Aussie tennis stars Ajla Tomljanovic and Daria Saville have headlined an impressive list of local doubles players to progress to the second round at the Australian Open. Tomljanovic and Saville combined on Wednesday to take down Georgia’s Oksana Kalashnikova and Brit Maia Lumsden and help ensure that a whopping nine Australian women are through to the second round of their home slam in the doubles competition.
The local qualifiers needed just 71 minutes to seal a 6-4 6-3 victory against Kalashnikova and Lumsden to book their passage through to the next round. Joining Tomljanovic and Saville in the second round of the doubles competition is a healthy contingent of Aussie women that also includes Kimberly Birrell and Olivia Gadecki, who only required 59 minutes to topple American Sabrina Santamaria and France’s Varvara Gracheva in their opening-round match.
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Destanee Aiava clinched a career-first grand slam doubles win by partnering fellow Aussie Maddison Inglis for a 1-6 6-1 6-2 triumph against Italians Elisabetta Cocciaretto and Martina Trevisan. The victory saw the Aussie pair set up a tantalising second round clash with Aussie compatriot and doubles No.1 Storm Hunter, who is playing alongside Czech partner Katerina Siniakova at this tournament.
Aussie women flying in doubles at Melbourne Park
All up, a staggering nine Australian women have progressed to the second round of the doubles at Melbourne Park, which is the biggest contingent of local players since 2006. That number could be even greater on Thursday if Ellen Perez and her doubles partner Nicole Melichar-Martinez can get the better of Zhu Lin and Wu Fang-hsien. Supporters have been quick to celebrate the success of the local contingent, particularly fan favourites Tomljanovic and Saville.
Ajla Tomljanovic & Dasha Saville into round 2 at the Australian Open
Watch out for the Aussie gals 🇦🇺 pic.twitter.com/hRhiV1J3iA
— The Tennis Letter (@TheTennisLetter) January 17, 2024
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 17, 2024
Ajla & Dasha 🥳🥳🥳
— Yoann (@sweetbackhand) January 17, 2024
— TennisAustralia (@TennisAustralia) January 17, 2024
✅ Ajla Tomljanovic/Daria Saville
✅ Kim Birrell/Olivia Gadecki
✅ Destanee Aiava/Maddison Inglis
✅ Taylah Preston/Arina Rodionova
🇦🇺 FOUR All-Australian women's doubles teams have progressed to the second round.#AusOpen pic.twitter.com/XJUj4b4HDV
— bet365 AUS (@bet365_aus) January 17, 2024
Chris O’Connell def by Shelton 4-6 1-6 6-3 6-7
Kim Birrell & Olivia Gadecki def Gracheva & Santamaria 6-0 6-3
Daria Saville & Ajla Tomljanovic def Kalashnikova & Lumsden 6-4 6-3
Destanee Aiava & Maddy Inglis def Cocciaretto & Trevisan 1-6 6-1 6-2
— Sports Results/News (@sportsresnews) January 17, 2024
Storm Hunter and Ajla Tomljanovic still alive in singles
For Hunter and Tomljanovic, the pair also face the tricky task of having to juggle their doubles efforts with their singles campaign. Hunter created history on day four at Melbourne Park after becoming the first Australian qualifier since Amanda Tobin in 1985 to reach the third round. Her singles run continued with a win over doubles rival Laura Siegemund in a thrilling three-set battle.
Hunter beat the tricky German 6-4 3-6 6-3 to set up a mouthwatering showdown against ninth seed and 2021 French Open champion, Barbora Krejčíková, whom she will play on Friday. Meanwhile, Tomljanovic will renew her rivalry with Latvian Jelena Ostapenko on Thursday night, insisting there is no bad blood between the pair despite their infamous clash at Wimbledon in 2021.
Tomljanovic won the match but was incensed with Ostapenko's decision to take a lengthy medical timeout when trailing 4-0 in the deciding set. The Aussie accused her opponent of "lying" and gamesmanship, describing the actions of Ostapenko as "disgraceful" after the match.
The Latvian in turn claimed that she had "zero respect" for the Australian, but Tomljanovic insists it's all water under the bridge ahead of Thursday night's latest clash on John Cain Arena. "What happened happened. It's been a while," Tomljanovic said. "I think we played each other after once more (at Eastbourne in 2021), and she beat me.
"Look, I have respect for her as a player. What happened, that was just in that moment. I just reacted. We never spoke about it. We're both going to be competitive, that's for sure. I do think at least from my side I respect her as a tennis player. In that moment, I wasn't happy."
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