4 Jul 2017

Halep too good for Erakovic

6:55 am on 4 July 2017

New Zealand tennis number one Marina Erakovic has been unable to cause an upset on the opening day of Wimbledon, losing 6-4 6-1 to Romanian second seed Simona Halep.

Marina Erakovic Wimbledon 2016.

Marina Erakovic at Wimbledon. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Halep, one of the pre-tournament favourites in Paris, was beaten in three sets by Jelena Ostapenko and said last week she was still thinking about that missed opportunity as she fell asleep.

But with Serena Williams, who secured her 23rd slam in Australia, expecting her first child, Halep is again one of the names being talked up for Wimbledon and a first grand slam.

"I feel that everyone has a chance here, like in the French Open," she told reporters.

The Romanian, a Wimbledon semi-finalist in 2014, is one of four women who could top the rankings after the grasscourt slam. Halep will climb from number two if she reaches at least the quarter-finals and other results go her way.

But despite such prizes in reach, she said she felt only "positive pressure" after dispatching the world 129 New Zealander in the first round.

She broke in the first set with a mighty backhand winner down the line when Erakovic was serving at 2-2, before powering through the second set, setting the tone by breaking at the first opportunity.

Romanian tennis player Simona Halep.

Romanian tennis player Simona Halep. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

"In the end, I found the rhythm, and I hope I have it now for the next round," she said.

"Here on grass, every day you play, every match you play, it's like a big plus for your game, and you get used more and more."

Halep faces Brazil's Beatriz Haddad Maia, ranked 97th in the world, in round two after she beat Britain's Laura Robson.

A smiling Petra Kvitova skipped into the second round, the twice champion beating Johanna Larsson 6-3 6-4.

Playing only her third event of the year after recovering from a knife attack in December, the Czech 11th seed used her swinging serve to great effect on the main showcourt, signing off with a heavy ace.

The Czech won a warm-up tournament in Birmingham last month, after making her return to tennis at the French Open.