AUSSIES ACE DAYONE

AS DE­FEATED TOMIC TOM UN­LEASHES

Herald Sun - - FRONT PAGE - PETER ROLFE AND AARON LANGMAID

A FARM girl from a hard­work­ing fam­ily on the out­skirts of Bal­larat has emerged as the na­tion’s sur­prise new hope at the Aus­tralian Open.

Six years after tem­po­rar­ily throw­ing in the towel on the sport she loves, Zoe Hives, 22, yes­ter­day ad­vanced to the sec­ond round in straight sets.

The qui­etly spo­ken pocket rocket from ru­ral Kingston up­set for­mer world No.30 Bethanie Mat­tek-Sands, of the US, 6-1, 6-2 in the big­gest win of her young ca­reer.

“I’m still pro­cess­ing it a bit but, yeah, amaz­ing: my first grand slam and to get a win in the first one, it feels really great,” Hives said.

“It is really nice to have that crowd. You can tell when I won a point; it’s a lot dif­fer­ent to when she won a point. I had a lot of peo­ple up from Bal­larat to­day, fam­ily mem­bers.”

After sign­ing au­to­graphs and tak­ing in the ado­ra­tion of the home crowd, the Mel­bourne Foot­ball Club fa­natic told the Her­ald Sun she was on cloud nine.

“It’s def­i­nitely a bit dif­fer­ent to what I’ve ever ex­pe­ri­enced be­fore, but it is really nice.”

Hives, who trav­els to Mel­bourne from Bal­larat to train, quit ten­nis at age 16 but re­turned to fol­low her dream be­fore en­dur­ing 13 months of in­jury set­backs in­clud­ing knee, back and hip ail­ments.

She re­turned to the game in Oc­to­ber last year with an Aus­tralian Open berth as in­cen­tive and yes­ter­day guar­an­teed her ef­forts would earn at least $105,000 prize­money.

Hives ad­mit­ted she did not know much about her next op­po­nent, French world No.19 Caro­line Gar­cia, but was ready to “get into it”.

Proud dad Neil Hives said he and wife Jan were “stoked”.

“It’s a lot of work and a lot of ef­fort for 17 years now, since she started,” he said.

“We’ve got a lit­tle court at home that as a lit­tle tacker she used to knock around on, so that’s where we first saw the de­ter­mi­na­tion that she had.

“She doesn’t have a great big serve but she can hit a lot of balls back and she has got some real strengths,” Mr Hives said.

Hives’ first coach, Peter Joyce, was in tears as he em­braced Hives after she walked from the court.

“She has had to work so hard,” Mr Joyce said.

He said the young star would be an in­stant hit with Aussie fans: “She’s not an an­gry ant like some of them.”

Pic­tures: MICHAMICHAEL KLEIN, EIN, MARK STE­WART ART

BARTY HIVES DE MIN­AUR

Aussie win­ners (clock­wise from left) MatthewEb­den, Kim­berly Bir­rell, Ash Barty and As­tra Sharma.

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