Australia’s Destanee Aiava has been a regular competitor at the Canberra tennis tournaments. The world no. 202 has also gone close on several occasions to claim a title.
Back in March 2016, Aiava reached the clay court final losing to Eri Hozumi, then in 2017, she lost a hard court final against Olivia Rogowska. In 2018 she lost in the final of the $60k clay court event held a year ago, going down to Slovenia’s Dalila Jakupovic.
At the 2019 ACT Clay Court International #1, Aiava accounted for Britain’s Francesca Jones, Australia’s Naiktha Bains, Germany’s Katharina Gerlach and then Australia’s Olivia Rogowska.
Aiava’s finals opponent was world no. 289 Risa Ozaki from Japan. Ozaki had defeated the 2016 title winner Hozumi in the semifinals.
The Australian hits a heavy ball and serves with power. He weakness is moving around the court, but she still does move well.
Ozaki served at a high percentage on the clay courts, getting 79% of first serves in play. The Japanese player, however, struggled to win points from her first serve and won just 47% of the points on the first serve.
Aiava served at 64% but won 69% of first serve points. On the second serve, Ozaki won just one of the 10-second serve points while Aiava won 11 from 16. That was a telling statistic.
The 18-year-old Australian was able to break her opponent three times in the opening set, but did give up one break. In the second set it was the same, with three breaks to one as Aiava cruised to her first title in Canberra.
I felt pretty good, the match was tougher than the score looked and I’m just really happy to get the win in Canberra finally,” Aiava said.
“Today was more mental more than having a game plan and I’m just glad I kept my cool during the match and everything worked out.
“It’s my first title this year, I haven’t got off to a good start, so it’s good to get the win under my belt before I go to America. I’m feeling confident.”
Aiava, after winning the singles title also backed up to play in the doubles final with Ellen Perez. Aiava and Perez lost a tight match against the no. 1 seeds of Naiktha Bains from Australia and Tereza Mihalíková from Slovakia. The final score was 4-6, 6-2, 10-4.
The world no. 202 next heads to the USA.
The ACT Clay Court International #2 is to be held over the coming week with the final scheduled for Sunday 31 March. The top seed is Australia’s Priscilla Hon, the current world no. 136 ranked woman.
More photos from women’s finals day are available here -> https://photos.keatingmedia.com.au/Canberra-Events/Sports/ACT-Clay-Court-Womens-International-1-finals-24-March-2019/