Hives halted in Burnie
Ukrainian teen sensation Marta Kostyuk ends Aussie hopes in Burnie, overrunning Zoe Hives in the semifinal.
Zoe Hives’ campaign at the Caterpillar Burnie International has come to an end after a three-set semifinal defeat at the hands of fast-rising Ukrainian teen Marta Kostyuk on Friday.
Hives’ solid week in Burnie comes on the back of her maiden $25,000 ITF Pro Circuit title success in Playford last month – an event she won as a wildcard and which propelled the Ballarat-born 21-year-old to the cusp of the world’s top 300, a mark she will now surpass after this week’s performance.
“I am really happy with how I’ve gone, I didn’t really expect it to happen,” Hives said. “Even though I lost today it still gives me a lot of confidence. I know I can match it with these girls now. Before these results, I felt I was kind of lacking a bit against them.”
Following her record-breaking run to the third round of the Australian Open as a qualifier – and in doing so, becoming the first player born in 2002 to reach a Grand Slam main draw – Kostyuk is quickly proving a force to be reckoned with. Against Hives, the 15-year-old showed her resilience by coming back from a set down to win 4-6 6-2 6-2 in just under two hours.
“She played really well, took the ball early, and she definitely deserved it,” said Hives, who felt a shift in the match away from her at the beginning of the second set. “We had a really big game early and I felt it afterwards. I just lost a little bit from there.”
Saturday’s final will determine whether Kostyuk can continue her winning form when she takes on Swiss Viktorija Golubic, the top seed, who also needed three sets to defeat fourth-seeded Aussie Olivia Rogowska 6-7(3) 6-0 6-2.
Despite the loss, Rogowska continues to show impressive form on the Australian Pro Tour.