Ajla Tomljanovic had the Grand Slam of her life a year ago at Wimbledon, beating Jelena Ostapenko and Emma Raducanu on her way to the quarter-finals.
But this year, her father, Ratko, in the familiar and conservative way of fathers everywhere, has only scheduled the family’s rental home until the first Friday. When the 29-year-old Australian made it through to the third round, Ratko rushed to land an expensive place at a boutique hotel closer to the venue. London at this time of year, as Tomljanovic pointed out, is crowded.
“You thought I would lose the second round,” Tomljanovic told his father. “Book him at least until Sunday, so that’s a good problem to have. I gave him a lot of bullshit yesterday. He didn’t take it well.
“Funny enough, today when I finished [Saturday]he’s like, ‘Oh, I still have to book.’ “I’m not going to give him too much trouble because he’s been a great dad that way. But he’s kind of settled this week.”
Day 8 Order of play
It’s been that kind of fortnight at Wimbledon so far. World No.1 Iga Swiatek saw it 37 consecutive victories ended by Alizé Cornet and four former champions – Serena Williams, Garbiñe Muguruza, Angelique Kerber and Petra Kvitova – did not reach week two.
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The top half of the draw includes four Monday games where half the players – including Tomljanovic – are unseeded. Accounting:
#4 Paula Badosa vs. #16 Simona Halep
It’s one of the few matchups we expected to see – and can’t wait – to see.
Badosa defeated No. 25 seeded Kvitova, a two-time champion here, 7-5, 7-6(4) in the third round. It was huge for Badosa. It was the first time in seven grass court games that she had won over a seed.
She gets another in Halep, who won 6-4, 6-1 over Magdalena Frech. Halep, 30, is making her 10th appearance for the All England Club – and the first since winning the title in 2019. After her worst professional year she is in fine form, having reached the semi-finals on grass at Birmingham and Bad Homburg.
“I’ve been struggling with confidence lately,” she told reporters afterwards. “But it’s normal after last year when I was injured and I didn’t win much. Tennis will come. If I keep doing what I have to do every day, I’m really confident that it’s going to happen at the highest level.
Their only meeting came two months ago in the Madrid second round, with Halep winning 6-3, 6-1.
“I think she played amazing in that match,” said Badosa, who qualified for the Wimbledon fourth round a year ago. “I hope she doesn’t play like that next time against me. I think my [aggressive] game, she likes to play against players like that.
Halep was asked how often she thought about winning that Wimbledon title three years ago, one of two majors she’s collected.
“This tournament in 2019 was the best tournament of my career,” Halep said. “The games I played here were perfect, so I still have those memories and I still trust that my game is pretty good on grass.
Alize Cornet vs Ajla Tomljanovic
Eight years ago, Cornet lost the first set 6-1 and then shocked the world, toppling five-time Wimbledon champion and world No. 1 Serena Williams in a third-round match on No. 1 court. . She had never before beaten a Top 20 player in 13 Grand Slam attempts.
On Saturday, it happened again when the pride of France beat world No. 1 Swiatek 6-4, 6-2 to end her 37-game winning streak.
“After winning my second round, I knew I would probably play against Iga,” Cornet said later. “I figured someone would end up breaking the streak, and why not me?”
Ode to the 135 days and 37 matches without defeat of Iga Swiatek
Tomljanovic won 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 against former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova. She and Cornet have shared four games in their careers but, crucially, Tomljanovic won their second-round match here a year ago, 6-4, 0-6, 6-3.
“We had really long exchanges,” said Tomljanovic. “I think she also has a chance to win or surprise. You never know what can happen in a Grand Slam.
Prior to beating Swiatek, Cornet was celebrated for her consistency, having appeared in her record-breaking 62nd consecutive Grand Slam main draw. The win over Swiatek — his fourth over a No. 1 player — coupled with that upset from Serena, casts her in a different light.
“Maybe I think I’m a little more relaxed when I’m the underdog,” Cornet said. “I think I have nothing to lose, and that’s because I’m the most dangerous. I play my shots more relaxed. It’s a nice feeling to see that at 32, I’m still going strong like this.
No.20 Amanda Anisimova vs. Harmony Tan
After beating Serena Williams in the first round of her first Wimbledon, Tan has never ceased to amaze. By dominating Katie Boulter 6-1, 6-1, the 24-year-old Frenchwoman has now won three consecutive matches at Hologic WTA Tour level for the first time in her career.
It was over in 52 minutes and Tan committed just five unforced errors and won 53 of 77 points. She’s an unconventional player, devoid of any major weapons – with the surprising exception of tween. Tan ran onto a Boulter volley lob with another shot between the legs, and eventually closed the point with an unrecoverable backhand.
She is now six for seven on grass, returning to a sprint in the WTA 125 semi-finals in Gaiba, Italy. Tan is only the third player to defeat Serena in the first or second round of a major tournament and advance to week two, joining Venus Williams (Australian Open 1998) and Garbiñe Muguruza (Roland Garros 2014).
Anisimova showed remarkable poise as she came back to defeat fellow American No. 11 Coco Gauff 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-1 in the final round. Anisiomva led 4-1 in the tiebreaker and lost the next six points.
“It’s obviously difficult to lose a first set 7-6 and then bounce back,” said Anisimova, 20. “It is extremely difficult. But I was just trying to slow down and really take it one moment at a time. I could feel the wind had calmed down too, so I was able to play my game a bit more.”
This victory, over the recent Roland Garros runner-up, marked Anisimova as a legitimate threat to win the title. She has now won 13 straight sets, the best among WTA players, and is in week two of three majors in 2022.
In their only previous encounter, Anisimova won 6-3, 6-1 over Tan three years ago in the first round at Roland Garros.
#17 Elena Rybakina vs. Petra Martic
Rybakina’s big game matches the grass. She reached the fourth round at Wimbledon on her first two tries and is 17-7 (.708) on green stuff.
It helps to have a big serve, and the 23-year-old from Kazakhstan ticks that box. She had more than seven aces in a 7-6(4), 7-5 win over Zheng Qinwen and produced 23 for the tournament – and a league-leading 191 for the year.
Martic, meanwhile, took care of #8 Jessica Pegula 6-2, 7-6 (5). Entering Wimbledon, the 31-year-old Croatian had lost three consecutive matches, two of them on grass.
History says this one will be near. Their only meeting – the 2020 semi-finals in Dubai – went to Rybakina in two tie-breaks.