HomeSportEasy start for Cara Black, Erakovic

Easy start for Cara Black, Erakovic

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ZIMBABWE’S Cara Black and her playing partner Marina Erakovic from New Zealand have been handed an easy draw for the opening round of the $250 000 ASB Classic tennis tournament in Auckland, New Zealand, on Saturday.

REPORT BY SPORTS REPORTER

According to the draw conducted at the Auckland Museum, Black and Erakovic will meet Abigail Guthrie from New Zealand and Australian Sacha Jones in the first round of the tournament which will run from December 30 to January 4.

Black and Erakovic, who are the second seeds for the tournament, will be strong favourites to easily brush aside the challenge from the unseeded pair of Jones and Guthrie, who qualified for the tournament via a wild card entry.

According to reports from New Zealand, this will be Black’s last tournament with Erakovic before she continues her new partnership with Indian doubles specialist Sania Mirza at the year’s first tennis grand slam.

Black, who is Zimbabwe’s reigning Sportsperson of the Year, will be eyeing her second consecutive title in New Zealand after winning the 2013 ASB Classic doubles title with Australia’s Anastasia Rodionova early this year.

The pair, who had qualified for the tournament courtesy of a wild card beat the number one seeded pair of Yaroslava Shvedova and Julia Goerges 2-6 6-2 (10-5) in the final.

The winners in the doubles competition will walk away with $12 300 and 280 rating points, while the losing finalists will earn $6 400 and 180 points.

Meanwhile, organisers of the ASB Classic are excited to see a Grand Slam quality doubles field taking shape, with confirmations from key players.

The doubles field is set to feature three of the world’s Top 10 doubles players — Roberta Vinci (1), 2013 French Open champion, Katarina Srebotnik (6), and 2013 US Open champion, Andrea Hlaváčková (10) who will play with Lucie Safarova (18).

Other big names on the doubles draw could include Ana Ivanovic, Venus Williams, multiple Grand Slam champion and perennial top 10 player, Lucie Hradecká (14), Kirsten Flipkens and last year’s finalist, Julia Göerges (27).

“It’s looking like we are going to have a very strong doubles field — it’s by far one of the best tour-level doubles fields I’ve seen,” tournament director Karl Budge said.

“To have four of the world’s top ten doubles players in the country, let alone on the court, is an absolute coup.”

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