Australian teenager Emerson Jones has been outclassed in the Australian Open junior girls’ final on Saturday, losing to the tournament’s top seed, Renata Jamrichova, 6-4 6-1.
The exciting 15-year-old Jones started the match well, but was then overpowered by Slovakia’s hard-hitting Jamrichova.
Jones, who hails from the Gold Coast, is the daughter of Olympic medal-winning triathlete Loretta Harrop.
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She was hoping to become the first Australian to win the title this century and join tennis greats such as Evonne Goolagong Cawley on the Australian Open junior honour roll.
The last Aussie to win the junior title was Siobhan Drake-Brockman in 1995.
After winning her quarter-final and semi-final on a gruelling Friday schedule, Jones ran out of steam in the second set of the title match.
Jamrichova and Jones show off their silverware after their girls’ final at the Aus Open. Credit: Getty Images
After the match Jamrichova walked over to an inconsolable Jones and — in a touching moment — wrapped her arms around her.
“A beautiful moment between the girls’ singles finalists,” the Aus Open official social media account said with a love heart.
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US journalist Andrew Jerell Jones said: “Two top talents and close friends, the lefty Renata and the righty Emerson.”
While a fan said: “A beautiful moment, love it.”
Despite the loss, the Aussie teenager was still chuffed to have earned the chance to play on Rod Laver Arena on women’s finals day.
“Thank you to everyone that supported me throughout the week,” Jones told the crowd.
“It was an amazing experience with the crowds and everything.
“And congratulations to Renata. You totally deserved it.”
Coached by David Taylor, the long-time former mentor to grand slam champion Samantha Stosur and other stars including Alicia Molik, Martina Hingis and Naomi Osaka, Jones is considered one of the next big things in Australian tennis.
Her mother won a silver medal at the Athens Olympics in 2004, and her 17-year-old brother Hayden made the quarter-finals of the boys’ Australian singles this week.
In the boys’ final on Saturday, Japan’s fourth seed Rei Sakamoto will take on Czech world No.42 Jan Kumstat, who eliminated Jones in the last eight.
– With AAP