Jamrichova completes dream Aus Open with title

SLOVAKIAN young gun Renata Jamrichova lived up to her top seed billing by taking home the 2024 Australian Open Junior Girls Singles crown. The 16-year-old proved too strong and consistent for local hope and sixth seed Emerson Jones, running out a 6-4 6-1 victory on Rod Laver Arena today.

After a tight opening set that involved breaks from both players, Jamrichova showed her class by putting the foot down for the last set and a half to run away with the contest in 61 minutes. Initially, it looked like Jones had the favourite on the ropes, breaking her in the second game of the match and racing away to a 3-0 lead.

At that stage it was more a case of who could make less mistakes, with the pair of talented teens trading unforced and forced errors due to the high level pressure. Incredibly, Jones was 4-1 up in the opening set after holding serve and had a break point at the 17-minute mark to go 5-1 up. However an incredible ace from the Slovakian with her next serve saved the day, and it proved a turning point.

from that moment on, Jamrichova won 11 of the next 12 games in a complete domination to run away with the match 6-4 6-1 and claim her maiden Junior Grand Slam title. Throughout the tournament, Jamrichova only dropped one set, and was the clear standout. However Jones can go away knowing she beat a lot of older competitors and only turns 16 in July.

Throughout the match, Jamrichova served six aces and won 31 of 39 points off her first serve (79 per cent), and though she struggled off her second serve (28 per cent), did well to split her winners (15) and unforced errors (16). Jones hit 11 winners, but also 27 unforced errors, and as a slower server, only managed 49 per cent success off her first serve.

“I’m just so happy right now,” Jamrichova said post-match. “I played my best this week. At first I started really nervous because of the crowd and of the Rod Laver [Arena], but then I just told myself, just be happy on the court and enjoy every point, just be happy that you can [be] here and play this amazing match.”

Rei Sakamoto is the 2024 Australian Open Boys Singles’ champion | Image credit: Getty Images

Sakamoto makes history as first Japanese Junior champion

JAPANESE fourth seed Rei Sakamoto outlasted his Czech opponent Jan Kumstat to take home the 2024 Australian Open Junior Boys title, the first player form his nation to do so. In what was an entertaining and hard-fought contest from start to finish, Sakamoto came from a set down to win 3-6 7-6 7-5 in two hours and 11 minutes.

The Japanese teenager survived 25 aces off the Czech’s racquet – serving six of his own – while hitting near identical winner and unforced error numbers. Kumstat had 41 winners for 31 unforced errors, while Sakamoto finished with 40 and 30 respectively. Both players serves were also on-song, with Sakamoto’s consistency across both his first and second serves the key.

Producing a 71 per cent clip across both sets, Sakamoto won 80 and 56 per cent of his first and second serve points, while Kumstat won 79 per cent off his first serve – off a 57 per cent clip – but only 40 per cent off his second serve, which let him down.

Surprisingly, there were only two breaks each in the match, with credit to Kumstat for saving eight break points, and converting his only two chances off Sakamoto’s serve. In the end though, the Japanese 17-year-old ground out the all-important win, having gone down in the boys’ doubles semi-final.

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