Canberra, ACT, 19 March 2019 | Asher Packman

The ACT Clay Court International #1 got underway in Canberra on Tuesday with second seed Destanee Aiava and former Canberra Australian Pro Tour champion Olivia Rogowska making safe passage into the second round.

Aiava, 18, had a comfortable win defeating Brit Francesca Jones 6-3 6-2 in just under 80 minutes while fellow Victorian Rogowska was made to work a lot harder in overcoming local Canberran Alison Bai 4-6 6-3 6-4.

“The last couple of matches we’ve had together have been real battles,” Rogowska said. “We know each other’s games so well, and to win against Alison in her own backyard, I’m just really pleased to get through that in the end.”

While slipping to a world ranking of No.291, the 27-year-old describes her season thus far as mixed. “I’ve had some tough losses with not much in them,” she said. “I’ve just got to stay focused. It’s felt really good on the practice court, I’ve just got to keep translating that into matches.”

Fourth seed Ellen Perez also opened her Canberra campaign with a win, defeating Japan’s Miyabi Inoue 6-3 6-3. Wildcard Belinda Woolcock was not fortunate, falling to Eri Hozumi in straight sets.

The tournament’s No.3 seed, Zoe Hives, will take on another of the Japanese contingent – qualifier Yuuki Tanaka – on Wednesday, while top-seeded Romanian, Irina Maria Bara, faces Caroline Romeo of France.

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