Zoe Hives admitted the new experience of playing on one of Melbourne Park’s main arenas may have contributed to her slow start in Wednesday’s round two battle with Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia.
Despite some periods of brilliance, the 22-year-old Hives was beaten in straight sets by the world number 19, who took just over an hour to progress to the third round of the women’s singles draw.
Hives lifted the packed crowd at 1573 Arena at various stages, but couldn’t match the power and precision of Garcia, who prevailed 6-3 6-3.
Garcia won the first four games of the match to stamp her authority on the contest.
Watch her press conference after the match here.
“That was my first match in a stadium like that, having people behind the server. I found it hard to pick up the ball at the start,” Hives said.
“It was a great experience, (but) depth perception and all of it was just a bit different so it took me a little while to get into the match.”
Hives hit back after the sluggish beginning to snatch three-straight games through the middle of the first set, but Garcia composed herself to take it 6-3.
Garcia then produced a break of serve in the fourth game of the second set and it proved the breathing space she needed to close out the match.
Despite the defeat, Hives was more than competitive against the more experienced Garcia, who has been a regular on the grand slam tour in recent years.
Hives cracked the same number of winners as her opponent and only made a couple more unforced errors.
The Kingston-based Hives was all smiles in the post-match press conference as she reflected on her first grand slam singles tournament.
“I’m really proud of how I’ve handed the whole thing,” Hives, who gained a wildcard into the women’s singles main draw, said.
“Last year just with the doubles, I didn’t enjoy it. I got too stressed out about it all. .”
Hives’ Australian Open is not completely over as she will partner Alison Bai in a first-round women’s doubles contest on Thursday.
Re-live the match as it unfolded here.