MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 25:  Destanee Aiava of Australia in action in her match against Tamachan Momkoonthod of Thailand during the Australian Open 2015 Junior Championships at Melbourne Park on January 25, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Wayne Taylor/Getty Images)

Australian teenage star Destanee Aiava added to Kooyong draw – Women’s field expands to four

Posted on December 22, 2016

Australian teenage prodigy Destanee Aiava has been added to the women’s draw of the 2017 Priceline Pharmacy Kooyong Classic along with China’s second highest ranked player Qiang Wang.

16-year-old Aiava, who is the Australian Junior Champion and also a Kooyong Foundation scholarship holder, will replace compatriot Ajla Tomljanovic who was forced to withdraw from the event while recovering from injury.

The Melburnian will give fans more than a glimpse into the future of Australian tennis as she prepares for her Australian Open debut, for which she has a wildcard as Australian 18 and under champion.

Aivava said a whirlwind couple of weeks will now extend into 2017.

“It’s been such a great few weeks winning the Australian Open wildcard and now being invited to play in the Kooyong Classic. For me, being from Melbourne and training so much at Kooyong it is going to be a fantastic experience playing there in front of home town fans.”

Playing against Sabine, Sorana and Qiang is going to be the perfect preparation for the Australian Open and I can’t wait.”

Coming to Melbourne with a world ranking of 72 the Peter McNamara coached Qiang Wang will be the first Chinese player to take the court at Kooyong.

The pair will join already named players Sabine Lisicki and Sorana Cirstea in the women’s draw, which will see females play at the famous Kooyong stadium for the first time in two decades.

Tournament director Peter Johnston was pleased with how the women’s draw has come together

“We have had such great feedback with the inclusion of the women this year that we have expanded the field to four girls,” Johnston said.

“We are delighted to welcome Destanee who truly is a big part of Australia’s tennis future. The opportunity for her to play against world-class players the week before her Grand Slam singles debut should be the perfect preparation.

“Qiang Wang is an emerging star in China. She is already the Chinese number two ranked woman and an Olympian, and it is great to welcome our first Chinese participant in the history of the Kooyong Classic.”

The men’s draw features six players in the world top 30 rankings, with number 11 and defending champion David Goffin from Belgium leading an exciting group of players that also includes Australian Bernard Tomic.

Joining them is Frenchman Lucas Pouille, Richard Gasquet, world number 20 Ivo Karlovic, Gilles Simon, Borna Coric, Mikhail Youzhny, Yoshihito Nishioka and one player that is yet to be announced.

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