Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Ajla's first win as an Aussie

The second match on Rod Laver Arena on night two featured two not so high profile players - Shelby Rogers from the US and the Croatian born Australian Ajla Tomljanovic.  Both girls sit outside the top fifty but evenly matched so the prospects of a close encounter were good.

The opening stanza went to serve, but it was Shelby who looked the more composed as she forced Ajla into error or won points in her own right - Ajla tended to rely on Shleby's mistakes to score her successes.

The fourth game confirmed the trend when Ajla threw in two double faults in a terrible game which resulted in a 3-1 lead to Shelby. This eked out to 4-1 with the consolidating service hold and at 0-40 Ajla was staring at a first set dismissal.

Amazingly the Australian settled into a rhythm and the match took on a new flavour.  Alja started placing her shots better, giving Shelby less time to swing and the American errors flowed more frequently.  The second service break was avoided and the doubts created in Rogers continued into the following game where she committed unforced errors to donate the break to Tomljanovic.  What was likely to be 5-1 now was 4-3 with Ajla dictating the terms.

A long eighth game brought it to 4-4 and just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, shark Shelby returned, nipping at the heels of Ajla, an uncomfortable position from which to win games of tennis.

Serving to stay in the set, Ajla was overpowered by a resurgent Rogers forehand and the set was US bound 6-4.

The second set began with two deuce games before Ajla made the first break to lead 2-1, that game also filled with deuces.  The tennis was quite good now with both girls contributing their best simultaneously, rather than one or the other.  Shelby broke back in the sixth game, a double fault not helping Ajla at all, but the break was reinstated in the next game, three double faults from Shelby proving disastrous.

Games went with serve for the remainder, Ajla playing with much more freedom and having little difficulty levelling the match at 4-6 6-4.

Shelby went missing in the third set and the mystery is as yet unsolved.  While Ajla's standard of tennis was progressing nicely on a slow trajectory upwards, Shelby lost her bearings completely and everything she attempted came to nothing. 

The sudden end to the match was a shame because the contest for two sets was entertaining.

Ajla Tomljanovic indeed has some talent, and is capable of reaching the third round following her 4-6 6-4 6-0 triumph.

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