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Junior Tour Players Shine in Melbourne

Junior Tour Players Shine in Melbourne

This year’s Australian Open plot was a coming-of-age story in many respects. Europeans were the protagonists in the tale of 2024: Aryna Sabalenka’s repeat, Jannik Sinner’s slam final debut and Daniil Medvedev’s strike-out, going 0-3 in AO finals. At the same time, a slew of former Tennis Europe Junior Tour players have written a new script and announced themselves on the world stage in Melbourne.

Main Draw

The breakthrough performance was arguably that of Linda Noskova, winner of 16 TEJT titles including gold in singles and doubles at the 2018 European Junior Championships (14&U). Likewise, many other names have made themselves seen and heard this year:

  • Dayana Yastremska (UKR), for all her personal upheavals, made it through qualies to win an unbelievable 8 matches in a row before falling to Qinwen Zheng in the semis.
  • Fellow Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk took her Slam game to another level, reaching the quarters in her best-ever major performance, beaten by former TEJT #1 Coco Gauff
  • Maria Timofeeva, Les Petits As champ winner and EJC doubles gold medalist in 2017, was another qualifier who made a deep run, all the way to R4 before falling to Kostyuk
  • Noskova, for her part, took out world #1 Iga Swiatek in R3 and went past Elina Svitolina before succumbing to Yastremska in the quarters

On the men’s side, it was the usual suspects in the latter part of the draw, however some youngsters made inspiring runs:

  • Arthur Cazaux (FRA), another EJC doubles gold medalist, made it to the fourth round, where he met his match in the form of Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz
  • Luca Van Assche, another Frenchman, is a fellow former TEJT star who managed to make an impact before being taken out by Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) in R3.


This year, there were many well-known names making their mark:

  • a winner of eight TEJT titles Slovakian Renata Jamrichova took the girls’ singles title, upsetting local hope Emerson Jones, 6-4 6-1 in the final.
  • 14-year-old wildcard and recently naturalised French player Ksenia Efremova showed her talents by making it to the quarterfinals.
  • Brit Mingge Xu was another European quarterfinalist


  • Top boys’ seed Federico Cinà (ITA) was upset in the first round as was number eight seed Oliver Bonding (GBR).
  • Last year’s European Junior Championship 16&U gold medalist, Justin Engel (GER) made it through qualifying, falling at the first hurdle, but this is a promising sign, nonetheless.
  • Three Europeans were into the boys’ semifinals; Jan Kumstat (CZE) defeated Mees Rottgering (NED); second seed and 2022 Junior Masters champion Nicolai Budkov-Kjaer (NOR) lost to eventual Champion Rei Sakamoto. The Japanese player came from behind in the final to eclipse Kumstat 3-6 7-6 7-5. 

In the junior doubles, it was a US whitewash:

  • The European pairing of Petr Brunclik (CZE) & Viktor Frydrych (GBR) fell to Maxwell Exsted & Cooper Woestendick 6-3 7-5 in the boys’ doubles finals.
  • Meanwhile, Americans went home with more trophies thanks to Tyra Caterina Grant & Iva Jovic, who scored a 6-3 6-1 win over Julie Pastikova (CZE) & Julia Stusek (GER)

Europeans Dominate the Podia

After being named ITF 2023 World Champion, Aryna Sabalenka came to Melbourne with a goal: to defend her title and make her dad proud by winning a second major before the age of 26. That she did, and in dominating fashion no less, without dropping a set in her quest for back-to-back AO titles. This was the first time a player had appeared in two straight finals, let alone win them, since her compatriot Victoria Azarenka achieved the same double win in 2012-13. Sabalenka beat two Grand Slam champions en route to the final, namely Gauff and Barbora Krejcikova (CZE), where she was once again too strong for slam final debutante Qinwen Zheng taking the Daphne Akhurst trophy with a dominating 6-3 6-2 display of power, precision and confidence.

Six of the eight quarterfinalists in the women’s draw were Europeans while seven Europeans of six nationalities were in the men’s last eight. With Jannik Sinner up-ending Novak Djokovic’s plan for the 11th Australian Open, it was the Italian who turned his first major final appearance into a win, taking on tour “veteran” the 27-year-old Daniil Medvedev, who had come back from match point down against Alexander Zverev in the semifinals. Seemingly down and out, Sinner turned the championship match around, posting a 3-6 3-6 6-4 6-4 6-3 win over Medvedev. Sinner’s comeback win makes him the first Italian to win a singles title at the AO and the first Italian singles Grand Slam champion since Flavia Pennetta at the 2015 US Open.


Men’s: On the doubles court, it was a local win for Matthew Ebden (AUS), who partnered India’s Rohan Bopanna to overcome the all-Italian pairing of Simone Bolelli & Andrea Vavassori.  They took the match 7-6 7-5, and in doing so Bopanna has set aspirational new records: oldest ever grand slam champion at 43 years of age; will be the oldest first-time #1 ever; most attempts at a Grand Slam title before winning (61).

Women’s: Belgian Elise Mertens teamed up with Su-Wei Hsieh (TPE) to defeat Lyudmyla Kichenok (UKR) & Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) 6-1 7-5 in the women’s final.

Mixed: Honours in the mixed doubles went to Pole Jan Zielinski who played with Hsieh to defeat Desirae Krawczyk (USA) & Neal Skupski (GBR) 6-7 6-4 11-9.


An astounding record was also set in wheelchair tennis which simply cannot go unmentioned. Diede De Groot of the Netherlands has won her 21st Slam and fourth consecutive AO title. And in what is truly extraordinary, she has now won 13 consecutive grand slam singles finals dating back to the 2021 Australian Open final. Amazing. 

For all scores, photos and news, consult the Australian Open website.

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