Cirstea beats nervy Aussie Aiava at KooyongPosted on January 10, 2017
It was a nervous start for Australian teenager Destanee Aiava in her debut at the 2017 Priceline Pharmacy Kooyong Classic before succumbing to Romanian Sorana Cirstea 6-1 7-6 in one hour and 13 minutes.
The first set was over in a flash for the 16-year-old who showed obvious signs of tension, often being beaten for pace by the power from the other side of the net.
However, late in the match those nerves subsided enough for her to deal with the pace of the game and match shots with the world number 80, who is amazingly ten years her senior at just 26-years-old.
A flurry of definitive winners allowed Aiava to cancel out the double break she relinquished early in the second set and a tight tie-breaker that eventually went to Cirstea was a promising finish.
“I started off pretty shaky but started to get my rhythm back in the second, it just wasn’t my day today,” Aiava admitted after the match.
“It was hard early to put the ball back in the court, it was a big learning curve for me, she played pretty well today.
“Consistency and my focus is a bit on and off sometimes.
“Yeah at the start I was really shaky and didn’t really move that well but in the second set I got a bit more rhythm and started to feel a bit better later in the match.
“I’ll take a lot of positives from this and not get down on myself, I’ve got a lot more to look forward to.”
Cirstea was more than content with her level of play in the first set and was glad she could rise to the challenge from the teenager in the second-set tussle.
Surprisingly, the hot Melbourne sun was not a problem for Cirstea who has travelled to Australia from a very cold Romanian winter with temperatures as low as -22 degrees celsius.
“I started quite consistently and I think she missed a bit in the first set than in the second but I think the first set from my side was quite solid,” she said.
“At the end of the second she started to play better and I went a little bit backwards but I think it was good, good to get two sets playing great and it was a very good match.
“I’m quite lucky I handle the heat well and I don’t mind it, even though I’m from Romania and we know how cold it is there right now.
“I was happy to get such weather today and slowly start to get used to the conditions I’m going to have at Melbourne Park as well.”
Aiava impressed the Romanian with her power for such a young player, an asset that will only become more of a strength once it is better harnessed through more experience as a professional.
“I think she’s going to be a very good player, she has a lot of power for her age,” Cirstea said.
“It’s normal she misses a few shots, I think with age the discipline comes in and the matches and experience but I think she has a great future.
“A lot of power, clean shots so I think she is going to be a good one.
“Yes definitely (looking forward to the Australian Open), I was not here last year I was injured.
“So I remember watching from the couch and I was crying because I wanted to be here and this year I’m definitely going to enjoy it and try to give my best and see how it is.”