16-year-old Destanee Aiava wins Australian U18 junior title and writes Grand Slam history!


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16-year-old Destanee Aiava wins Australian U18 junior title and writes Grand Slam history!

Destanee Aiava, from Melbourne, Australia, has been destined for a great tennis career since her first tournaments in the U12 category, and she proved that to us once again today! This super talented girl born in May 2000, eached the semi-final of the U12 Australian Junior Championships in 2010, losing to Sara Tomic, but she managed to go all the way a year later, demolishing her rivals (lost 15 games in 6 matches) to win her second national crown, as she was victorious in the clay Championships in April as well. Destanee continued to improve her game constantly, and she had tremendous 2014, reaching the semi-final in both singles and doubles at Grade 1 AGL Loy Yang Traralgon Junior International, still at the age of 13! After that, she stormed to conquer singles crown in 4 ITF U18 events, against the much older rivals.

She took Tennis Central 18/U Championships, Auckland 18 & Under Summer Championships, Victorian Junior Claycourt International and Queensland Junior Winter International 1, losing just two sets in 22 matches! By the end of that season, Aiava was the best at Canadian World Ranking Event U18 too, and all these triumphs gave her career-best ranking on ITF junior list at the beginning of 2015, reaching the Top 50 still at the age of 14.

Feeling like he has done enough at this level of competition, starting with professional tournaments, gathering some valuable experience in home events, advancing to the quarter-final on clay in Melbourne, still before her 15th birthday.

She stayed titleless last year, but the best was yet to come, as she was ready to show her full potential in 2016. Back in March, Destanee made her first pro final, at $25,000 Canberra event on clay, and again in September at $25,000 Tweed Heads.

She will finish the season inside the Top 400, and at the moment young Aussie is the 3rd best-ranked player born in 2000, after Andreescu and Yastremska. This week, Destanee decided to enter her first junior event since Wimbledon, as the first seed at 2016 Australian U18 Junior Championships, and she had no rivals in her 5 matches, winning the crown convincingly and punching her ticket to the main draw of the next month's Australian Open, as the first player born in 2000 to do so! Destanee was seeded first and she wasted no time on the court before the final match, beating all her rivals easily and setting up a title clash with her good friend Jaimee Fourlis, who was the second seed.

Aiava won the match by 7-5 6-3 in just under 2 and a half hours to take her second title at this event and booking her place in Melbourne's big scene in January, which is an amazing achievement for the girl who is yet to turn 17.

The first set was very competitive but Aiava clinched it with a late break to take it 7-5, and that gave her a huge boost for the rest of the match. Fourlis had a chance to open the second set with a break in game 3, but she failed to convert her chances and was punished soon after that, as Destanee raced into a 4-1 lead.

The battle was raging on in the closing stages, Fourlis saved 3 match points but Aiava kept her coolness to convert the 4th with a backhand winner to start celebrating a big success.

“We’re close friends, and it was really tough” Aiava said. “I think it came down to who wanted it more.

I was just trying to stay composed and not think too far ahead. The thought of receiving the wildcard into my favourite Grand Slam was something I never expected, I was really shocked – and still am, it hasn’t really sunk in yet.

I’d like to play Serena, she’s my idol, so that would be a good experience. I’m really excited.”

SOURCE: http://www.tennis.com.au/news/2016/12/10/aiava-books-australian-open-berth ALSO READ: 2016 Australian Junior Championships: Scott Jones wins the title in his last junior tournament!