Tjandramulia ends Rodionova’s wildcard bid
No.1 seed Arina Rodionova, a finalist in last year's AO Play-off, fell in the quarterfinals of this year's event to teen Olivia Tjandramulia.
Arina Rodionova’s bid for an Australian Open wildcard has been interrupted by dangerous No.6 seed Olivia Tjandramulia.
The 19-year-old from Queensland recovered from 3-5 in the third set, reeling off four straight games to stun the top-seeded Rodionova 6-3 1-6 7-5.
Rodionova, who had reached the Play-off final the last three years running – losing to Casey Dellacqua in 2013, Daria Gavrilova in 2014 and Maddison Inglis last year – had been favoured at this year’s event after an impressive season in 2016.
But Tjandramulia, the world No.483 who won the 18/u Australian title in 2014, proved tougher in the closing stages of the match.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet. I’ve played her a couple of times recently and lost to her – when a player loses to one certain player all the time it gets into their mind, like doubts and stuff. But oh my gosh, I actually did it, and I can’t believe it,” Tjandramulia said.
“After 5-3 I was kind of disappointed in myself, because I’d played a pretty loose game and I felt I shouldn’t go down like this. I should fight for it.
“I kept telling myself to be a tough player and just get every ball in. Don’t give her any mistakes.”
After players split the first two sets, games went on serve throughout the third set until Rodionova broke the deadlock; moving up to a short ball, she pounded an inside-out forehand winner to break for a 4-3 lead.
The 190th-ranked Rodionova then held and looked to be in control when one game away from the match, but became passive.
Her forehand, falling shorter in the court, allowed Tjandramulia to attack, and the Queenslander won a flurry of points to quickly level scores.
With Rodionova serving to stay in the match at 5-6, Tjandramulia was rewarded for her aggressive instincts, advancing twice on the net and volleying two winners for 0-30, and winning the final two points of the match with drive volleys.
“I usually just play solid, not like going for it (too much). But that time I just saw the ball and I wanted to get into the net and just finish it off,” Tjandramulia said.
“My mind wasn’t thinking – I just played.”
She’ll next face the winner of the quarterfinal between No.3 seed Jaimee Fourlis and Kaylah McPhee.
For more information, visit the Australian Open Play-off homepage.