Burnie, Tasmania, 11 February 2024 | Vivienne Christie

A dream start to season 2024 has continued for Maya Joint, who became the youngest Australian woman to win an ITF title at the Burnie International 2 with victory over Aoi Ito in Sunday’s final.

Joint, still just 17 and ranked world No.483 entering the tournament, defeated five higher-ranked opponents en route to the title.

This included fellow Australian Lizette Cabrera, Thailand’s Mananchaya Sawangkaew, countrywoman Kayla McPhee in the quarterfinals and No.5 seed Sijia Wei, from China, in the semifinals.

Joint overcame her 365th-ranked Japanese opponent 1-6 6-1 7-5 in a one-hour 44-minute final to lift her first trophy on the ITF World Tennis Tour.

While she showed maturity well beyond her years in the come-from-behind victory, Joint revealed there were plenty of nerves. “I was a bit frustrated in the beginning, but Aoi played really well,” Joint said. “I had to figure out a lot of things.”

She was the second Australian to win a title at the level in 2024, following Priscilla Hon’s win at the first Burnie tournament last week. It marks the first time two Australian women have won ITF 75 tournaments in consecutive weeks of competition.

> RELATED: Joint living out dream in Australian Open qualifying

It follows a string of impressive results for the teenager this year, including an upset of No.8 seed (and former top-five singles star) Sara Errani to reach the quarterfinals of the Canberra International (a WTA 125 tournament).

She subsequently reached the final round of Australian Open qualifying as a wildcard, where she was stopped by eventual main draw semifinalist Dayana Yastremska.

“This year’s been really unbelievable. I’m so grateful to get a wildcard into this tournament,” said Joint, explaining its importance to achieving goals she has set this season. “I’m just trying to get my ranking up as much as possible. “

Burnie International 2024 champion Adam Walton, with runner-up Dane Sweeny.

Burnie International 2024 champion Adam Walton, with runner-up Dane Sweeny.Fellow Australian Adam Walton claimed the Burnie International 2 men’s title, with the top seed claiming a straight-sets win over countryman (and No.4 seed) Dane Sweeny in the final.

The 177th-ranked Queenslander required one hour and 50 minutes to complete his 6-2 7-6(4) win. It marks a second  ATP Challenger title for the 24-year-old after he lifted the trophy at the Cary Challenger last year.

Walton, who honed his talent as a member of the University of Tennessee tennis team, claimed wins over four Australian opponents (including Philip Sekulic in the quarterfinals and Tristan Schoolkate in the semis).

“It’s really special. Obviously it’s never easy to try and win a title. That’s the tough part about this sport – pretty much every week you lose,” said Walton.

“Only one guy can end up not losing in the week, so I never can take for granted a title like this. Hopefully it’s just a step in the right direction and hopefully I can keep progressing along with my tennis.”

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