Tomljanovic falls to Jabeur in US Open quarterfinals
Ajla Tomljanovic's magnificent US Open campaign ended on Tuesday after a gallant loss to Wimbledon finalist and No.5 seed Ons Jabeur.
Ajla Tomljanovic’s magnificent US Open 2022 campaign ended after a gallant quarterfinal loss to fifth seed Ons Jabeur at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The Australian came ever-so-close to forcing a third set, before going down 6-4 7-6(4) to Jabeur, the recent Wimbledon finalist.
“I thought Ons played great. I was pretty disappointed with my serving today. I think that’s the biggest thing that let me down,” said Tomljanovic, who finished the match with nine double faults and only 34 per cent of point won on second serves.
“Not just the double faults but just the percentage wasn’t great. Then my first ball after, I was always under pressure with the scoreline.
“Overall, I mean, making quarters is always a good week. Some good memories I made, but at the same time, I can learn a lot from this match.
“The experience can only help me.”
This was Tomljanovic’s third Grand Slam quarterfinal, and second straight, after also reaching the last eight at Wimbledon.
Earlier in this Flushing Meadows fortnight, she scored a stunning three-hour victory over the great Serena Williams, in what is expected to be the 23-time major champion’s last professional match.
She then backed up that triumph against the in-form Liudmila Samsonova, saving eight set points before eventually snapping the Russian’s 13-match, 18-set winning streak.
Tomljanovic said those intense affairs do not leave her feeling drained, although she was mostly playing catch-up against the world No.5.
“I was pretty pumped today to play, and this is what you’ve got to do to win Slams,” she said.
“I think every match is taxing and mentally draining. I was pretty pleased to get through that match against Samsonova, because that one I felt like I was a little bit low on energy.
“Today I don’t think the energy was the problem. It was more just some of the stuff I did on court, like the choices I made, the execution.
“I came up against a player that wasn’t giving me much either. That doesn’t make it easier.
Jabeur advances to a semifinal meeting against either Coco Gauff or Caroline Garcia.
“Ajla plays really good. I know physically it’s going to be a tough match. Even emotionally it was kind of tough to manage the frustration, because when you have breaks and you want to finish,” said Jabeur, who has now won all three career meetings with Tomljanovic.
“But she keeps fighting, and she makes it tough for me.”
Indeed, after the first set-and-half, which Jabeur largely controlled with her imaginative play and built a 24-9 advantage in winners, the dynamic of the match shifted.
The Tunisian held three game points for a 6-4 3-1 lead, and another point for 4-2 in the second.
But she was unable to convert any of those opportunities – Tomljanovic’s relentlessness in rallies played a part in that – and her frustration mounted.
From 3-2 down in the second set, Tomljanovic rattled off three straight games to take a commanding position, as the Aussie looked to partake in a third straight epic.
But a sign of that potential physical and mental fatigue emerged in the very next game, as she was broken to love – surrendering the game with a double fault.
The Aussie re-set, only narrowly missing a backhand return winner down the line, which had it landed in would have given her two set points at 15-40.
But Jabeur escaped, held for 5-5, and the set progressed to a tiebreak.
Tomljanovic kept it close when she won an intense rally with a forehand winner, to trail 4-5.
But Jabeur conjured a powerful first serve down the T that Tomljanovic couldn’t handle to arrive at her first match point, and converted it when the Aussie drove a backhand into the net.
Tomljanovic is nevertheless expected to rise to a career-high mark of world No.34 when next week’s rankings are released.