ZOE Hives is ready for a big summer of tennis.
The Kingston teenager will fine-tune her game with solid training in Melbourne this week after finishing runner-up in the Australian 18-under girls’ singles championship on Saturday.
Next up, Hives is keen to impress in her hometown for next week’s Ballarat Open Gold AMT Tournament, an event that will feature reigning Wimbledon women’s doubles champion Su-wei Hsieh.
She will plot her next moves from then.
Hives has been training under new coach Michael Logarzo and the St Kilda-based MCC Tennis Academy after a five-month hiatus from the game this year.
“I feel I’ve improved my game and I’m developing well,” Hives said.
A bottom-aged player, Hives fended off a 32-strong field to reach the Australian 18/under title match at Melbourne Park.
Hives was seeded eighth.
West Australian Maddison Inglis, in a consistent performance, claimed victory in straight sets, 7-6(3) 6-2.
A win would have earnt Hives a spot in the Australian Open wildcard play-offs.
Up 4-2 in the first, Hives missed a couple of forehand shots and Inglis worked her way back to send the set into a tie-break.
“I was all right, but I probably could have played better,” Hives said.
“Competition was strong because it’s all the best girls from around that age.”
This was Hives’ second year in the 18-under championship.
She reached the quarter finals last year while still eligible to play 16-unders.
It has been a big week for Hives, who advanced to the final with a commanding straight sets 6-1 6-2 win over Andrea Dikosavljevic in a semi-final on Friday.
Hives reached the championship round of eight by finishing second in the preliminary pool round, then defeated Victorian Annabelle Andrinopoulos, 6-1 6-2 in a quarter-final.
Hives advanced to the championship round of eight by finishing second in the preliminary pool round with two wins in three matches.
She edged out top seed Olivia Tjandramulia from Queensland.