Slovenia’s Dalila Jakupovic has defeated Destanee Aiava in straight sets in the ACT Claycourt International final, to cap off a perfect week in the nation’s capital. Jakupovic won 6-4, 6-4 to claim both the doubles and singles titles, the singles title was won without dropping a set.
The conditions in Canberra were unpleasant for watching and playing. Strong winds were combined with intermittent showers which twice sent the players to the changerooms.
Jakupovic is ranked at 171, with Aiava at 219. The Slovenian has won four ITF titles, three at the $25,000 level and one $10,000 event. The ACT Clay Court International Title is a US $60,000 level event and represents the biggest win for the 27-year-old.
Jakupovic earns 80 rankings points for the title win, Aiava earns 48 as runner-up.
Aiava was playing her third final in Canberra and played in the Clay Court final in 2016 when the event was last held in Canberra as a women’s event. Marc Polmans had won the men’s title in 2017.
It was Jakupovic who took an early lead getting a break in the opening games. A heavy rain shower delayed play with Aiava serving at 2-4 down. After coming back on-court Aiava won the game, then broke to level the first set at 4-4.
Errors then crept into Aiava’s game and Jakupovic won eight straight points to win the first set 6-4.
With momentum on her side the Slovenian broke Aiava in the first game of the second set before the rain again sent the players to shelter. After about 40 minutes the players were back in action and we saw Jakupovic hold serve to lead 2-0, then she broke again to lead 3-0.
At this stage it looked like Jakupovic would stroll to the title.
Aiava was not giving in. She hit a service return winner to bring up 2 break points, then hit long one the first before converting the second with a passing shot to get to 1-3.
In the next game Jakupovic jumped out to 0-30 after a lobbing for a winner, then a shot into the net by Jakupovic made it 15-30. A winner by Aiava took it to 30 all before a long shot gave Jakupovic a break point that she hit out.
Errors were starting to creep into the game of the Slovenian and this helped Aiava get back into the game.
At 2-3 down, Aiava jumped out to 0-30 as Jakupovic hit into the net. A drop shot drew Aiava into the net but poor volleying lost the point to make it 15-30. A big winner by Aiava brought up a break point which Jakupovic handed to Aiava with a double fault for 3-3.
Aiava lost the first point of the next game when serving, with an error before getting out to 30-15. Two more errors gave a break point which was converted when Aiava again hit a shot into the net for Jakupovic to lead 4-3.
Strong winds made conditions difficult and both players were hitting shots long to make it 15-15, then Jakupovic hit out again for 15-30. Another double fault handed Aiava two break points. Solid hitting from Aiava, capped off by a winner down the line made it 4-4.
Aiava was in this position in the first set but failed to score a point to lose the first set.
Again errors allowed Jakupovic to get the edge. When Aiava hit a short ball Jakupovic stepped in to hit a winner and go to 0-30. A missed smash by Aiava saw Jakupovic with three break points at 0-40 but Jakupovic mishit a shot to send the ball wide. Aiava got back to 30-40 after hitting a big winner, before she then missed a shot wide to hand Jakupovic the game and a 5-4 lead.
Aiava held two break back points in what would be the final game but was unable to convert and Jakupovic got the game to deuce before another Aiava down-the-line winner gave her another break point. Aiava had a golden opportunity to convert the break but missed a volley that should have been made.
Eventually Jakupovic found herself with a championship point and Aiava lost the match with a shot into the net. Jakupovic claimed the title with a 6-4, 6-4 victory.
“I had a good week. I really like it here; the courts are great,” Jakupovic said. . “I hadn’t played on clay for some time and I love to be back on it again.”