Aiava dreams big as four Aussies advance
Four Aussies won through to the third round of the junior tournaments at the Australian Open on Tuesday, including Destanee Aiava who has set herself a big goal.
At 14 years, eight months and 17 days, Destanee Aiava dares to dream big.
The softly spoken up-and-comer from Narre Warren recently set herself a goal that was virtually an Australian Open ultimatum.
“I set out a goal to try and win a Grand Slam before I turn 15, I’m trying my best to try and reach that goal,” Aiava said on Tuesday.
The only opportunity that she will get to reach her dream is at the Australian Open, with the next Grand Slam tournament, the French Open, falling after her 15th Birthday.
On Tuesday at Melbourne Park, Aiava moved a step closer to achieving her goal when she won through to the third round of the girls’ singles tournament. She defeated 15th seed Miriam Kolodziejova from the Czech Republic in straight sets, 6-3 7-6(5).
She says that setting goals is one of the keys to her success.
“I try to set goals to achieve higher and, if I achieve them, I feel really good about myself.
“I just keep trying to stay disciplined to reach that goal.”
After reaching the same stage last year as a 13-year-old, there is plenty to suggest that she can go much deeper in 2015. For now, she is content with the way things are progressing.
“It feels really good to be through to the third round, hopefully I can progress to the fourth.”
While the game of Aiava is constantly evolving, she says the biggest differences from a year ago are a combination of improved versatility and calmness under pressure.
“I think I’m more mentally stable.
“I’m really trying to not show too many emotions to the other player and to just keep fighting.
“My coach and I have been really working on looking to come in more and be more of an all-round player, not just a baseline player.”
Aiava was one of three Australians to advance to the third round of the girls’ tournament along with Sara Tomic and 6th seed Kimberly Birrell.
Tomic blasted her way into the third round with a dominant 6-2 6-3 win over Tessah Andrianjafitrimo from France.
Tomic is yet to drop a set in her opening two matches and took just over an hour to dispose of her rival.
Kimberly Birrell was forced to fight back from a set down in her match against German Katharina Hobgarski before she saluted 2-6 6-2 6-4.
Birrell was a semifinalist in 2014 and looks well on the way to replicating that feat again this year.
The lone Aussie in action on Tuesday in the boys’ tournament also progressed to the third round.
Akira Santillan staged a soul-stirring comeback against Nam Hoang Ly from Vietnam to win 4-6 7-6(3) 6-4.
Santillan joins Marc Polmans and Jake Delaney who both won their second-round matches on Monday.