Teen's dream run over as Aiava loses in Brisbane
TENNIS: The dream run of 16-year-old Destanee Aiava has ended at the Brisbane International.
The teenager became the first player born after 2000 to win a WTA Tour match in her first-round defeat of American Bethanie Mattek- Sands.
But the toll of playing five matches (including qualifying) in the Queensland heat showed yesterday as the youngster from Melbourne failed to challenge fifth-seeded two-time grand slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in a 6-4 6-3 defeat.
The Russian will go on to face fourth seed Garbine Muguruza in the quarter- finals.
Second-seeded Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova is also through to the last eight in Brisbane after a tough three-set match against China's Shuai Zhang, a quarter-finalist at the Australian Open last year.
The world No.5, who won the WTA Tour Finals last season, lost the first set but fought back to claim a 2-6 6-4 6-4 victory.
Cibulkova looked like cruising home in the final set when she went out to a 4-1 lead but Zhang levelled at 4-4 before losing the final two games.
Frenchwoman Alize Cornet awaits Cibulkova for a place in the semi-finals.
Italy's Roberta Vinci is also through to the last eight after defeating Japan's Misaki Doi 6-4 6-2.
She will play third seed Karolina Pliskova from the Czech Republic in the quarter-finals.
In the men's draw Japanese star Kei Nishikori survived a scare to overcome qualifier Jared Donaldson 4-6 6-4 6-3 to move into the quarter-finals.
In his first match of the year, three-time Brisbane International semi-finalist Nishikori put a slow start behind him to hold off the American 20-year-old.
Nishikori will play the winner of the clash between Spanish eighth seed David Ferrer and Australian wildcard Jordan Thompson in the last eight.
Meanwhile, Victoria's Arina Rodionova has been handed the final women's singles wildcard for the Australian Open starting on January 16.
Tennis Australia's head of women's tennis, Nicole Pratt, said Rodionova deserved her wildcard.
"Arina had a solid 2016, winning a singles title and four doubles titles,” Pratt said.
"As well as almost halving her ranking to world No.184, she represented Australia in both Fed Cup and at the Olympics.
"Qualifying in Auckland this week was a really positive start to this year and I know she's a hard worker and will make the most of this Australian Open opportunity.”
Women's qualifying wildcards will be finalised in the next few days, with one men's main draw wildcard still to be announced.