Belarus belter more focused on Canberra title than Aus Open draw
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Belarus belter more focused on Canberra title than Aus Open draw

The Australian Open draw came out on Thursday but Belarus belter Ilya Ivashka didn't check who he'll come up against in the opening round at Melbourne Park.

Ivashka doesn't want to know because his sole focus is on winning the Canberra Challenger when he meets Polish young Hubert Hurkacz in the final on Saturday.

Belarus belter Ilya Ivashka wants to lift the trophy on his first trip to Canberra.

Belarus belter Ilya Ivashka wants to lift the trophy on his first trip to Canberra. Credit:Ben Southall

Ivashka crushed Argentine Renzo Olivo 6-1 6-3 in the semi-finals on Friday and has looked unstoppable since ousting Canberran James Frawley in an opening round deciding-set tiebreaker.

The 24-year-old reached a career-best world No. 86 at the end of last season and he's picked up where he left off in 2019, with a near-perfect Australian Open preparation.

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Ivashka downed Hurkacz at a tournament in India on New Years Day and is confident he can do it again to lift the trophy on his first trip to Canberra.

"Today was a very good match for me, I played good, aggressive tennis and I’m happy with the performance. I'm looking forward to the final," Ivashka said.

"I'm working hard with my team and doing many different things but the most important thing I changed has been the mental part.

"I started to believe more in myself and control my emotions and fight for every ball. I was quite nervous sometimes and it wasn't helping me.

"Some players can be emotional and it helps them but not me, so I tried to work on being more positive and to be calmer on the court."

Ivashka will play in his first Australian Open on Monday but won't check who he's drawn until after the final.

"I haven't checked the draw because I'm still playing here and am just trying to focus on tomorrow's match," Ivashka said.

"Of course I want this season to be my best yet and I will try my hardest to make that happen. But I don't have any goals, I just try to play to my maximum every week."

Hurkacz took down highly-touted Czech star Jiri Vesely 6-3 6-1 to reach the final, which will be played at the Lyneham Tennis Centre following the doubles final at 11am.

CANBERRA CHALLENGER FINAL

Saturday: Ilya Ivashka v Hubert Hurkacz at the Canberra Tennis Centre.

Eamonn Tiernan is a sports reporter with The Canberra Times

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