Australian Zoe Hives has made a memorable WTA main draw debut, scoring the biggest win of her career.
The 22-year-old wildcard defeated Sweden’s Johanna Larsson 7-6(1) 7-6(2) in first-round action today.
“Early on I felt a little nervous and it was really swirly, the conditions were difficult out there. But as the match went on, the (nerves) went and I started moving my feet better, had better energy and was able to play a lot better,” Hives said.
The No.211-ranked Hives admitted to feeling mixed emotions too when closing out the match.
“I was kind of relieved to get through it, that I didn’t have to play a third set,” she said. “But I was (also) really excited. It was just so good to know that I put myself in the match, I knew I could win it and to actually come out with the win and to play so well in the tiebreak. I didn’t tighten up at all. It was great.”
The victory over the world No.75-ranked Larsson was Hives’ second career top-100 win. She recorded her first at the Hobart International in 2016, when she defeated world No.99-ranked Lourdes Dominguez Lino in qualifying.
Injury struggles since that breakthrough performance, made today’s win even sweeter for Hives.
“To come back here and be playing really well, knowing I’ve got my first Grand Slam next week, it is great prep. I really like Hobart,” she said.
Hives now faces Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic in the second round. The former world No.7 eliminated second seed Mihaela Buzarnescu earlier today.
“It’s going to be a great experience,” said Hives. “I’ve been watching her play at the Hopman Cup for the past week, so I’m really looking forward to it.”