Launceston, TAS, 7 February 2020 | Asher Packman

Destanee Aiava has kept Australian hopes alive at the Launceston International, downing Japan’s Naho Sato in a straight-sets encounter on Friday.

The fifth seed wasted little time in dismissing her opponent 6-1 6-2 to move into the semifinals.

“I felt like I played pretty well,” Aiava, 19, said. “She’s a tricky opponent, but as the match went longer I felt more confident.

“I’m improving each match this week and everything’s in good nick at the moment. I’m in a good place and it’s been a good start to the year for me.”

“My big goal is to try and get inside the top 100,” said the current world No.242, “but obviously I’m just taking it one day at a time not looking too far ahead.”

Aiava takes on American Sachia Vickery – the second seed and last week’s Burnie runner-up – for a place in Sunday’s final. Vickery ended the break-out week of wildcard Amber Marshall 6-1 6-2 on Friday.

The remaining semifinal sees Japan’s Ayano Shimizu (No.6) play American Asia Muhammad. The third seed was too strong for Sydney’s Abbie Myers (No.8), winning 6-0 6-3.

The men’s semifinals are now also set, with South Australian Alex Bolt a straight sets winner over Italian Liam Caruana 7-6(3) 6-3. The second seed takes on German Daniel Altmaier while Belgium’s Kimmer Coppejans (No.6) will lock horns with in-form Egyptian Mohamed Safwat.

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