Ajla Tomljanovic has revealed it was actually arm soreness and not her surgically-repaired knee that forced her withdrawal from the US Open on Thursday (AEST). Tomljanovic played her first match of the year on Tuesday after undergoing knee surgery in January, winning 3-6 6-2 6-4 over Panna Udvardy of Hungary.
She was due to take on fourth seed Elena Rybakina in the second round on Thursday, but announced her withdrawal just hours before she was meant to take the court. Tomljanovic admitted on Tuesday that her knee was only about 80 per cent healthy, but revealed after her withdrawal on Thursday that it was actually an arm issue that forced her to pull out.
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"My body still needs time to adjust to the intensity of high-level tennis," the Aussie posted on social media. "Don't wanna make this a sad post even though I did pull out today.
"I'm proud of the work we did to get here but it was just a little too early. Thank you to the NY fans for all your support, Monday afternoon was good for my soul. Back to work for me."
Tomljanovic said after her win in the first round: "In a way I feel like I have no business being in the second round. This was just a huge test for me.
"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. 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."
The withdrawal continues a brutal year for Tomljanovic. On the cusp of being seeded for the first time at a grand slam, the 29-year-old was forced to withdraw from the Australian Open on the eve of the tournament in January.
She also sat out the French Open and Wimbledon and has seen her ranking tumble to No.127 in the world. "I'm on a high emotionally but I am very realistic about where my knee and body is at," Tomljanovic said on Tuesday.
"I am very realistic that I still need time, but I would be stupid to be complaining being here in the second round. It just felt like that reward after so many months of just torture."
Ajla Tomljanovic withdraws from the US Open.
Elena Rybakina moves to R3
Ajla experienced some of the most beautiful moments of her career here last year
She worked so hard to give herself a chance to play.
Hopefully she can play some more tennis this year.
See you soon. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/BcJvzSMcxb
— The Tennis Letter (@TheTennisLetter) August 30, 2023
After winning her first match of the season on Monday, Ajla Tomljanovic withdraws from her second-round match against Elena Rybakina. It's been a tough year...
— Gaspar Ribeiro Lança (@gasparlanca) August 30, 2023
— Amanda Lyons (@madamcapricorn) August 30, 2023
That's a shame, Tomljanovic has withdrawn from the event.
Won her first match of the entire season on Monday. pic.twitter.com/2lDzcc2snb
— Tennis Updates (@TennisUpdates23) August 30, 2023
Horrible schedule today.
— Will Bonds (@WillBonds007) August 30, 2023
Daria Saville goes down swinging against Iga Swiatek
Tomljanovic's withdrawal means Australia have no women left in the singles draw at Flushing Meadows after Daria Saville went down to World No.1 Iga Swiatek earlier in the day. Saville broke Swiatek three times but went down 3-6 4-6, winning plenty of admirers for her gutsy effort against the four-time grand slam champ.
Saville only returned to the WTA tour in June after nine months on the sidelines recovering from a torn ACL. The Aussie star defied her ranking of World No.322 and pushed the top seed to the limit on Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Saville produced some clever drop shots, lobs and moon balls to upset the rhythm of Swiatek, drawing 22 unforced errors from the title favourite. Swiatek was even hit with a time violation after exceeding the clock shot trying to serve out the match after one lung-busting rally to bring up match point.
Saville ultimately paid the price for a lack of second-serve firepower. She only managed to win 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 one hour and 33 minutes. "For sure it wasn't easy," Swiatek said.
"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."
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