TENNIS: Local hope Destanee Aiava but has fallen short in her first outing at the Kooyong Classic.
The 16-year-old took a while to get things clicking in her clash with former world No.21 Sorana Cirstea before showing great signs in the second set, coming back from 4-1 down to take it to a tie-break before going down 6-1 7-6 (7-4).
The teenager later admitted her 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.”
With crowds cheering her name, on-court interviews between sets and packs of children awaiting her autograph post-match, Aiava said she was using this week to prepare for the extra attention set to come her way at next week's Australian Open.
"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've got a lot more to look forward to.
"I'm using this for practice before the Aus Open, so hopefully I'll be fully prepared for that when it comes.”
Fellow Melburnian Andrew Whittington also lost his first match, falling 6-3 6-4 to Croatian Borna Coric.
French gun Richard Gasquet withdrew from the event earlier in the day, citing an abdominal injury.
The world No.18 - fresh from winning the Hopman Cup on the weekend - was due to face fellow Frenchman Gilles Simon today, with organisers reshuffling the schedule to accommodate the late withdrawal.
Ivo Karlovic, who was set to take on Tommy Haas later on Tuesday, will now play Simon while Poland's Jerzy Janowicz will play German veteran Haas.
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