15 Jan 2016

Erakovic dumped out of Aussie Open qualifying

6:32 am on 15 January 2016

New Zealand tennis No.1 Marina Erakovic has failed to reach the Australian Open main draw for the first time in five years after being beaten in the first round of qualifying.

Marina Erakovic

Marina Erakovic Photo: Photosport

Erakovic, whose ranking has fallen to No.138, lost 0-6 6-4 7-5 to Portugal's Michelle Larcher De Brito, who is ranked 84 places below her at 222nd in the world.

The New Zealander had to win all three of her qualifying matches to reach the singles main draw at the year's first grand slam, which starts on Monday.

The defeat took just over two hours of play with Larcher De Brito winning thanks to just a few vital points in the final set where Erakovic came back from 2-5 down.

It's a disappointing result for the 27-year-old Aucklander who had made the main draw of the Australian Open in each of the past four years.

It also ends a run of 19 consecutive grand slam singles appearances for the New Zealander.

The loss means Erakovic will need to qualify for WTA events when she next plays a tournament.

Erakovic made her comeback to competition in the Auckland Classic last week after four months out recovering from a knee injury.