Junior Joneses: Hayden and Emerson fly Aussie flag

PROMISING brother and sister duo Hayden and Emerson Jones are the last two Australians remaining in the 2024 Australian Open Junior Singles competitions. The pair won their respective third round matches and now find themselves in quarter finals and just three wins away from making history.

Hayden, the 16th seed fought past the big serving third seed, Tomasz Berkieta who in his previous match sent down a record-breaking 233 kph serve. Despite putting 15 aces past the Aussie, the Pole could not get past him, and Jones won 6-4 5-7 7-5.

Jones won 74 per cent of his first serve points off a 66 per cent clip, with four aces among 16 winners. Though Berkieta smashed a whopping 49 inners in the match – and got close to his serving record with a 229 kph bomb, Jones held his own and only made 16 unforced errors compared to the Polish third seed’s 48.

Unfortunately for Berkieta produced three unforced errors in the final game of the match as he tried to force a tiebreak, then served his 10th double fault on match point which saw the third seed bowing out of the tournament.

The Australian will take on Czech Jan Kumstat who caused an upset of his own, with the unseeded player knocking off sixth seeded American, Alexander Razeghi – Jones’ doubles partner – in straight sets, 7-6 6-2.

The top half of the boys’ singles draw is wide open, with giant-killing Kazakh Amir Omarkhanov – who took out the top seed – continuing to make his way through the draw, this time quelling South Korea’s Jangjun Kim in three sets, 6-3 5-7 6-0. In an incredible last set, Omarkhanov restricted Kim to just seven points.

Omarkhanov will take on Dutchman Mees Rottgering who also caused an upset over 10th seeded American, Roy Horovitz, 6-4 6-4. It meant all four third round matches in the top half of the draw were won by the lower ranked opponent.

It was a different story in the bottom half of the draw however, with fourth seed Japanese young gun, Rei Sakamoto waking up from a first set slumber to destroy Australian Pavle Marinkov in the last two sets. Having dropped the first set 6-4, Sakamoto only lost one more game for the rest of the match, triumphing 4-6 6-0 6-1 with 14 aces among 31 winners.

Sakamoto will take on the only unseeded player in the bottom half of the draw in Cooper Woestendick, who overcame Turkish talent Atakan Karahan in three sets, 7-6 1-6 7-5 in two hours and 12 minutes. In the remaining quarter finals, second seed Norwegian Nicolai Budkov Kjaer will take on fifth seed Kaylan Bigun after both won in three sets, with the latter needing to go 10-8 in the third set super tiebreak.

Meanwhile in the junior girls’ Emerson Jones set up a crash course with second seed, Sara Saito in the quarter finals after a hard-fought win over ninth seeded American Tyra Caterina Grant. She won her third round match 7-5 6-3 in an hour and 36 minutes, and though she is not a powerful server, makes few mistakes with 17 winners to 23 unforced errors, breaking five times, while Grant had 28 and 48, while breaking three times.

Jones’ next opponent did it far easier, with Saito smashing unseeded Brit, Mika Stojsavljevic. Only dropping three games in the 55-minute rout, Saito 6-2 6-1 and only made four unforced errors for the match, while hitting the 10 winners compared to her opponents’ 32 unforced errors for 14 winners.

The other Australian young gun in Maya Joint‘s time came to an end at the hands of top seed, Renata Jamrichova. The Slovakian 16-year-old showed power and skill off both sides of her body to take out the match 6-4 6-3 and set up a quarter final with surprise last eight representative, French wildcard Ksenia Efremova.

The run of 14-year-old super talent Hannah Klugman came to an end at the hands of Russian Vlada Mincheva. The 15th seed took care of the fourth seed 6-3 7-5 tp advance to the last eight and face 10th seeded Japanese hope, Ena Koike.

In the other two contests, 12th seed Mingge Xu became the last British hope standing, defeating giant-killing Swedish qualifier Lea Nilsson in three sets, 3-6 6-4 7-6. Xu now takes on 16th seeded Bulgarian, Iva Ivanova who fended off American qualifier, Aspen Schuman in three sets, 7-5 4-6 6-4.

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