DAY 3 – PRICELINE PHARMACY KOOYONG CLASSIC
Thursday, 12 January 2017
BELIEVE IN DESTANEE
The 16-year-old from Melbourne hit the ball hard in the second set and looked much more comfortable on centre court, nearly taking the second set into a tiebreak.
Destanee was interviewed after her match saying –
“I was playing a bit better than, whatever day I played, I forgot… Tuesday,” Aiava laughed after the match.
“It doesn’t really matter about the result, I’m just using this as preparation for the Aus Open.
“Yeah I was feeling much better on the court and was a bit more confident today, but it wasn’t my day.”
Aiava admitted to feeling overwhelmed with nerves in her first match against Sorana Cirstea on the opening day of the tournament, but dealt with the occasion much better against Qiang.
“I wasn’t as nervous or tight today, and I didn’t feel as much pressure as I did the other day, yeah a bit better,” she explained.
“Yeah it (crowd support) does (help), it’s pretty cool to have people cheering me on but I try to zone them out and just focus what’s on the court.
“Having more composure and focus and more professionalism – I’ll take that into the Grand Slam.”
In a hard fought second set Aiava hit a number of clean winners from each wing, taking the game to the second highest ranked Chinese female on the world tour.
“Yeah… moments, here and there,” she laughed when asked if she had fun on court.
“Oh geez I don’t know, maybe take my mind off tennis a little bit when I’m at home and just setting some goals maybe,” Aiava responded when asked what she will do until her first Grand Slam match.
“Yeah (maybe some Netflix).”
Naturally there is a lot of speculation surrounding who Aiava may play in the first round, with 22-time Grand Slam winner and idol Serena Williams the obvious dream choice for organisers.
“Nah not really, I’m just looking forward to the challenge,” she said when asked if she had a hopeful first-round opponent in mind.
Qiang was happy with her performance and that she was able to counter the big-hitting shown by Aiava in the second set to head to Melbourne Park with a win.
“Yeah it was better than yesterday and she played really well,” Qiang said.
“She’s really tough, she plays hard and fast – yes she hits the angles and is very difficult to play.
“I think so (I’m ready for next week).”
TSONGA BETTERS YOUNG CORIC IN KOOYONG EXHIBITION
A new season following an injury-plagued year is looking positive for Jo-Wilfried Tsonga with another solid win, this time against defeating Croatian Borna Coric 6-3 7-6 at the 2017 Priceline Pharmacy Kooyong Classic.
The hot Melbourne sun again greeted players for day three of the tournament and the crowd was treated to a competitive contest between the Frenchman and 20-year-old prodigy as they prepared for the Australian Open.
DAY 3 RESULTS:
Jo-Wilfred Tsonga (FRA) def Borna Corin (CRO) 6/3, 7/6 (7-2)
Qiang Wang ( China) def Destanee Aiava (Aus) 7/5, 6/4
Karen Khachanov (Rus) def Yoshihito Nishioka (Japan) 4/6, 6/2, 3/10
Mikhail Youzhny (Rus) def Marc Polmans (Aus) 6/3, 6/4
FINALS DAY 4 TOMORROW – 12.30PM START
Bernard Tomic (Aus) vs Gilles Simon (Fra)
David Goffin (Bel) vs Ivo Karlovic (Cro)
Sorana Cirstea (Rom) vs Yanina Wickmeyer (Bel)
HEAR JACKI LIVE ON RPP FM:
Friday, 13 January – 8.35am, breakfast with the ‘Robbies’ and Mitch
Saturday, 14 January – The Locker Room sports program 10.30 – 12noon, wrapping up the Kooyong Classic and prep for the Australian Open with a focus on Australian players.
RPP FM – Summer of Tennis
98.7FM & 98.3FM Frankston
Live stream from the rppfm.com.au and download our app
By Jacki Mitchell