Melbourne Park will stage the Australian Open 2019 Play-off next week but before that the cathedral of the Australian tennis is hosting the best juniors in the country, with the U18 Australian Championships reaching the closing stages.
Australia has only two players on the ITF junior top-100 list but this is a nice chance for some lower-ranked players to go all the way and join the list of the national junior champions and also receive the Australian Open qualifying wild card. The last year's champion Alexander Crnokrak scored another great win, toppling Chen Dong 6-1 6-2 to reach the semi-final in style after his fourth straight sets win.
Ken Cavrak secured the place in the quarters after a tight win over Sean Van Rensburg and he ousted Tom Evans 4-6 6-4 6-3 to join Alexander in the last four. Evans was the player to beat in the round robin stage but he couldn't earn a win on Thursday, winning the opening set before Cavrak raised his game to march on.
The 2nd seed Rinky Hijikata is yet to lose a set this week at Melbourne Park, toppling Connor Johnson 6-4 6-1 to remain one of the biggest contenders for the title. The 3rd seed Dane Sweeny had an easy day in the office to join them in the last four, delivering a commanding 6-1 6-3 triumph over the 5th seed Matthew Dellavedova to set the semi-final clash against Hijikata.
In the girls' draw, the top seed Gabriella Da Silva-Fick survived a thrilling match versus the 2nd seed Ivana Popovic 6-3 2-6 7-6 and she will now face a qualifier Taylah Lawless who beat Bojana Marinkov 6-3 6-0. Olivia Gadecki and Annerly Poulos are the remaining semi-finalists and it should be interesting to see who will emerge at the top on Saturday. Quarter-final results:
Alexander Crnokrak vs Chen Dong 6-1 6-2
Ken Cavrak vs Tom Evans 4-6 6-4 6-3
Rinky Hijikata vs Connor Johnson 6-4 6-1
Dane Sweeny vs Matthew Dellavedova 6-1 6-3