Hives one match away from men's tennis title

ZOE Hives has become the first female tennis player to top the rankings of the Ballarat Regional Tennis Centre’s men’s singles competition.

The 17-year-old upset current open men’s singles champion Jake Dunn 6-4 6-4 in the second last round on Friday to assume the number-one mantle.

Hives and Dunn are now both top of the rankings with 80 points apiece, 10 points clear of James Millikan in third.

“It was a good match. it was good to beat Jake. I do a lot of training with him but had never played him in a match before,” Hives said.

“It feels good to have that title, but it wasn’t something I thought about at all.”

Hives has had a stellar summer of tennis, making the quarter-finals of the junior girls doubles at the Australian Open and finishing runner-up at the Australian Girls Under-18 Singles Championships.

She believes that her involvement in men’s tennis in Ballarat over the past several months has been a direct contributor to her improved performances on court.

“It’s been really fun playing men’s pennant,” she said.

“They have much bigger serves and they are much stronger around the court.  It’s a different style of tennis to what I’m used to but it’s definitely helped my return of serve.”

Hives has only to win her match in the final round on Friday to take the title.

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