No.1 seed Renata Jamrichova claimed her first Grand Slam girls' singles title at the Australian Open, winning 11 of the last 12 games to defeat No.6 seed Emerson Jones 6-4, 6-1 in a 61-minute final.
Jamrichova, 16, becomes the fourth Slovak player to win a junior singles major, following Karina Habsudova at the 1991 US Open (playing for Czechoslovakia), Kristina Kucova at the 2007 US Open and Tereza Mihalikova at the 2015 Australian Open.
"I'm just so happy right now," Jamrichova said afterward. "I was just in the match. I played my best this week. At first I started really nervous because of the crowd and of the Rod Laver, but then I just told myself, Just be happy on the court and enjoy every point. Just be happy that you can stay here and play this amazing match."
The Trnava native was the reigning girls' doubles champion, having lifted the 2023 trophy in that discipline alongside Italy's Federica Urgesi. Though she had fallen in her previous two junior Grand Slam semifinals, at Wimbledon and the US Open last year to Clervie Ngounoue and Tereza Valentova respectively, Jamrichova came through the Melbourne field for the loss of just one set. That was in the semifinals, where she overcame Japanese No.10 seed Ena Koike 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.
In the final, Jamrichova came from 4-1 down in the first set to snap her opponent's 11-match winning streak. Jones, 15, had won the previous week's junior title in Traralgon, was the first home player in the Australian Open girls' final since 2008 (when Jessica Moore lost to Arantxa Rus) and was bidding to become the first Australian Open junior Grand Slam champion since Ashleigh Barty at Wimbledon 2011.
Jones raced out of the blocks with some impressive ball-striking, and aggressive returning saw her hold a point to take a 5-1 double-break lead. However, Jamrichova responded by firing an ace down the T -- a moment that would turn the match firmly in her favor.
From that point on, Jamrichova's smooth lefty game began to click in all areas. A formidable first serve was the bedrock; she tallied six aces, and only lost eight points behind it overall. A heavy left-handed forehand, reminiscent of Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova, repeatedly pushed Jones off court.
Jamrichova's controlled aggression showed in her 15 winners to Jones's 11. She was also able to outlast the Australian when it was needed, such as the 27-shot exchange that saw her save break point en route to serving out the first set. Jones was unable to halt Jamrichova's momentum in the second, overpressing as her unforced error count climbed to 27.
Jamrichova has already begun to make inroads in the senior game. In 2022, she notched her first Top 100 win in only her second pro tournament, defeating compatriot Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-4, 6-4 in the Bratislava ITF W60 quarterfinals. She added a second at the end of 2023, marking her Billie Jean King Cup debut with a 6-1, 6-4 rout of Nadia Podoroska to help her country defeat Argentina in the November playoffs. After playing nine ITF tournaments across 2022 and 2023, Jamrichova is now ranked No.783.
No.3 seeds Tyra Caterina Grant and Iva Jovic claimed the girls' doubles title with a 6-3, 6-1 defeat of Julie Pastikova and Julia Stusek. The American duo had already won the Orange Bowl doubles title in December, and ploughed through the Melbourne field without dropping a set. It is a second Grand Slam doubles crown for Grant, 15, who also lifted the Roland Garros trophy alongside Ngounoue; and a first for Jovic, 16.
The Czech-German pair of Pastikova and Stusek were contesting their first major final. The unseeded 15-year-olds had won three match tiebreaks in four matches to get there, including a 6-3, 1-6, [10-8] semifinal upset of British No.2 seeds Hannah Klugman and Mingge Xu.
American teens triumph Down Under 🏆 🇺🇸— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 26, 2024
Congrats, Tyra Grant and Iva Jovic! pic.twitter.com/83yGMucOvE