Melbourne, Australia, 7 December 2023 | Leigh Rogers

Zane Stevens is starring at this week’s 18-and-under Australian Championships, progressing to the semifinals in the boys’ singles and doubles competitions.

The 17-year-old from Queensland posted a commanding 6-2 6-2 singles quarterfinal victory today against Victorian Daniel Jovanovski at Melbourne Park.

“I thought it was the best match I’ve played this tournament,” Stevens said. “He’s got a pretty good serve, so I had to return really well. I feel like I played really smart and didn’t lose focus.”

The 15-year-old Jovanovski won their previous meeting this season, in the semifinals at an ITF J60 tournament on the Gold Coast.

“I was probably the most scared I’ve been this tournament going into this match, because he beat me in straight sets last time,” the third-seeded Stevens admitted.

“But I changed how I played and it paid off.

“I stood back more on the returns and tried to play more aggressive on my serve, as well as switch up where I served. I gave a lot of variety today.”

It is Stevens’ fourth consecutive win this week, keeping his dreams alive of taking out the national championships.

“It means a lot. Last year I lost in the quarterfinals after I served for the match, so it’s good to have another opportunity,” he said.

The Gold Coast talent, who goes into Year 12 next year, names fellow leftie Rafael Nadal as his biggest inspiration.

“In a way, I try to play like him. I like to use a lot of topspin and angle on my forehand,” said Stevens, who is partnering New South Wales’ Boyd Schreiber in the doubles competition.

“He’s also got a really good attitude and I try to do the same.”

Stevens will face another Queenslander, 16-year-old Rohan Hazratwala, in tomorrow’s singles semifinals.

> FOLLOW: Live scores from the December Showdown

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.


Boys’ singles, quarterfinals
[1] Alexander Despoja (SA) d Boyd Schreiber (NSW) 6-2 6-3
[3] Zane Stevens (Qld) d [4] Daniel Jovanovski (Vic) 6-2 6-2
[8] Rohan Hazratwala (Qld) d [Q] Diordan Macababbad (Vic) 7-6(4) 6-3
Jay Fairclough (WA) d [5] Daniel Jankoski (NSW) 6-4 7-6(4)

Girls’ singles, quarterfinals
[1] Lily Taylor (Qld) d [Q] Sarah Mildren (SA) 5-7 6-3 6-1
[2] Kimiko Cooper (NSW) d [LL] Elizabeth Ivanov (NSW) 6-4 6-2
[3] Ashlee Narker (NSW) d [5] Isabella Crossman (Vic) 7-5 6-7(5) 6-3
Elim Yan (SA) d [4] Jelena Cvijanovic (Vic) 6-1 2-6 6-0

Boys’ doubles, quarterfinals
[1] Alexander Despoja (SA)/Rohan Hazratwala (Qld) d Finley Dyer (NSW)/Vitorio Sardinha (NSW) 6-4 6-3
[3] Boyd Schreiber (NSW)/Zane Stevens (Qld) d Jesse Gothelf (NSW)/Sam Wensley (NSW) 6-3 6-3
[4] Daniel Jankoski (NSW)/Daniel Jovanovski (Vic) d Cameron Burton (WA)/Brendan Jayaprakash (WA) 4-6 7-5 [10-7]
Jonas Hahn (SA)/Lachlan McFadzean (NSW) d [2] Cooper Errey (Vic)/Nicolas Tremblay (NT) 6-7(0) 7-6(8) [10-7]

Girls’ doubles, quarterfinals
[1] Lily Taylor (Qld)/Elim Yan (SA) d Cara Korhonen (Qld)/Kate Smith (Vic) 6-2 6-2
[2] Roisin Gilheany (Vic)/Sophie McDonald (ACT) d Ava Beck (Vic)/Ruby Ward (Vic) 7-6(5) 6-0
[3] Isabella Crossman (Vic)/Kristina Tai (SA) d Ashley Katz (NSW)/Gabrielle Villegas (Vic) 7-5 4-6 [12-10]
Elizabeth Ivanov (NSW)/Sarah Mildren (SA) d Bridget Mihulka (Vic)/Ava-Monet Sycamore (NSW) 3-6 6-3 [10-8]

Boys’ singles, semifinals
[1] Alexander Despoja (SA) v Jay Fairclough (WA)
[3] Zane Stevens (Qld) v [8] Rohan Hazratwala (Qld)

Girls’ singles, semifinals
[1] Lily Taylor (Qld) v Elim Yan (SA)
[2] Kimiko Cooper (NSW) v [3] Ashlee Narker (NSW)

Boys’ doubles, semifinals
[1] Alexander Despoja (SA)/Rohan Hazratwala (Qld) v [4] Daniel Jankoski (NSW)/Daniel Jovanovski (Vic)
[3] Boyd Schreiber (NSW)/Zane Stevens (Qld) v Jonas Hahn (SA)/Lachlan McFadzean (NSW)

Girls’ doubles, semifinals
[1] Lily Taylor (Qld)/Elim Yan (SA) v Bridget Mihulka (Vic)/Ava-Monet Sycamore (NSW)
[2] Roisin Gilheany (Vic)/Sophie McDonald (ACT) v [3] Isabella Crossman (Vic)/Kristina Tai (SA)

> VIEW: 18/u Australian Championships draws

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