Jones closes in on ATP Top 1000

AUSSIE 17-year-old Hayden Jones might have only won the one main draw match in the ATP75 Burnie event this week, but it was enough to gain six points and bolt up a whopping 273 ranking places on the ATP Tour.

Jones made headlines by reaching the quarter finals of the 2024 Australian Open Junior Boys’ Singles, and moved into the top 15 of the ITF Junior Boys’ rankings. Building on that momentum, Jones opted to remain in his home country and the Queenslander crossed the Bass Strait to take on an Aussie-dominated ATP75 event in Burnie, Tasmania.

Heading to the event, Jones was ranked 1323rd in the world on the ATP Tour, with his career-high standing at 1307 from August 15, 2022. Having never won a match at that senior ITF level before, Jones was drawn against Japanese qualifier Yuki Mochizuki in the first round.

The 175cm, 65kg Jones does not usually outsize opponents, but on this occasion he just shaded the 173cm, 60kg Mochizuki. In a match that lasted two hours and two minutes, the Australian had to come back from a set down to defeat the qualifier out on Court 3, grinding his way to level the scores at a set a piece before running away with the match in the deciding set.

Jones won 4-6 7-5 6-2 in a spirited effort against the world number 548 to guarantee a career-high ATP Tour ranking for the Australian. He won an impressive 75 per cent of his first serve points and 56 per cent of his second serve points, while breaking his opponent four times through the match.

Though Mochizuki still broke Jones twice, the Australian was more consistent off Mochizuki’s first serve, successfully winning 44 per cent of points off it, while the Japanese 26-year-old struggled off the teenager’s first serve. Though Jones does not have a powerful serve, he still placed balls well to produce four aces in the win and advance through to the second round.

Unfortunately for the teenager, he ran into the far more experienced Luke Saville in the Round of 16, with the 30-year-old world number 179 winning in a hard-fought three sets. Similar to Jones’ first match, Saville won the first set before Jones responded in the second. Unluckily for the younger Australian, he was broken in the third set, resulting in Saville taking home the win, 7-5 4-6 6-3.

Jones could be proud of his performance however, still winning 68 per cent of his first serve points off a solid 64 per cent clip. He also created 12 break point opportunities, though Saville managed to save 10 of them, while breaking Jones three times from seven chances.

The quarter finals of Burnie take place today with Saville among five Aussies in action, including second seed Marc Polmans who is the highest ranked player remaining after Omar Jasika shocked top seed Rinky Hijikata in the Round of 16.

The other Australian Junior who took part in the tournament was Pavle Marinkov, who after a strong start against Mochizuki in qualifying, fell a win short of making the main draw. In that match, Mochizuki was the top seed, and bounced back from a forgettable first set to win, 1-6 6-3 6-2.

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