Double Aussie US Open blow as star withdraws

Australian Ajla Tomljanovic‘s US Open return has proven to be short-lived after she withdrew from her second-round clash, unable to back up from her taxing victory in her first match of 2023.

The cruel blow came after fellow Aussie Daria Saville was unable to overcome world No.1 Iga Swiatek in their second-round clash. They were the last two remaining Aussie women in the tournament.

But as the women made their exits, wildcard Rinky Hijikata continued his dream US Open run powering in to the third round with an impressing straight-sets win over Hungary’s MártonFucsovics.

Hijikata, whose best previous US Open effort had been taking a set off Rafael Nadal in 2022, was hardly troubled and dropped just four game sin his 6-1 6-2 6-1 win.

It’s the 22-year-old from Sydney’s first ever trip to the third round of a grand slam and guaranteed him the biggest cheque of his career at $298,250 and his pushed his live ranking to No.92 in the world

It proved a lone highlight on an otherwise disappointing day for Australia.

Tomljanovic surprised even herself in the opening-round win over Panna Udvardy, having returned from a knee injury that had sidelined her for all of the 2023 season.

But the emotion-charged three-set win came at a cost for the 30-year-old, with her ranking set to plummet to No.292 after pulling out of her scheduled second-round clash with fourth seed Elena Rybakina.

Tomljanovic hadn’t played a match since pulling out of the Australian Open in January with a knee injury and said she had “no business” being in the second round in something of a forecast for her withdrawal.

“I know it might sound weird but I played the best I could – or more. I did more than I thought I could and barely got over the line,” she said after her opening round win.

“That tells you something. I tapped into my competitiveness, that felt like it was all heart, but I wish it felt better physically than it did.”

It was a massive blow after a huge 2022, which included Tomljanovic’s take-down of Serena Williams’ storeyed career in the third round at Flushing Meadows and making the quarter-finals of both Wimbledon and the US Open.

While she didn’t get “double-bagelled” as she feared, Saville, who only resumed playing in June after nine months out recovering from a torn ACL, lost in straight sets.

But she defied her ranking of No.322 in the world to put the top seed through the ringer on Louis Armstrong Stadium, let down by a lack of second-serve firepower.

Saville only won one point from 18 after failing to land her first serve as Swiatek took the match in one hour and 33 minutes 6-3 6-4.

Originally published as Double Aussie US Open blow as Ajla Tomljanovic withdraws, Daria Saville loses

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