NEW Zealander Marina Erakovic is out of the Australian Open after a 3-6 7-6 6-3 defeat to American Christina McHale today.
It was another frustrating loss for Erakovic, who has struggled for consistency throughout her professional career, after she comfortably won the first set against 19-year-old McHale.
Erakovic's power game had McHale, ranked 42nd in the world to her 61st, in all sorts of bother in the first set. She took charge early, most notably when breaking the American in her first service game and then holding her own to take a 3-0 lead.
McHale took a break off court after the first set and came back re-energised. She was broken in her first service game but broke straight back and put Erakovic under a lot more pressure which culminated in her winning the second-set tie-break.
Erakovic, 23, had done well to fight back into contention in the second set after trailing 5-2, but she offered little resistance in the tie-break and her slump continued early in the third when her serve was broken straight away.
She broke back and held for 2-1 but then lost three straight games and there was no way back.
McHale now has to recover from the match, which lasted two hours, 42 minutes, to play former world number one and 13th seed Jelena Jankovic, of Serbia.
Erakovic has never progressed beyond the second round of the Australian Open. Her best Grand Slam results have come at Wimbledon, where she has twice made the third round.
McHale, like Erakovic, was knocked of the first round the recent ASB Classic in Auckland.