open
- Erakovic falls to Stephens at French Open – The West Australian
- Jones bids farewell to tennis injuries
- Nervous Erakovic admits home pressures - New Zealand Herald
- One of finest wins on clay - NewsTalk ZB
- Erakovic wins in The Netherlands - to face Konjuh at Wimbledon - Stuff NZ
- Erakovic without coach at Wimbledon - NewstalkZB
- Erakovic trialling new coach - RadioSport New Zealand 15-7-2014 Archived 11 August 2014 at the Wayback Machine
- Erakovic voted onto Players' Council - NZ Herald - retrieved 26-8-14
- Erakovic upsets former champ at US Open - NZ Herald - retrieved 29-8-14
- Erakovic bounces out of US Open - NZ Herald - retrieved 29-8-14
- Erakovic out of doubles at US Open - Stuff - retrieved 2-9-14
- Erakovic and Puig join forces for doubles at Auckland - Stuff - retrieved 10-1-15
- Erakovic loses in Auckland to Zahlavova Strycova - Stuff - retrieved 10-1-15
- Erakovic out of Australian Open NZ Herald - retrieved 27-1-15
- Erakovic lets final spot slip away - Stuff - retrieved 16-2-15
- "Erakovic vows to bounce back - NZ Herald - retrieved 30-5-15". Archived from the original on 23 August 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
- Kvitová stretched to limit by Erakovic - WTA website - retrieved 30-5-15
- Erakovic makes early exit from US Open - Otago Daily Times - retrieved 3-9-15
- Erakovic not playing again in 2015 - Stuff - retrieved 17-9-15
- Wimbledon Round 1: Erakovic loses to Halep - Stuff - retrieved 16/7/17
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Marina Erakovic.|