Melbourne VIC, Australia, 18 January 2014 | Rob Sheeley
Playing in your first junior Grand Slam tournament is a big achievement, doing it as a 13-year-old even more so.
Destanee Aiava not only ticked both of those boxes today, she also won her first-round match in straight sets.
Aiava disposed of her 16-year-old Italian opponent Verena Hofer 7-5 6-2 in an hour and 28 minutes. After plenty of pre-match nerves, it was a relieved Aiava after the victory.
“I’m feeling a bit better now that I’ve had my first match and won.” She said.
“I thought it would be a tough match, I tried to play one point at a time and not think ahead.”
In a first set which required a show of mental toughness and resilience, Aiava prevailed despite having her own service game broken twice.
“I just tried to stay positive and keep going.”
The Narre Warren local, who has the luxury of travelling from home for the tournament said being around a Grand Slam atmosphere was a terrific experience.
“It was really exciting, but I got used to it pretty fast.”
Aiava will now meet American 14th seed Katrine Steffensen in the second round but knows she is capable of upsetting her.
“I played her last week in Traralgon and I won.”
If she can replicate her first round result, there is every chance that we will be hearing Destanee Aiava’s name a lot more this week.