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Tomljanovic beats Cornet to return to Wimbledon quarterfinals

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Last year, Ajla Tomljanovic reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal at Wimbledon. This year, he backed it up with a return to the last eight.

After 2 hours and 34 minutes of dizzying all-court rallies, Australian No.1 Tomljanovic beat French No.1 Alizé Cornet 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 to book a place in the quarter-finals at SW19 one more time.

“Today was crazy,” Tomljanovic said afterwards. “[Cornet’s] The level was really high from the first moment. I think the second point of the first game was so long that I thought to myself, ‘Oh my God, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to physically keep up with him.’ But I found a way.

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“It felt a bit like flipping a coin. I mean, she fights to the end. She wasn’t giving me much. That’s why at the end I was kind of in disbelief that I actually made it.”

Ajla gets revenge: Tomljanovic also had an upside-down win over Cornet during their Wimbledon run last year, outscoring the Frenchwoman in straight sets in the second round. History repeated itself on court #2 on Monday, with Tomljanovic now holding a 3-2 head-to-head lead.

Very little separated the pair once again, with 44th-ranked Tomljanovic performing slightly better on break points to overcome 37th-ranked Cornet in the final set. Tomljanovic hit 8 of 14 break points overall, while Cornet was less successful at 7 of 16.

Tomljanovic is the first Australian woman to reach consecutive Wimbledon quarterfinals since Jelena Dokic reached the quarterfinals in 1999 and the semifinals in 2000.

Cornet’s career ends: Cornet, who is playing his 62nd consecutive Grand Slam main draw (tying the Open Era record set by Ai Sugiyama), is having an incredible Grand Slam season. She finally reached her first major quarterfinal at the Australian Open this January, defeating Simona Halep to achieve that milestone.

Then, just two days ago, Cornet surprisingly stopped World No.1 Iga Swiatek’s incredible 37-match winning streak in the third round. Yet another exciting Grand Slam led by former World No.11 Cornet came to an end, with seven double faults hampering her cause on Monday.

Match moments: Cornet saw a 4-1 lead diminish in the first set before tearing his way down a break for a one-set lead. However, Tomljanovic, who had twice as many unforced errors as the winners in the first set, kept those stats the same in the second set as he leveled the match.

Two consecutive double faults from Cornet gave Tomljanovic a break for 2-1 in the third set, and the Aussie built momentum from there, hitting strong returns to break again for a commanding 4-1 lead.

Tomljanovic let one of his two breaks slip away, but finished off the match with a serve, deftly avoiding touching the net before match point was over.

Next: Last year, Tomljanovic was eliminated in the quarterfinals by now-retired compatriot Ashleigh Barty, who was then number one in Australia and number one in the world. Barty won the 2021 Wimbledon title.

This time, Tomljanovic has another tough opponent waiting for her in the quarterfinals: the powerful Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, the No. 17 seed. Rybakina, this season’s leading ace on tour, earned a fourth-round victory in straight sets over Petra Martic earlier Monday.

In their only previous meeting, Rybakina outclassed Tomljanovic 6-4, 6-0 in the first round on clay in Madrid last year.

“She has a great game,” Tomljanovic said of Rybakina. “I know if she’s on, it’s going to be tough. But you just have to weather the storm. If I can weather the storm, but I try to put my game first and be aggressive first, and move her, I think that’s going to be key.” .

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