Roney roars into 12/u Australian Invitational Masters final
Victorian Joel Roney has booked his place in the boys' singles final as the December Showdown continues at Melbourne Park.
The weather gods smiled on Melbourne Park as the 12/u Australian Invitational Masters semifinals were run and won on a day of fantastic action.
An all-Victorian final is set between Joel Roney and Jenson Yokota-Ho in the 12/u boys’ singles competition.
Roney enjoyed a 6-3 6-4 win over his doubles partner Sehun Park of Western Australia in the semifinals today.
“He’s really nice and he plays great. It’s fun to get play with him, and also try and play against him,” Roney said.
“It was a tough match, I got the first set, but the score doesn’t really show how close it was. He played really well and kept saving match points.”
When asked who he’d wish to play like, Roney revealed two of his favourite players faced off in this year’s Wimbledon singles final.
“Probably (Novak) Djokovic because he is really fast on court and a great returner. But I really like Nick Kyrgios as well,” the young Victorian said.
Yokota-Ho knocked out top seed Har Abir Sekhon 6-2 6-2 in the other semifinal.
“I just used my slice a lot and varied my shots to try and force some mistakes, so I’m very happy,” Yokota-Ho said after his win.
With Roney wanting to model himself on Djokovic, tomorrow’s final might be a forecast of a great rivalry to come based on Yokota-Ho’s hero.
“I’d love to play like Roger Federer,” he said.
In the girls’ singles competition, top seeds Vesna Marinkov and Emilie Chen have both progressed to tomorrow’s final.
Marinkov triumphed in a two-hour battle against Queensland’s Tori Russell 7-5 7-6(9), while Chen came from behind to beat Aimee Jin in three sets.
“In the first set I made way too many errors, and she was too good,” Chen said after her 3-6 6-4 6-4 victory.
“But I came back and even though I was 3-4 down in the second and third sets, it was awesome to win both of them 6-4.”
Chen is enjoying the experience of competing at Melbourne Park during this week’s December Showdown.
“It’s really cool to be here, it’s the place where all our heroes play,” she said. “The Australian Open is one of the greatest Slams and we get to play here so close to it.”
Chen is looking to this year’s Australian Open winner for the perfect inspiration.
“Ash Barty would be my tennis hero,” she said. “Her slice is really good.”
12 and under Australian Invitational Masters
Girls’ singles, semifinals
 Vesna Marinkov (NSW) d  Tori Russell (Qld) 7-5 7-6(9)
 Emilie Chen (NSW) d  Aimee Jin (NSW) 3-6 6-4 6-4
Boys’ singles, semifinals
 Jenson Yokota-Ho (Vic) d  Har Abir Sekhon (NSW) 6-2 6-2
 Joel Roney (Vic) d  Sehun Park (WA) 6-3 6-4
Girls’ doubles, semifinals
 Emilie Chen (NSW)/Vesna Marinkov (NSW) d Pauline Ma (Vic)/Mia Slatina (NSW) 6-1 7-6(3)
 Pavitar Pansi (NSW)/Valentyna Rosa (NSW) d Suri Suchovsky (NSW)/Angel Warang (NSW) 6-4 6-1
Boys’ doubles, semifinals
Haydon Fa (Vic)/Jenson Yokota-Ho (Vic) d Oliver Hancin (Vic)/Har Abir Sekhon (NSW) 7-6(5) 6-0
Roman Filipovic (Vic)/Raphael Savelli (Vic) d  Sehun Park (WA)/Joel Roney (Vic) 1-6 7-6(5) [10-8]
Girls’ singles, final
 Vesna Marinkov (NSW) v  Emilie Chen (NSW)
Boys’ singles, final
 Jenson Yokota-Ho (Vic) v  Joel Roney (Vic)
Girls’ doubles, final
 Emilie Chen (NSW)/Vesna Marinkov (NSW) v  Pavitar Pansi (NSW)/Valentyna Rosa (NSW)
Boys’ doubles, final
Haydon Fa (Vic)/Jenson Yokota-Ho (Vic) v Roman Filipovic (Vic)/Raphael Savelli (Vic)
The annual December Showdown, with more than 150 of Australia’s most promising junior athletes competing for national titles, concludes tomorrow at Melbourne Park. Entry is free for spectators.
Book online, play today: Visit play.tennis.com.au to get out on court and have some fun!