Thursday, August 22, 2019

Australian survives second-set blip to book semi-final spot

Feb 01. 2019
Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia / Photo by Wanchai Kraisornkhajit
Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia / Photo by Wanchai Kraisornkhajit
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By Lerpong Amsa-ngiam
The Nation Weekend

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Hua Hin - Sixth seed Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia shrugged off a brief bout of nerves when the finishing line was in sight to oust Chinese fourth seed Zheng Saisai 6-1 6-3 and reach the semi-finals of the US$250,000 WTA Thailand Open at True Arena on Friday.


The girlfriend of Australian Nick Kyrgios was a set and 3-0 up in the second set with a double break when her game slipped and she allowed the world No 42 to fight back to 3-3. She regained her composure, however, to close out an 84-minute quarter-final dominated by a battle from the baselines.

“Saisai never gives up. She always make you work for it until the end. Maybe I relaxed too much and got too passive but I’m glad that I made it 6-3, which is better than going to the third set,” said the Croatian-born Tomljanovic, who reached the final of the 2015 Thailand Open, when it was still held in Pattaya.

“I think I like the conditions here –they are similar to Florida, where I live. It’s a great place to play. Whenever I like the place I always play well,” added the Australian, who has yet to win a WTA event after reaching three finals including Rabat and Seoul last year.

“ I got three wins [in Hua Hin] against really good players but there are still two matches to go. I’m not really thinking about it [the title] too much. I’m just concentrating on my next match.”

Tomljanovic’s semi-final opponent on Saturday will be Victorija Golubic of Switzerland or Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia.

With her flat, aggressive groundstrokes, Tomljanovic raced into a 5-1 lead as the Chinese consistently missed first after long rallies. After wasting three set points, the Australian finally converted her fourth to wrap up the first set in 36 minutes.

Tomljanovic carried her momentum going to the second set and had her persistent groundstrokes to thank for repelling Zheng’s fightback and clinching a straight-sets win.

In the other quarter-final, Magda Linette of Poland, No 98 in the world, ousted the last Chinese player in the singles maindraw, Wang Yafan, 6-2 6-3 in one hour and 42 minutes.

This was Linette’s first semi-final since the WTA in Nanchang in July last year, when she lost to the current Chinese No 1, Wang Qiang. 

“I came to the court knowing it would be a tough match so I tried to give everything out there,” said Linette.

In the women’s doubles second round, Xinyu Han of China and Darija Jurak of Croatia beat Mona Barthel of Germany and Sara Sorribes of Spain 6-4 1-6 10-6.

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