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Jamrichova dashes home hopes to take junior girls' singles title

  • Gill Tan

Slovakia’s Renata Jamrichova earned the Australian Open 2024 junior girls' singles title with a 6-4 6-1 win over Australia’s Emerson Jones.

The 16-year-old top seed fired six aces and saved five of six break points to clinch her maiden Grand Slam singles' title in the pair’s first encounter at Rod Laver Arena on Saturday. 

MORE: Australian Open junior girls’ singles draw

“I'm just so happy right now,” said an overjoyed Jamrichova. “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.”

The left-hander said she remembers watching six-time AO champion Roger Federer competing at Melbourne Park during her younger years. 

“I want to be there one day and play the same level as him,” she remembers. “I'm not gonna achieve that level as him, but I'm still happy that I actually played on the same court as him, that's really cool,” she grinned.

The Slovakian shed tears of joy after sealing victory in just over an hour, and consoled a disappointed Jones before the trophy ceremony.

Jamrichova's triumph caps off a great 12 months for the teen, who captured the AO 2023 junior girls' doubles title, and reached the girls' singles semifinals at both Wimbledon and the US Open last year.

She’s just the second Slovakian player to win an AO girls’ singles title after Tereza Mihalikova in 2015. With the straight-sets win, she denied Jones, who was attempting to become the first Australian to win a junior girls’ singles title since Ash Barty won at Wimbledon in 2011, and the first home-grown AO junior girls’ champion since Siobhan Drake-Brockman in 1995.

An ecstatic Jamrichova thanked her coach for being by her side for the past eight years, as well as her parents, two younger sisters and fitness coach.

“I want to thank you guys for making this tournament such a great and amazing memory for me,” she told the crowd at Rod Laver Arena.

In November Jamrichova made a successful WTA tour-level debut at the Billie Jean King Cup play-offs, where she defeated Argentina’s Nadia Podaroska. Jamrichova said she plans to play in the junior girls’ tournaments at Roland-Garros and Wimbledon, as well as in ITF women’s events. 

The left-hander, who knows retired countrywomen Magdalena Rybarikova and Jana Cepelova, said that she occasionally practices with Daniela Hantuchova, the AO 2008 women’s singles semifinalist, when they’re both home in Slovakia.  

“I wasn’t expecting to get here, but it was a great experience,” said 15-year-old Jones, who was the first Australian to contest a girls’ singles final since Jessica Moore in 2008.“Congratulations to Renata, you totally deserved it.”