Melbourne, Australia , 4 December 2023 | Leigh Rogers

Top seed Alexander Despoja has made a promising start to his campaign at this week’s 18-and-under Australian Championships.

The 18-year-old from South Australia recorded a 6-2 6-4 win against Victorian qualifier Michael Korobitsin in his opening boys’ singles round-robin match at the December Showdown.

“I feel like I served pretty well,” Despoja said after completing his 67-minute victory today at Melbourne Park.

“He was a pretty competitive player, but I kept my nerve throughout the whole match and closed it out pretty well.”

Despite his No.1-seed status, Despoja is not feeling any extra pressure this week.

He contested only five ITF junior tournaments throughout 2023, opting to prioritise his Year 12 studies at Brisbane Boys’ College instead.

This move has paid off for Despoja, who will relocate to Texas next month to play US college tennis.

“I haven’t really competed much this year, but I’m hoping to win nationals and my last tournament here in Australia,” said Despoja, who plans to study business while honing his tennis skills in America.

He is extra motivated to perform strongly at the 2023 December Showdown, after recording a heart-breaking semifinal loss during the 18/u Australian Championships last year.

“Last year in the semifinals I had match points, so I’ve got unfinished business here in a way,” he declared.

Despoja has enjoyed December Showdown success before, winning the 14/u Australian Championships in 2019.

> FOLLOW: Live scores from the December Showdown

The round-robin stage of the 18/u Australian Championships continues until Wednesday, with the top-performing athletes then progressing to knock-out quarterfinals.

The boys’ and girls’ singles finals will be played on Saturday 9 December.

As well as being crowned national champions, the boys’ and girls’ singles winners receive a wildcard into a nominated Australian Pro Tour event next year.

More than 260 of Australia’s leading junior athletes are competing at the 2023 December Showdown, which runs until 16 December at Melbourne Park. Entry is free for spectators wishing to attend.

> READ: Jizelle Sibai makes sizzling start in 14-and-under Australian Junior Tour Masters


Boys’ singles, round-robin
[1] Alexander Despoja (SA) d [Q] Michael Korobitsin (Vic) 6-2 6-4
[3] Zane Stevens (Qld) d [Q] Oliver James King (Qld) 7-6(0) 4-6 6-4
[4] Daniel Jovanovski (Vic) d Elijah Dikkenberg (ACT) 6-1 7-5
[5] Daniel Jankoski (NSW) d Nicolas Tremblay (NT) 6-4 6-1
[8] Rohan Hazratwala (Qld) d [WC] Jonas Hahn (SA) 7-6(6) 6-2
[Q] Diordan Macababbad (Vic) d [2] Cooper Errey (Vic) 6-3 6-2
Jay Fairclough (WA) d [6] Lachlan McFadzean (NSW) 6-3 6-2
Boyd Schreiber (NSW) d [7] Cruz Hewitt (NSW) 7-6(2) 7-6(7)

Girls’ singles, round-robin
[1] Lily Taylor (Qld) d [Q] Susannah Su (NSW) 6-1 6-2
[2] Kimiko Cooper (NSW) d [Q] Sarah Mildren (SA) 6-4 7-5
[3] Ashlee Narker (NSW) d [Q] Amelia Zylberman (Vic) 6-2 6-2
[4] Jelena Cvijanovic (Vic) d [Q] Ashley Katz (NSW) 6-1 6-2
[5] Isabella Crossman (Vic) d Cara Korhonen (Qld) 6-4 6-3
Elim Yan (SA) d [6] Gabrielle Villegas (Vic) 7-5 4-6 7-6(3)
[WC] Bridget Mihulka (Vic) d [7] Gabby Gregg (NSW) 6-7(4) 6-4 7-5
[WC] Alice Stevens (WA) d [8] Kristina Tai (SA) 6-3 ret.

> VIEW: 18/u Australian Championships draws

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