Melbourne, Australia, 4 January 2022 | Leigh Rogers

Melbourne Summer Set WTA 250 #1

Destanee Aiava has made a promising start to the 2022 season, winning back-to-back matches at tour-level for the first time since February 2020.

The 21-year-old recorded a 6-4 6-4 victory against fellow Australian Taylah Preston in final qualifying round action at Melbourne Park today.

Preston, an unranked 16-year-old from Perth, upset former world No.5 Sara Errani in the opening round but proved no match for the determined Aiava.

Aiava, currently ranked No.316, is looking to improve her ranking after only claiming three wins in total on the professional tour during 2021.

With two wins in as many days, Aiava has now qualified at a WTA tournament for the fourth time in her career and for the first time since April 2019.

Aiava, whose ranking peaked at No.147 in September 2017, has been pitted against former world No.1 Simona Halep in the opening round.

They have played once before – in the first round at Australian Open 2018, where Aiava memorably tested Halep and led 5-2 in the opening set. The Romanian fought back to win 7-6(5) 6-1 and went on to reach the tournament’s final.

Aiava was the sole Australian winner in Melbourne Summer Set WTA 250 #1 matches today.

Kimberly Birrell’s qualifying quest ended with a 6-4 6-4 loss to the Netherlands’ Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove.

While Arina Rodionova’s singles tournament is also over, with Romanian Elena-Gabriela Ruse scoring a 6-3 6-2 victory in their first-round clash.

Melbourne Summer Set WTA 250 #1

Women’s singles, first round
Elena-Gabriela Ruse (ROU) d [WC] Arina Rodionova (AUS) 6-3 6-2

Women’s qualifying singles, final round
[WC] Destanee Aiava (AUS) d [WC] Taylah Preston (AUS) 6-4 6-4
Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove (NED) d [WC] Kimberly Birrell (AUS) 6-4 6-4

Women’s singles, first round
[WC] Lizette Cabrera (AUS) v Anastasia Potapova (RUS)
[WC] Seone Mendez (AUS) v [Q] Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove (NED)
[Q] Destanee Aiava (AUS) v [2] Simona Halep (ROU)

> VIEW: Full women’s singles draw

Women’s doubles, first round
[4] Ellen Perez (AUS)/Greet Minnen (BEL) v [WC] Destanee Aiava (AUS)/Lizette Cabrera (AUS)
[WC] Gabriella Da Silva-Fick (AUS)/Olivia Tjandramulia (AUS) v Sara Errani (ITA)/Jasmine Paolini (ITA)

Melbourne Summer Set tickets are on sale, with prices beginning at $19. Kids can attend for free.

> BUY NOW: Melbourne Summer Set tickets