Aiava secures second AO wildcard
Aussie young gun Destanee Aiava will appear in the singles and doubles main draws at Australian Open 2017 after winning a doubles wildcard with Queensland's Alicia Smith.
Destanee Aiava’s incredible December has continued after the 16-year-old partnered Alicia Smith to secure a doubles main-draw wildcard at Australian Open 2017.
Aiava and Smith, who began playing together earlier this year on the Australian Pro Tour, beat Naiktha Bains and Abbie Myers at Melbourne Park on Friday to win the wildcard.
The result comes a week after Aiava won the 18/u Australian Championships to secure an AO2017 singles wildcard.
It is the first time a doubles play-off has been held during the December Showdown for teams to battle it out for a spot at the year’s first Grand Slam event.
“Feels unreal. Thanks to Alicia who carried us (laughter),” said Aiava.
“We worked well as a team as we’ve been playing together for quite a while now so we know each other’s games. We just put that into play and came out with the win.
“I think definitely our serves and volleys, that helps a lot. We got the crucial points that helped us to get ahead.”
Aiava and Smith beat Kayla McPhee and Kaitlyn Staines in the first round before overcoming Ellen Perez and Olivia Tjandramulia in a match tiebreak in the semifinals.
In the final, they dismissed Bains and Myers 7-5 6-3.
“It’s been a dream since I was five to play in a Grand Slam, so I don’t think it’s actually sunk in at the moment,” said the 20-year-old Smith.
“But it’s amazing, that’s all I can pretty much say. I’ll be looking forward to January.”
“I think (Tennis Australia) giving us the opportunity as well to be able to show how good we are at doubles is amazing.
“A lot of people don’t see doubles as a Grand Slam thing and it doesn’t get broadcast a lot. It’s very fun and Des and I love playing together, so I’m just glad we had the opportunity to show what we can do.”
For more information, visit the Australian Open Play-off homepage.