$25,000 Darwin 2 - Sacha Jones
New Zealand’s Sacha Jones, 18, has continued her love affair with the Gardens Tennis Centre in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia by winning the second Darwin International tournament last week.
Jones was the winner of two ITF Junior Circuit tournaments at the same venue in back-to-back weeks in July 2005, and in her victory speech Sacha attributed a small degree of “local knowledge” to her success. Jones was dominant all week. Having reached the semis the previous week at the first Darwin International tournament, she set her sights on bettering that effort. In early rounds she toppled Wild Card entrant Julia Moriarty (AUS) 60 60, Monika Wejnert (AUS) 63 46 62, and third seed Emily Webley-Smith (GBR) 63 62 in the quarters. Facing Jones in the semi final was her previous week’s nemesis, comeback queen and former world No. 8, Alicia Molik. Proving herself an excellent student of the game, and showing a considerable level of tenacity, Jones cut out the mistakes that cost her dearly in their previous encounter and matched her more experienced opponent stroke for stroke from the outset, continually putting her rival on the back foot with amazingly powerful groundstrokes. An early break for a 31 first set lead held up and on her second set point, Jones secured the first set 63 with a second break. In the second set, Jones broke again for a 42 lead and then held for 52, but this only stirred Molik into action. When Molik broke back and levelled at 5-all, many expected experience to shine through, but testimony to the young Kiwi’s resolve saw the match head into a tiebreak in which Jones kept her nerve to finally win 63 76(4).
In the final, Jones faced young Aussie qualifier Bojana Bobuscic from Perth, WA. The two had met in the previous week’s event and Jones was too strong, winning 61 60, but with the benefit of a week of excellent performances, Bobuscic went into the final with a fair deal of confidence. In early rounds, Bobuscic had dispatched Jessy Rompies (INA) 64 63, and then 5th seed and Indonesian Fed Cup player Ayu-Fani Damayanti 63 61. In the quarters she ousted Remi Tezuka (JPN) 63 63 and convincingly in the semis she accounted for Japanese fourth seed Chiaki Okadaue 61 64. The final was played in front of a large and enthusiastic Darwin crowd and Jones started quickly gaining the early break for 20 but Bobuscic steadied and levelled the final at 2-all, breaking to love. The finalists held serve until Jones stepped up the pace at 54 breaking to grab the first set 64. The second set was a more one-sided affair with Jones’ heavy stroke play causing Bobuscic troubles from both wings and the final score line saw Sacha Jones take the title 64 61. In her victory speech, Jones also thanked her brother, ITF Pro Circuit player GD Jones, who stayed to help her train and give her advice throughout her giant killing run.
The doubles title went to Isabella Holland and Sally Peers who won an entertaining encounter 64 36 [10-4] over Alenka Hubacek and Jessie Rompies.