New York, USA, 30 August 2022 | Vivienne Christie

Ajla Tomljanovic has moved into the second round of the US Open for the sixth time in her career, after a gritty win over Karolina Muchova.

Tomljanovic took an hour and 47 minutes to record a 6-3 7-6(5) victory against the Czech, setting up a meeting with Evgeniya Rodina.

The world No.46 Tomljanovic was a clear statistical favourite against Muchova, who has dropped to world No.235 after navigating a string of injuries.

But the Czech, who peaked at No.19 in May 2021, is a dangerous opponent with victories over then-No.1 Ash Barty and Naomi Osaka (No.2 at the time) on her record. She was an AO 2021 semifinalist and has twice reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals.

An authoritative start was therefore welcome as Tomljanovic claimed a break against the Muchova serve in the first game to seize control of the opening set. She gained another break to progress to a 5-1 lead.

Despite surrendering a break of her own as she first served for the set, Tomljanovic maintained pressure against a rusty Muchova, who is contesting only her seventh tournament for the season.

Forcing a backhand error from the Czech, she claimed a third break of serve to claim the first set in 45 minutes.

Having spoken recently about holding her nerve on big occasions, Tomljanovic did exactly that as Muchova increasingly challenged.

As the Czech found her rhythm in a tight second set, Tomljanovic braved a break point in the fifth game, before dropping serve in the 11th game to allow Muchova to serve for the set.

But the recovery was strong as Tomljanovic fought back to force a tiebreak. After Muchova took a 3-0 lead, Tomljanovic won five straight points.

The Czech claimed just one more point, Tomljanovic completing her victory with a solid forehand winner and a final error from Muchova.

Finishing the match with 17 winners against 32 unforced errors, Tomljanovic will take confidence from finding her best in key moments against Muchova, who recorded 20 winners and 35 errors.

Tomljanovic was the sole Australian woman to score a first-round victory today, with Daria Saville bowing out against world No.101 Elena-Gabriela Ruse 3-6 6-2 6-4.

Competing at Flushing Meadows for the first time since 2019, a gallant Saville battled for two hours and 15 minutes. But the world No.58 ultimately proved no match for the big-hitting Romanian, who struck 31 winners to Saville’s 13.

In men’s singles action, Alex de Minaur made a promising start to his campaign with a straight-sets victory against world No.44 Filip Krajinovic and Jordan Thompson staged a steely comeback to eliminate Italian Lorenzo Sonego.

> READ: De Minaur races into US Open second round

Nick Kyrgios was also a winner, overcoming doubles partner Thanasi Kokkinakis in an all-Australian opening-round battle.

Aussies in action – US Open

Women’s singles, first round
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS)
d Karolina Muchova (CZE) 6-3 7-6(5)
Elena-Gabriela Ruse (ROU) d Daria Saville (AUS) 3-6 6-2 6-4

Men’s singles, first round
[18] Alex de Minaur (AUS) d Filip Krajinovic (SRB) 7-5 6-2 6-3
[23] Nick Kyrgios (AUS) Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) 6-3 6-4 7-6(4)
Jordan Thompson (AUS) d Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) 2-6 1-6 6-2 6-4 6-4
[WC] Emilio Nava (USA) d John Millman (AUS) 7-6(7) 4-6 7-6(4) 1-6 6-1

Men’s singles, first round

Alexei Popyrin (AUS) v Tseng Chun-hsin (TPE)
James Duckworth (AUS) v Chris O’Connell (AUS)
Jason Kubler (AUS) v Mikael Ymer (SWE)
[WC] Rinky Hijikata (AUS) v [2] Rafael Nadal (ESP)

Men’s singles, second round
[18] Alex de Minaur (AUS) v Cristian Garin (CHI)
[23] Nick Kyrgios (AUS) v Benjamin Bonzi (FRA)
Jordan Thompson (AUS) v [Q] Daniel Elahi Galan (COL)

> VIEW: US Open 2022 men’s singles draw

Women’s singles, first round
[WC] Jaimee Fourlis (AUS)
v [Q] Yuan Yue (CHN)

Women’s singles, second round
Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS) v Evgeniya Rodina

> VIEW: US Open 2022 women’s singles draw

> READ: US Open 2022 doubles draws revealed

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