Melbourne, Australia, 23 January 2023 | Darren Parkin

The youngest player in the Australian Open 2023 junior competition is continuing to make waves at Melbourne Park.

For 14-year-old Emerson Jones, this week has been a dream come true. Her Grand Slam debut has proven memorable, winning matches in both the girls’ singles and doubles events.

“Since I could first play tennis I’ve imagined this,” Jones said of competing at the Australian Open. “The fact it’s real is unbelievable.”

Jones is currently the highest-ranked 2008-born player in the ITF world junior rankings.

Although the world No.34’s girls’ singles campaign ended with a second-round loss today, the Queenslander gallantly extended the tournament’s second seed and world No.6 Tereza Valentona to three sets.

She then returned to court later in the day to score a come-from-behind doubles win with Japan’s Wakana Sonobe.

The pair trailed by a set and a break, before powering home to beat Bulgarian duo Rositsa Dencheva and Yoana Konstantinova 4-6 7-5 [10-7].

“To win a match in both competitions is a bit crazy,” Jones said.

“It’s been a great experience. The crowd, especially on Saturday, was so big.”

It has been a family affair for Jones, with her older brother Hayden also competing in the Australian Open junior competition this week.

“I watched Hayden yesterday, which was great fun,” she said. “We haven’t said too much to each other this week but it’s good to have each other’s back.”

Their family has strong sporting pedigree. Their mother, Loretta Harrop, was a triathlete who won an Olympic silver medal, while father, Brad Jones, played football and won the 1999 Grogan Medal in the QAFL.

Jones is now making her mark in tennis. She is coming off a strong 2022 season, in which she won two ITF junior singles titles in Sydney and represented Australia at the Junior Billie Jean King Cup Finals in Turkey.

Earlier in the day, Zara Larke lost a tight contest with 14th seed Yaroslava Bartashevich of France.

The 17-year-old from Queensland is still alive in the girls’ doubles competition, after combining with fellow Australian Anja Nayar to record a convincing 6-2 6-1 first-round victory over American Ashton Bowers and Canadian Naomi Xu today.

Aussies in action – Australian Open

Girls’ singles, second round
[2] Tereza Valentova (CZE) d Emerson Jones (AUS) 4-6 6-3 6-1
[14] Yaroslava Bartashevich (FRA) d [WC] Zara Larke (AUS) 7-6(11) 6-4

Girls’ doubles, first round
Emerson Jones (AUS)/Wakana Sonobe (JPN) d Rositsa Dencheva (BUL)/Yoana Konstantinova (BUL) 4-6 7-5 [10-7]
[WC] Zara Larke (AUS)/Anja Nayar (AUS) d Ashton Bowers (USA)/Naomi Xu (CAN) 6-2 6-1
[WC] Roisin Gilheany (AUS)/Stefani Webb (AUS) d Lavinia Morreale (ITA)/Elizara Yaneva (BUL) 6-4 1-6 [10-7]
[3] Nikola Daubnerova (SVK)/Ranah Akua Stoiber (GBR) d Lily Taylor (AUS)/Mara Gae (ROU) 4-6 6-1 [12-10]

> READ: Seven Aussies advance in AO 2023 boys’ doubles competition

Girls’ singles, second round
[WC] Lily Fairclough (AUS) v [13] Ranah Akua Stoiber (GBR)
[WC] Stefani Webb (AUS) v Sonja Zhiyenbayeva (GER)

> VIEW: Australian Open 2023 girls’ singles draw

Girls’ doubles, second round
Emerson Jones (AUS)/Wakana Sonobe (JPN) v [1] Ella McDonald (GBR)/Luca Udvardy (HUN)
[WC] Zara Larke (AUS)/Anja Nayar (AUS) v Renata Jamrichova (SVK)/Federica Urgesi (ITA)
[WC] Roisin Gilheany (AUS)/Stefani Webb (AUS) v Carolina Kuhl (GER)/Ella Seidel (GER)

> VIEW: Australian Open 2023 girls’ doubles draw

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