Ajla Tomljanovic made it a night to remember for Australian tennis fans, following compatriot Nick Kyrgios into a maiden US Open quarter-final on Sunday (September 4) with a gritty victory over Russian Liudmila Samsonova.
Shortly after Kyrgios completed a brilliant victory over world number one and 2021 champion Daniil Medvedev at the Arthur Ashe Stadium, Tomljanovic backed up her win over retiring Serena Williams with a 7-6(8) 6-1 triumph at the neighbouring Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Samsonova, 23, came into the evening contest against Tomljanovic on a 13-match winning streak, having lifted titles in Cleveland and Washington D.C. in the leadup to the hardcourt Grand Slam at Flushing Meadows.
The Russian peppered the court with winners and quickly stacked up a 5-2 lead in the opening set.
Tomljanovic, 29, showed lot of resilience to save seven set points and hold serve during a 14-minute marathon ninth game and then successfully defended another set point during the tiebreaker to take the opening frame.
The missed opportunities seemed to take a toll on Samsonova’s confidence as her errors mounted and Tomljanovic raced through the second set with two break of serves to reach the quarter-finals at a major for the third time.
Tomljanovic, who reached the Wimbledon’s last-eight stage for the previous two editons, will next face
Tunisian fifth seed Ons Jabeur who defeated 18th seed Russian Veronika Kudermetova 7-6(1) 6-4 to reach her first US Open quarter-final.
Jabeur found herself trailing 5-2 as the 18th-seeded Kudermetova made a fast start with pinpoint backhand that ran the Wimbledon runner-up ragged in the night’s final match at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.
But the 28-year-old managed to find her range to start dominating the baseline rallies and after levelling things at 5-5 she dictated terms in the tiebreaker to take the frame.
Jabeur, who lost the Wimbledon final to Kazakh Elena Rybakina, had to dig deep again to hold serve at the start of the second set coming up with a crucial ace but then got the break in the fourth game to nose ahead.
With Jabeur serving for the match, however, Kudermetova got the break back, but the Tunisian breached the Russian’s delivery in the next game to close out the contest.
Jabeur let out a huge shriek after Kudermetova sent a forehand long on match point for her 24th unforced error of the night. It was her first win against the Russian in four attempts.
After the match, Jabeur joked about having asked Serena Williams if she could have her serve when she retired.
“I think she left me the serve, like. It was the important moments, just acing up like Serena, it’s unbelievable and just for the crowd, I play Ajla next round, she beat Serena, so, you know!”