Kiwi tennis ace Marina Erakovic has bowed out of the French Open in the opening round, falling to Spaniard Lourdes Dominguez Lino in straight sets, 7-5 7-5.
Erakovic, who achieved her career-high ranking earlier this month, entered the clay tournament at 40th spot in the world, but could not get on top of her opponent, ranked 55 spots lower.
She said she tried to attack and dominate but Dominguez Lino got a lot of balls back and it meant starting a series of rallies all over again. Erakovic struggled to hold her serve and lost it when serving for the first set at 5-3, then dropped four straight games to lose the set in a huge momentum shift.
The Kiwi had never faced her rival before and made 25 unforced errors in the opening set. But she was still in the contest at 5-5 in the second, until she again lost serve to give Dominguez Lino the chance to serve for the match. The Spaniard duly obliged.
This result may have implications on Erakovic's hopes of selection for the London Olympics. The New Zealand Olympic Committee has added a further four athletes to the Games team, but her nomination is pending on-going results and confirmation from the International Tennis Federation of the players eligible to compete in London.
Erakovic will now concetrate her efforts on the French Open doubles - she and Romanian partner Monica Niculescu are 16th seeds, and face French wild cards Severine Baltrame and Laura Thorpe in the first round.