'S-HERTOGENBOSCH, Netherlands - Australian teenager Destanee Aiava scored a shock victory in the first round of the Libéma Open, defeating No.2 seed and World No.10 Aryna Sabalenka for her biggest career win, 7-6(3), 1-6, 6-4.
The World No.214 and wildcard came from a break down in the final set to score her first-ever Top 10 victory, as she won five of the last six games from a 3-1 deficit.
"I think it was all mental," Aiava said after the match. "It wa a really long and tough match. I knew going into the match that it was going to be a big challenge.
"[Her ranking] was playing on my mind before the match. Going into it, I just wanted to go for it and not waste the wildcard that the tournament gave me. I just wanted to take this opportunity and use it."
— WTA (@WTA) June 11, 2019
Though Aiava had never before beaten a Top 10 player, she previously scored a victory over former Top 10 player Kristina Mladenovic at the Brisbane International to start this season.
"I've been working so hard the past couple of weeks and months. I really just want everything to start coming together and getting some wins on the board. This first Top 10 win means a lot to me," the teeanger said.
"It's really good for me. Just getting that big win brings a lot of confidence."
The win is just the third WTA main-draw level victory of the 19-year-old's career.
She sprinted out of the gates to a 3-0 lead in the first set and held set point on Sabalenka's serve before winning in a tiebreak, but lost five straight games and won only five points in them as the World No.10 appeared to get back on track in the second set.
Sabalenka, coming off a semifinal appearance in doubles at the French Open with Elise Mertens, served 11 double faults in her first match on grass this season, with seven coming in the final set.
Aiava, playing her second tournament on grass in the early stages of the summer after an ITF event in Surbiton, Great Britain last week, credited a long training block on the British lawns to part of Tuesday's success.
"I trained the whole week there, even though I lost in the first round of qualifying," Aiava said. "Getting a training week on the grass was really good, since it's not my favorite surface."
The Aussie will next face Russian Veronika Kudermetova for a spot in her first career WTA quarterfinal. Kudermetova defeated Ons Jabeur in straight sets on Monday.
"I've watched a little bit of her," Aiava said. "It's going to be a big challenge and I'm just going to prepare as best I can for tomorrow."