The last two remaining Australian women in the US Open draw are out after a horror day at the tournament.
Ajla Tomljanovic suffered an injury heartache and was forced to withdraw from her second-round match, while Daria Saville lost to world No.1 Iga Swiatek in a hard-fought loss.
Tomljanovic was forced to withdraw after being unable to back up from her taxing first-round win over Panna Udvardy.
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Tomljanovic’s emotion-charged 3-6 6-2 6-4 victory over the Hungarian was her first match in nine months after undergoing surgery in January for a serious knee injury.
The 30-year-old’s scratching is another setback after a season already cruelly ruined by the untimely injury, which struck at the peak of Tomljanovic’s career.
Daria Saville endured a difficult match against Iga Swiatek. Credit: Getty Images
She had been poised to be seeded at a grand slam for the first time, at her home major no less, before having to pull out of the Australian Open, then the French Open and Wimbledon.
Last year Tomljanovic ended Serena Williams’ storied career in the third round at Flushing Meadows en route to becoming the first Australian since the legendary Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1979 to reach the quarter-finals of both Wimbledon and the US Open in a single season.
This year the three-time grand slam quarter-finalist will depart New York with her ranking set to plummet to No.292 in the world after being unable to play her scheduled second-round clash with fourth seed Elena Rybakina.
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Meanwhile, Saville is taking heart after dragging Swiatek out of her comfort zone in a spirited display in New York.
True to her word, Saville frustrated Swiatek with her relentless retrieving and crafty tactics before bowing out with a hard-fought 6-3 6-4 second-round loss on Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Saville only resumed playing in June after nine months out recovering from a torn ACL.
But the one-time top-20 star defied her ranking of No.322 in the world to put the defending champion through the ringer, driving Swiatek mad at times with clever drop shots, lobs and moon balls.
She drew 22 unforced errors from the top seed, with Swiatek even hit with a time violation after exceeding the shot clock trying to serve out the match after one particularly lung-busting rally to bring up match point.
“For sure it wasn’t easy,” Swiatek said after extending her Flushing Meadows streak to nine wins and booking a date on Friday with Slovenia’s world No.145 Kaja Juvan for a spot in the last 16.
Ajla Tomljanovic was unable to back up from her taxing first-round win over Panna Udvardy. Credit: Getty Images
“The rhythm of the match was really weird so I’m happy that I just tried to play my game and play aggressively with a lot of tenacity.
“I’m just happy to be in the third round.”
Swiatek dropped only one game in her opening match but Saville delivered on her promise to “get in her head”.
She broke the Pole at her first try and had the top seed on the back foot from the outset.
But the 29-year-old ultimately paid the price for a lack of second-serve firepower.
She won only one point from 18 after failing to land her first serve, enabling Swiatek to break her three times and eventually close out the contest after 93 minutes.
“I’m proud of myself but also disappointed,” Saville said.
“But I’m not delusional. I’m still just coming back and it just gives me so much confidence that I did all that rehab for a reason and I can come back to a pretty good level.
“I enjoyed being out there on a big court playing against a No.1 in the world and entertaining the crowd.
“This just gives me motivation for the back end of the season. I am going to China and playing a lot of 250s there back to back and hopefully get my ranking back up.”
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