Sydney, Australia, 11 January 2022 | Leigh Rogers

Australian Ajla Tomljanovic has continued her promising start to the 2021 season, advancing to the second round at the Sydney Tennis Classic.

The world No.45 overcome Slovak qualifier Anna-Karolina Schmiedlova 6-2 6-3 in first-round action at Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre today.

“I did see her playing in qualies, and I thought she was striking the ball really well,” Tomljanovic said of her world No.90-ranked opponent.

“I was ready for a tough battle and I got it. Even though the score, you know, may seem easy, it definitely wasn’t.”

Tomljanovic’s victory sets up a second-round showdown with world No.9 Paula Badosa.

“She’s playing really great tennis,” Tomljanovic said of the fifth-seeded Spaniard, who made a meteoric rise into the world’s top 10 in a career-best 2021 season.

“I saw her progress last year and thought what she did in the end was incredible.”

Tomljanovic can take confidence from her recent results, defeating world No.6 Garbine Muguruza late last season and then holding match points against Australian Open 2020 champion Sofia Kenin at last week’s Adelaide International.

“I’m just glad that I’m putting myself in a position every week, you know, against the top players and giving myself chances to come out on top,” Tomljanovic said.

“The more you play, the better you’re going to get. I’m looking forward to it.”

In men’s singles action, Australian hopes Alexei Popyrin and Chris O’Connell both lost in the opening round.

Spain’s Pedro Martinez recorded a 6-4 6-4 victory against Popyrin, while Argentine qualifier Sebastian Baez defeated O’Connell 6-2 1-6 7-6(4) in a two-hour and 14-minute battle.

Sydney Tennis Classic

Women’s singles, first round
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) d [Q] Anna-Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK) 6-2 6-3

Men’s singles, first round
Pedro Martinez (ESP) d Alexei Popyrin (AUS) 6-4 6-4
[Q] Sebastian Baez (ARG) d [Q] Christopher O’Connell (AUS) 6-2 1-6 7-6(4)

Women’s doubles, first round
Astra Sharma (AUS)/Aranxta Rus (NED) d [WC] Michaela Haet (AUS)/Lisa Mays (AUS) 6-2 6-0
[4] Alexa Guarachi (CHI)/Nicole Melichar-Martinez (USA) d Gabriella Da Silva-Fick (AUS)/Alana Parnaby (AUS) 6-4 6-4

Men’s doubles, first round
Simone Bolelli (ITA)/Fabio Fognini (ITA) d [WC] Moerani Bouzige (AUS)/Matthew Christopher Romios (AUS) 6-1 5-7 [10-3]

Women’s singles, second round
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) v [5] Paula Badosa (ESP)

Men’s singles, second round
[WC] Jordan Thompson (AUS) v [4] Reilly Opelka (USA)

Women’s doubles, quarterfinals
Astra Sharma (AUS)/Aranxta Rus (NED) v [2] Shuko Aoyama (JPN)/Ena Shibahara (JPN)

Men’s doubles, second round
[3] John Peers (AUS)/Filip Polasek (SVK) v Marcus Daniell (NZL)/Denis Kudla (USA)
Alexei Popyrin (AUS)/Matt Reid (AUS) v [8] Andrey Golubev (KAZ)/Franko Skugor (CRO)

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