BIRMINGHAM, England - The Aegon Classic is a tournament near and dear to Cara Black's heart, as she has been victorious here four times with three different partners - tied with Antwerp, San Diego and Zürich for the most WTA doubles titles she has won anywhere.
In fact, Black won Birmingham the last three times she played here, most recently in 2010 with Lisa Raymond. However, on Tuesday, they were on opposite sides of the net, with Black and Erakovic beating Raymond and Laura Robson in straight sets.
"It was a really tough first round for us," Black said. "Playing Lisa, who is also a really great grass court player, and Laura, who she's been playing well with. We saw that was our first round and were like, 'That could easily be a final.' Marina and I played really well. I think it was a good match all around, and we were just happy to come out on top."
"Liezel and I won here in 2008 and 2009," Black said. "She also loves playing on the grass and playing here in Birmingham. We'll just keep doing what we've been doing - trying to concentrate on working on things for Eastbourne and Wimbledon and keep enjoying it."
Black commented on squaring off against opponents she used to play alongside.
"It is obviously a little bit weird in a way because you do know the ins and outs of each other's games," Black said. "But you just kind of have to put that aside and focus on yourself and your game and your game plan and trying to execute out there and hopefully come out with a win."
Black is actually in the midst of a 13-match winning streak in Birmingham and touched on why she plays so well here.
"I've always loved the grass and it suits my game," Black said. "I have played on it since I was a child and feel at home on it. Going straight from the clay to the grass is a really nice feeling actually. You have to work so hard for your points on clay and then when you're on the grass, it feels so easy. I love the atmosphere here. I just feel really comfortable and get excited to play when I get out here."
And as for her partnership with Erakovic, Black plans to continue it the rest of the season.
"We've been playing really well the last few weeks," Black said. "Making the final in Madrid and Strasbourg. Quarters last week at the French, losing a really tough match there. I really enjoy playing with her. She's such a great girl. We've been having a lot of fun out there and I'm looking forward to the rest of the year with her."