Ajla Tomljanovic thrives under the pressure and saved Australia from a women’s defeat with an impressive first round win at Wimbledon.
Most important points:
- Ajla Tomljanovic is the only Australian woman to reach the second round at Wimbledon
- She then takes on American qualifier Catherine Harrison after beating Swiss 18th seed Jil Teichmann
- Australians Daria Saville, Astra Sharma Zoe Hives and Jaimee Fourlis all lost their opening matches
Tomljanovic, last year’s quarter-finalist, lived up to her status as the new Australian number one with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over 18th seeded Jil Teichmann.
Teichmann was fresh off a breakthrough to the last 16 at Roland Garros, but Tomljanovic slid past the Swiss left-hander in 77 minutes to set a date for Thursday with American qualifier Catherine Harrison.
“I knew she’s had an incredible year so far and you can’t buy that kind of confidence,” said Tomljanovic.
“It’s just all year round, you can feel it. It always comes out in tight moments.
“So I knew that if I wanted to win today, I really had to step up my game and just play the grass court tennis I know I can do.”
Tomljanovic’s triumph came as wildcard Daria Saville and qualifiers Zoe Hives, Astra Sharma and Jaimee Fourlis all lost.
Saville succumbed to cramps in a 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 first round loss to Viktoriya Tomova.
The 29-year-old had successfully pleaded with All England Club officials to hand her the last of seven wildcards into the women’s main draw following a return of form in 2022 after she finally got over a chronic foot injury.
Unfortunately Saville was unable to clear the first hurdle.
She held on, however, refusing to throw in the towel after hitting her right knee in the sixth game of the deciding set, falling behind 5-2.
But after recovering to 5-5, Saville again dropped the serve to stay in the set – as she did in the first set – to give Tomova the win.
The Hives-inspired Wimbledon campaign ended earlier on Tuesday with a 6-1, 6-4 defeat to Maria Sakkari in fifth seed.
On the comeback path after a lengthy battle with debilitating orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, Hives earned her way into the main draw with three qualifying wins at Roehampton.
But Sakkari turned out to be a bridge too far.
Ranked #571 in the world after being out of play for over two years while battling chronic fatigue, Hives’ consolation is a 50,000 pound sterling ($88,000) career day.
“I always promised myself that if I got into the main draw again, I would buy a new car.
“But that feels like an extravagance now, so I don’t know if it’s going to happen.
“But I would! My old car goes up the hill and I go ‘come on!’
“I haven’t made a decision yet – I’ll wait until I get home.”
Fourlis bowed to Kirsten Flipkens with a 6-2, 7-5 loss.
Sharma’s performance in the main draw was also short-lived, with the Western Australian losing her rain-delayed first round match against Tatjana Maria 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
The match was interrupted by one set apiece on Monday evening under decreasing light before the German took the deciding set on Tuesday.
The departure of Saville, Hives and Sharma followed the departure of Inglis on Monday with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 loss to Dalma Galfi.