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Erakovic looking to be more aggressive

16:44 Sun Dec 30 2012
Marina Erakovic
Marina Erakovic is looking to take charge at the ASB Classic.

New Zealand tennis No.1 Marina Erakovic will look to bring a more aggressive approach to her game when she resumes her role as hometown favourite in the ASB Classic.

The 24-year-old Aucklander has drawn a qualifier in the opening round in what will be her first match since injury cut short her 2012 season after the US Open in August.

She says she has worked over the past few weeks on developing a greater attacking edge to her play.

"I've just been trying to be a bit more aggressive, take the ball a little earlier," she said.

"I'm not going to change any of my strokes or my game in any way, but I just want to hit the ball bigger. It wouldn't hurt to hit a few more winners."

Erakovic reached a career-high ranking of 39 in May after making the semi-finals in Budapest.

She goes into the Classic, which begins on Monday, as the world No.66.

Her best result in the tournament was reaching the last four in 2008, when she beat top-seeded Russian Vera Zvonareva along the way.

It's been meagre pickings in Auckland since then, with first-round losses in the past three years.

Erakovic deflects suggestions that meeting a qualifier - whose identity will be known after qualifying ends on Monday - can be seen as an easy draw.

"I've never been a believer in good draws or bad draws," she said.

"What you get is what you get. On the day, anything can happen. You just have to prepare well and go out and play."

Facing a qualifier presented its own challenges, as that player had already had three matches and got used the conditions, she said.

In the doubles, Erakovic will partner Briton's Heather Watson, with whom she won two WTA titles in 2012.

The pair are the No.2 seeds and their passage past the first round looks a simple one, having drawn the teenage wildcard combination of Whanganui's Paige Mary Hourigan, 15, and Aucklander Claudia Williams, 16.

Erakovic, who had a hit with Hourigan a few days ago, said playing on centre court would be a good experience for the youngsters.