Canberra Velocity player Alison Bai. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
Canberra hopes of a home-grown victory at Melbourne Park this week rest entirely with Nick Kyrgios after Canberra Velocity lost in the Asia-Pacific Tennis League quarter-finals on Tuesday.
Velocity, the fourth seed, went down four rubbers to two against the highly fancied WA Giants in a thrilling quarter-final. The new league is being described at tennis' version of Twenty20 cricket.
It all came down to the doubles, as Velocity led by one set after the singles rubbers were completed.
Canberra's campaign started disastrously, however, as Velocity lost the opening two singles.
Former Australian Open junior singles finalist Jessica Moore was too good for Canberra's Alison Bai, winning 4-2, 4-2, while Tyra Calderwood started strongly before losing 2-4, 4-1, 4-2 to Astra Sharma.
Baseliner Nicole Hoynaski continued her unbeaten streak in the ATL competition when she clawed the deficit back to two rubbers to the Giants' one.
The talented 18-year-old broke Katie O'Shae in the fifth game of the opening set and from there was never challenged, winning 4-2, 4-2.
Velocity squared the tie when Canberra teenager Ashley Keir beat Marisa Gianotti 4-2, 4-2.
Keir dominated the match with her forehand dictating play, breaking in the fifth game of both sets.
However, Hoynaski and Keir couldn't continue their form and were outclassed by Sharma and Gianotti in the doubles, winning only two games. Bai and Calderwood then lost to Moore and O'Shae 4-3 (5-0), 4-2.
Calderwood was left to rue missed opportunities. "They played pretty well. It was a tough tie [but] we had our chances and just didn't get them," she said. "I must admit, I think I would have liked Hawk-Eye out there today because I think I got a few dodgy calls that I would have liked to challenge, but I didn't have that luxury."
Velocity plays Brisbane's Shaw Park Sharks on Wednesday in the play-offs to decide the fifth to eighth placings.