Melbourne, Australia, 16 December 2023 | Rhys de Deugd

Daniel Jovanovski has repeated his December Showdown triumph of last year, where he swept the 14-and-under national championships, as he claimed the 2023 16-and-under boys’ singles title.

The Victorian defeated New South Wales’ Chase Zhao in a tight 6-4 7-6(3) battle, to become back-to-back December Showdown champion in front of a vocal home crowd.

In what was an arm wrestle of a final, there was only one break of serve for the match, which came at 4-all in the first set.

Jovanovski knew he was in for a tough match against the seventh seed, who he last played in the quarterfinals of an ITF J30 event at New Caledonia in June.

“I knew Chase was a chaser, it’s in his name,” Jovanovski noted. “He’s a great player, I had to run him around, and spread the court a little bit.”

Aggressive with his returning, Jovanovski stepped inside the baseline and came into the net wherever possible to try and dictate the rallies throughout the match.

“I felt like I was taking the ball early and try to stop a bit of time for him,” he said.

Daniel Jovanovski of Victoria (L) celebrates his victory over Chase Zhao of New South Wales in the U16 Boys final at the 2023 December Showdown at Melbourne Park on Saturday, December 16, 2023. Photo by TENNIS AUSTRALIA/ HAMISH BLAIR

Daniel Jovanovski celebrates his victory over Chase Zhao. Picture: Tennis Australia

In front of friends and family at Melbourne Park, Jovanovski capped off a memorable December Showdown with some very meaningful silverware.

“It did feel great playing out here,” Jovanovski said.

“This is my hometown, I train here a lot and I love the resurfaced courts, the ball kids were unbelievable and yeah, it’s been great.”

The 15-year-old also competed in last weeks’ 18-and-under events, where he made the quarterfinals of the boys’ singles draw and had some impressive wins.

“I know that the 18s was a pretty big ask, I did tear my abdomen last year, so I used the week to get ready for the 16s,” he said.

“Get a feel for it, enjoy the atmosphere.”

Jovanovski joins a very impressive list of names on the 16/u boys’ singles honour roll, including Todd Woodbridge, Lleyton Hewitt, Max Purcell and Alex de Minaur.

When asked to read out some of the previous winners names engraved on the trophy, the 2023 champion was amazed.

“Wow, I didn’t actually read all the names,” Jovanovski said.

“One day I hope to be just like them, if not better.”

Jovanovski later returned in the doubles with Jerome Estephan from New South Wales.

The pair lost the semifinal in a match tiebreak against Victorians Luca Connaughton and Sam Simmonds 6-1 2-6 [10-6].

The unseeded Connaughton and Simmonds were then defeated in the final New South Wales duo Lachlan McFadzean and Ashton McLeod in the final 2-6 6-4 [10-3].


Boys’ singles, final
[2] Daniel Jovanovski (Vic) d [7] Chase Zhao (NSW) 6-4 7-6(3)

Boys’ doubles, semifinals
Luca Connaughton (Vic)/Sam Simmonds (Vic) d [1] Jerome Estephan (NSW)/Daniel Jovanovski (Vic) 6-1 2-6 [10-6]
[2] Lachlan McFadzean (NSW)/Ashton McLeod (NSW) d [4] Myron Papadimitrou (NSW)/Chase Zhao (NSW) 6-2 6-4

Boys’ doubles, final
[2] Lachlan McFadzean (NSW)/Ashton McLeod (NSW) v Luca Connaughton (Vic)/Sam Simmonds (Vic) 2-6 6-4 [10-3]

> VIEW: 16/u Australian Junior Tour Masters draws

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