News & Media

Tomljanovic upsets Jankovic

4 January 2015, by Ethan James

UPDATE 5pm: Australian wildcard Ajla Tomljanovic has pulled off the first upset of the summer, disposing of former world No.1 and 2015 Brisbane International sixth seed Jelena Jankovic in straight sets.

The 21-year-old Tomljanovic, ranked No.63 in the world, saved two set points in the tiebreak on her way to taking the set 7-6 (6).

She found her range in the second, winning it 6-0 in a little over half an hour with her powerful backhand in particular troubling the 2014 Brisbane International semifinalist.

Croatian-born Tomljanovic brought up match point with an ace and only needed the solitary opportunity to seal the deal, with Jankovic sending a backhand long on the final point of the match.

Tomljanovic, who resides in Brisbane, has applied for Australian citizenship but will be recognised as Croatian at WTA events until approved.

The adopted Aussie said it was a little different to have so much support behind her.

“It was very nice,” she said. “I tried not think about it too much, just try to stay in the moment and focus more about my game. Every now and then it kind of goes through my mind that I have that on my side now.”

The opening set was a closely fought affair with both players serving up a combination of crisp winners and early-season unforced errors.

Jankovic got the crucial break to go ahead 5-4 at the business end, with her trademark scrambling defence forcing her opponent into error.

Not to be disheartened, Tomljanovic levelled at 5-all with a striking forehand down-the-line giving her the opportunity to break back.

She then saved two break points in the next game, before Jankovic pulled out some clutch play of her own, clawing back from 0-40 and 5-6 down to force a tiebreak.

The high-pressure nature of the match continued in a tit-for-tat tiebreak.

Jankovic had the opportunity but was unable to convert her two set points, with Tomljanovic reeling off four straight points to take the set.

She went on with the job in the second, cruising through 6-0 in a little over half an hour.

A circumspect Jankovic said she was still struggling mentally on the comeback trail from a back injury, which kept her on the sidelines for two months last year.

At one point, her movement was so restricted that even the simplest of daily tasks, such as brushing teeth and putting on shoes, became a challenge.

“As you know, practise is not enough and I lost so much. … I looked in the mirror and I looked like jelly,” she said.

“I took a while for me to feel the atmosphere (today)… after not competing, it wasn’t easy out there.

“I went downhill (in the second), stopped moving my feet and making errors.

“She plays a good game and serves well and has a very good backhand.”

Tomljanovic meets either Ukranian Elina Svitolina or Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarkova in the second round.