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Aiava loses opening Kooyong tennis clash

AAP logoAAP 10/01/2017 Melissa Woods

Australian teenager Destanee Aiava says she let nerves get the better of her in her opening loss to Romanian Sorana Cirstea at the Kooyong Classic.

Despite lining up on her home court, the 16-year-old, who last week became the first player born this century to win a WTA tour match, made a shaky start.

She lost the first set 6-1 to the world No.78, who was ranked as high as 21 in 2013.

But she showed her prodigious talent as she clawed her way back from 2-5 down to force a tiebreaker before succumbing 6-1 7-6 (7-4).

Aiava later admitted nerves had affected her.

"At the start, I was really shaky and I didn't really move," Aiava said.

"In the second set, I got a bit more rhythm and started to feel a bit better towards the end."

Aiava said the Kooyong exhibition tournament was an idea way to prepare for the attention she would draw next week in her first Australian Open campaign.

"I'm disappointed, but I'm taking a lot of positives out of this and I'm not getting too down on myself," she said.

"I'm using this for practice before the Aust Open so, hopefully, I'll be fully prepared for that when it comes."

Fellow Melburnian Andrew Whittington also lost his first match 6-3 6-4 to Croatian Borna Coric.

Hopman Cup champion, world No.18 Richard Gasquet, was an early casualty, withdrawing from Kooyong with an abdominal strain.

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