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Aussies at the Open: Jones siblings into junior singles quarterfinals

  • Leigh Rogers & Jackson Mansell

It has been a memorable day for the Jones family at Australian Open 2024, with siblings Hayden and Emerson Jones advancing to their first Grand Slam singles quarterfinals.

The 15-year-old Emerson was the first to progress, after recording a 7-5 6-3 victory against American Tyra Caterina Grant in the third round of the girls’ singles competition.

“It’s pretty great,” Jones said after beating the world No.12 in 96 minutes. “I wasn’t really expecting to go this far.”

Jones’ betters her third-round appearances in the 2023 girls’ singles events at Roland Garros and Wimbledon.

Ranked a career-high world junior No.8, she also extends her current winning streak to nine matches after an impressive run at the Traralgon Junior International last week, where she became the first Australian to clinch the girls’ singles title in 24 years.

Her older brother, 17-year-old Hayden, followed on Court 3 in a third-round boys’ singles clash with Poland’s Tomasz Berkieta.

DRAW: AO 2024 boys' singles

Jones notched a steely 6-4 5-7 7-5 victory against the big-hitting third seed, who tallied 49 winners to the Australian’s 16 in the two-hour battle.

Jones’ consistency paid off as he committed only 16 unforced errors against Berkieta’s 48, helping him become the first Australian to advance to a boys’ singles quarterfinal at the Australian Open since Rinky Hijikata in 2018.

Hunter storms into women’s doubles semis

Also on Wednesday, Storm Hunter and Czech partner Katerina Siniakova have staged a steely comeback to keep their Australian Open dreams alive.

From 4-1 down in the third set, the No.3 seeds reeled off five consecutive games to beat Czech Barbora Krejcikova and German Laura Siegemund 4-6 7-5 6-4.

“When we were down a break in the third we just thought ‘let’s keep going, keep going’. And we somehow got the win, which is amazing,” Hunter said.

“Credit to Barbora and Laura, they played really well. We really had to dig deep, trust each other and fight really hard.”

Into her first Australian Open women’s doubles semifinal, Hunter becomes just the eighth Australian to reach an AO women’s doubles semi in Melbourne Park’s 36-year history.

She and Siniakova will face world No.2 Elise Mertens, Hunter’s former partner, and world No.6 Hsieh Su-wei in the semifinals.

“(We’re) so happy we get to play another match, we didn’t want to go home yet,” Hunter said.

As well as competing for a place in the Australian Open final, Hunter needs to defeat Mertens to hold onto her world No.1 ranking.

Ebden continues AO success

Matt Ebden and Rohan Bopanna are proving why they are one of the world’s best doubles teams at Australian Open 2024.

The No.2 seeds scored a 6-4 7-6(5) victory against Argentine duo Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni to reach the semifinals at Melbourne Park.

DRAW: AO 2024 men's doubles

“We’re just out here doing our thing. We’re fighting hard for each point, there’s always going to be tough moments against the best teams in the world,” Ebden said.

“But to fight it out here in front of our home crowd, here at the Australian Open in January, it couldn’t be better.”

This effort propels 36-year-old Ebden and 43-year-old Bopanna into their third consecutive Grand Slam semifinal and improves their recent record at major tournaments to 13 wins from their past 15 matches.

It also guarantees that Bopanna will rise to the top of the ATP Tour doubles rankings next week, overtaking American Austin Krajicek to become the oldest player to debut at world No.1.

Ebden, meanwhile, is projected to climb to a career-high world No.2 and aims to progress to his second AO men’s doubles final after finishing runner-up in 2022 with fellow Aussie Max Purcell.

Surprise packets Tomas Machac and Zhang Zhizhen await Ebden and Bopanna in the semifinals.

Davidson begins with a win

Heath Davidson has launched his AO 2024 quad wheelchair doubles campaign emphatically, combining with world No.5 Canadian Robert Shaw to claim a double-bagel victory.

The pair breezed past Australian Finn Broadbent and Brit Gregory Slade to reach the semifinals.

Davidson, the world No.4 doubles player, is one step closer to a fifth doubles title at Melbourne Park – and his first with Shaw – after winning four consecutive titles with friend and countryman, Dylan Alcott, between 2018 and 2021.

“Me and Rob (Shaw) have got a great relationship. I think the bromance has changed from me and Dylan (Alcott) to me and Rob,” joked Davidson, who was a runner-up with Shaw at Roland Garros and Wimbledon last year.

“Hopefully we can get one [title]. We had two chances last year and couldn’t get any of them. So, we’re just out here fighting our way through and hopefully we can hold a trophy up at the end of the week.”

Davidson and Shaw, the No.2 seeds at the Australian Open, will play the pairing of Andy Lapthorne and David Wagner in Thursday’s semifinals.