Local girl Jones loses Australian Open junior final

Darren Walton |

Renata Jamrichova (l) celebrates beating Emerson Jones (r) in the Australian Open girls’ final.
Renata Jamrichova (l) celebrates beating Emerson Jones (r) in the Australian Open girls’ final.

Exciting 15-year-old prospect Emerson Jones has fallen short of joining tennis greats such as Evonne Goolagong Cawley on the Australian Open junior honour roll after losing the girls’ final at Melbourne Park.

Jones, the daughter of Olympic medal-winning triathlete Loretta Harrop, went down 6-4 6-1 to Slovakian top seed Renata Jamrichova on Saturday.

After winning her quarter-final and semi-final on a gruelling Friday schedule, Jones ran out of steam in the second set of the title match.

But the teenager was still chuffed to have earned the chance to play on Rod Laver Arena on women’s finals day.

“Thank you to everyone that supported me throughout the week,” Jones told the crowd.

“It was an amazing experience with the crowds and everything.

“And congratulations to Renata. You totally deserved it.”

Coached by David Taylor, the long-time former mentor to grand slam champion Samantha Stosur and other stars including Alicia Molik, Martina Hingis and Naomi Osaka, Jones is considered one of the next big things in Australian tennis.

Emerson Jones.
Queensland teenager Emerson Jones found the going tough in the junior girls’ singles final. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

Her mother won a silver medal at the Athens Olympics in 2004, and her 17-year-old brother Hayden made the quarter-finals of the boys’ Australian singles this week.

In the boys’ final on Saturday, Japan’s Rei Sakamoto shaded Czech Jan Kumstat 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 7-5 to join some illustrious names on the honour roll.

Kumstat had Jones in the last eight, but found Sakamoto too big a hurdle as the fourth seed won in two hours 11 minutes.

Sakamoto celebrated wildly, then posed proudly in an Akubra hat after joining legends including Rod Laver, John Newcombe, Mats Wilander and Stefan Edberg as an Australian Open junior winner.

Rei Sakamoto.
Rei Sakamoto poses for photographs after winning the junior boys’ singles final in Melbourne. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

In more recent years, Andy Roddick and Aussies Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic have won the event.

“Gooday, mate,” the charismatic Japanese said.

“First off all, congrats to Jan for this.

“Thanks to my coach and to everyone for supporting me. Thanks so much.”