Australia’s world no. 269 Zoe Hives has won the Apis Canberra International title, defeating the no. 4 seed and defending champion Olivia Rogowska 6-4, 6-2. Hives had battled through three, three-set matches to reach the final and were hampered by niggling injuries. She made a point to thank the physio during her after match speech. 22-year-old Hives dominated play against world no. 184 Rogowska with her consistent groundstrokes and good movement around the court.
The first set could easily have gone to Rogowska. Hives was broken when serving for the set at 5-3 to have games back on serve, but she was able to break in the next game to seal the set.
Hives got on top early in the second set when she broke Rogowska in the fourth game for a 3-1 lead. After holding serve twice more Hives broke again with Rogowska serving at 2-5, that gave Hives the title.
The Canberra title is the first for Hives at the ITF $60,000 level and adds to her two ITF $25,000 titles won in Toowoomba and Playford in 2018 and a $15,000 title won in Melbourne in 2015.
Hives was a point from exiting the tournament at the quarterfinal stage when Naiktha Bains held match point when serving at 5-3 and Ad. In that match, Hives came home strong to win the next four games and secure a 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory against the world no. 320.
“I’m a bit stunned, this whole week I’ve just battled through and I feel lucky to have actually made the final, so to come out and play such a good match… I’m just so happy,” Hives said.
“I found it really hard to get my touch [all week]. That’s why I struggled through the earlier rounds but today I finally felt like I had it and was feeling really good.
“I’ve been working really hard on my conditioning, at the start of the year I wouldn’t have been able to get through a tournament like this with three three-setters, so I’m really proud.
“Everyone can play at this level so the next part is mental and I felt like this week I was mentally strong this week.
“My first match was 7-5 in the third (against Jodie Anna Burrage from Great Britain), I wasn’t feeling it but got through. Then I had a match point against me in the quarter-final and got through that 7-5 (against Naiktha Bains), then yesterday I had another very tough three-setter (against Isabelle Wallace).
“I don’t think I had a third set in me today. It’s been a very tough mental week but that’s a massive part of the game.”
“I’ll head into a training block then go to the wildcard playoffs for Aussie Open main draw, that’s in December,” Hives said.
“Next year I’ll try and get my ranking in low 100s, that will be my aim but also to stay on court for the whole year because I missed a lot of tennis this year.
“If I play a full year who knows how I’ll be playing, I feel like I could get some really good rhythm and feel good out there.”
With the title win Hives will jump 54 places on the WTA rankings to no. 215, that also makes Hives the 10th highest ranked Australian female in singles.. Rogowska after failing to defend her title will drop 27 places to no. 211 and ninth amongst the Australians.
Hives had earlier in the season reached the semifinals at the ACT Clay Court International held at the same venue in March and in 2017 at the Apis Canberra International she lost in the first round to Alize Lim from France.
As Hives mentioned, the Australian Open main draw wildcard playoffs take place at Melbourne Park, Melbourne from 10-16 December. The draw will comprise of 16 men and 16 women. Entry is free, so if you are in Melbourne you should get along to enjoy the tennis action.
The road to the final for Hives
Round 1 d world no. 420 Jodie Anna Burrage from Great Britain 3-6, 6-3, 7-5
Round 2 d world no. and no. 3 seed Priscilla Hon from Australia 6-4, 6-4.
Quarterfinal d world no. Naiktha Bains from Australia 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.
Semifinals d world no. Isabelle Wallace from Australia 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
More photos from the final
You are able to view more photos and purchase photos at https://photos.keatingmedia.com.au/Canberra-Events/Sports/Apis-Canberra-International-4-November-2018-singles-finals/