MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 09:  Andrea Petkovic of Germany hits a forehand in the 2018 Kooyong Classic at Kooyong on January 9, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Petkovic praises Aussie Aiava after taking Kooyong opener

Posted on January 9, 2018

Andrea Petkovic was full of praise for Destanee Aiava following her victory over the Australian teenager in the opening match of the 2018 Priceline Pharmacy Kooyong Classic on Tuesday morning.

In typical Melbourne conditions with sunshine, some cloud and gusty winds the German found her form after a sluggish first set and played some powerful tennis late in the match to defeat the 17-year-old baseliner 3-6 6-3 6-2.

“I’ve never played Destanee so I really didn’t know much about her,” Petkovic told reporters after the match.

“I saw her play really well in Brisbane last year so that’s when she came to my attention and I think she has a bright future if she continues like this.

“Her serve is amazing and her ground strokes are really powerful, so I think she can do really well.”

The 30-year-old, who has been ranked as high as nine in the world back in 2011, gave an honest assessment of her performance as she continues to work herself back to peak condition after a run of injury problems.

“I didn’t think I played horrible I just think I was trying to get used to her pace and the conditions,” Petkovic added.

“Then I got broken twice unnecessarily, but I was happy I just stayed calm and continued doing my thing then I started feeling better and playing better.”

An awkward slip in the first set left Petkovic holding her left hip, which fortunately turned out to be only a stumble for a player who has had her career hindered by knee and ankle injuries in recent years.

“My body is going pretty well, I have to say,” she said.

“I’ve changed my training routine a little bit because last year I had some chronic knee problems, so I changed things around and I’m really good with my nutrition and I’m experimenting right now how much I can do, hopefully I will find my way this year.”

Aiava stepped out on her home court at Kooyong, where she is a member, for a second consecutive year but was this time much more composed taking the first set with some clean hitting.

Despite struggling to hit the target with her first serve Aiava played aggressively from the outset and was able to break the German’s serve twice in the first set.

“I had a great start but then in the second and third set lost my rhythm,” she said.

“Didn’t play my best I guess, but at least I got a set… she’s got a lot of experience on me I guess and that played a part as well.

“It’s all preparation for Aus Open, so it doesn’t really matter right now, my main focus is on that.”

The first player born this century to play in a Grand Slam not only felt different on the court from her last outing at Kooyong in 2017, she also looked different sporting a blonde head of hair for the new year.

“Compared to last year I felt a lot better,” Aiava said.

“The result doesn’t really matter, I’m not really fussed about that today.

“I did it like three days ago, just felt like I needed a change, I went in and just said, give me blonde hair, I don’t care.

“New hair, new me, new year.  I’ve got the whole works (and the nails).”

News & special offers directly into your inbox

  • Latest Kooyong Classic news
  • Latest ticket offers
  • Exciting announcements from around the tournament