New Zealander wins Pro Circuit Challenger

By WESLEY HALLMAN / Sports Editor

Marina Erakovic of New Zealand held off Renata Voracova of the Czech Republic in the Pelham Racquet Club’s $25,000 Pro Circuit Challenger April 3 in Pelham.

Erakovic became a first-time champion in Pelham after winning the first set 6-2 and dropping the second set 2-6 before clinching the championship match with a 6-1 win in the tie-breaking third set against Voracova, who entered the tournament as the No. 3 overall seed.

Erakovic, who entered the tournament ranked No. 229 in the Women’s Tennis Association tour rankings, faced two of the Challenger’s top eight seeds on her way to the championship.

Erakovic defeated Roxane Vaisemberg of Brazil 1-6, 6-1, 6-2 in the first round of the tournament. The 23-year-old topped Madison Brengle of the United States, who entered the tournament as the No. 8 overall seed in the field, 6-4, 6-3 in the second round.

Erakovic defeated Camila Giorgi of Italy 6-4, 6-3 in the quarterfinals before defeating Caroline Garcia of France 6-1, 6-3 in the semifinals.

Voracova defeated the defending PRC Challenger champion, Edina Gallovits-Hall of Romania, 6-7 (7-1), 6-1, 7-6 (5) in the semifinals.

Melanie Oudin, an American who was the biggest draw in the tournament with a No. 75 ranking in the WTA, fell to Ashley Weinhold of the United States 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 in the tournament’s opening round. It was Oudin’s second tennis match in Pelham, after the Georgia native participated in the Pelham Challenge exhibition tennis event in Dec. 2009 at the Pelham Civic Complex.