After Brisbane washout, destiny in Aiava’s hands
Aussie youngster Destanee Aiava faces a test of her mental fortitude as she looks to finish off Bethanie Mattek-Sands at the Brisbane International in a match suspended overnight.
Teenager Destanee Aiava is on the brink of a stunning victory over Bethanie Mattek-Sands but needs to put the American to the sword when their first-round Brisbane International clash resumes on Tuesday.
Victorian Aiava was ahead 2-6 6-3 3-0 (40-15) when their Monday night match was suspended due to torrential rain in Brisbane.
But the 16-year-old now faces an early test of her mental fortitude as she looks to finish the job over the experienced Mattek-Sands, who also had to go through qualifying to secure her place in the main bracket.
Mattek-Sands, 31, looked on the ropes by the time heavy storms rolled over south-east Queensland and will benefit the most from the break in play.
Aiava, born to Samoan parents and boasting a powerful frame and booming serve, already has a wildcard entry for the Australian Open secured but would go some way to announcing her arrival as a professional with an upset win.
It is a packed schedule at the Queensland Tennis Centre on Tuesday because several other matches were washed out and had to be rescheduled.
Aussies Sam Groth and Alex De Minaur – the latter like Aiava a teenaged qualifier – will get their campaigns underway in the first round.
But the star attraction is undoubtably Rafael Nadal, who will make his debut at Pat Rafter Arena against Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov in the night session.
Nadal, 30, is the tournament’s new drawcard, stepping into the breach after Roger Federer’s decision to play in the Hopman Cup after a long stretch as the face of Brisbane’s tennis showpiece.
In the women’s draw, Czech third seed Karolina Pliskova and fourth-seeded Spaniard Garbine Muguruza will begin their tournaments against American Asia Muhammad and Russia’s Daria Kasatkina respectively.
For all tournament information, visit brisbaneinternational.com.au.