Maria Sharapova vs. Ajla Tomljanovic, Abu Dhabi Preview

🇦🇪 MWTC Abu Dhabi, preview + prediction
🇷🇺 Maria Sharapova vs. 🇦🇺 Ajla Tomljanovic

Maria Sharapova will take on Ajla Tomljanovic in the annual Mubadala World Tennis Championships in Abu Dhabi. The ATP event is the star attraction with a field of 6 players including the top 2 ranked players, meanwhile, Sharapova and Tomljanovic will represent the WTA in a standalone exhibition match on Thursday evening.

There are no ranking points on the line here but this is an important match for both Sharapova and Tomljanovic, for different reasons. Sharapova won just 8 tour level matches last year, just 2 during the second half of the year, therefore every victory is important for Sharapova to gain confidence. Tomljanovic had one of her best seasons in 2019 and is seemingly well placed to perform even better in 2020. The problem for Tomljanovic has been not performing well in the biggest events and against the best players. A win over Sharapova, albeit in an exhibition match would boost the confidence of Tomljanovic heading into the new year.

Tomljanovic is ‘looking forward to facing Sharapova for the first time, an opponent she has always wanted to play.’ Indeed this is a good opportunity for Tomljanovic to play against one of the games biggest names. Sharapova is certainly past her prime and this is just an exhibition match but a win over Sharapova could be vital for Tomljanovic, a player who has rarely managed to beat the biggest names in tennis.

I’ll side with Tomljanovic here. This is surprisingly the first even meeting between the pair at any level. It is Tomljanovic who is in the prime of her career at the moment and I expect her to climb even higher in 2020. Sharapova is merely a novelty at this stage of her career. Tomljanovic is in better shape and more match tough, even during the off season. Expect Tomljanovic to ultimately be too solid for the Russian.

Prediction: Ajla Tomljanovic to defeat Maria Sharapova in 3 sets

Simona Halep vs. Ajla Tomljanovic, Roland Garros R1 Preview

🇫🇷🥖💶 Roland Garros, R1 Preview
🇷🇴 (3) Simona Halep vs. 🇦🇺 Ajla Tomljanovic

Simona Halep begins her title defense in Paris with a tricky opening round match-up against Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic. Halep finally broke through to claim her first major title in Paris 12 months ago in what was her fourth Grand Slam final. It will be interesting to see how Halep handles herself as the defending champion at a major for the first time, a task others have found difficult in recent times.

Simona Halep of Romania during practice at the 2019 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Simona Halep enters the second Grand Slam of the year as the outright favourite but there are several questions marks surrounding the Romanian’s campaign. Halep has been the most consistent performer in Paris over the last few years, Halep has reached the final in 3 of the last 5 years at Roland Garros, clearly this is her most successful major tournament. However, Halep does arrive in Paris on the back of a surprise opening round loss to Marketa Vondrousova in Rome where she received treatment on court. Furthermore, we will have to wait and see how Halep deals with the pressure of being the defending champion, a feeling she has not experienced at a Grand Slam.

Ajla Tomljanovic has performed well enough in 2019, consistently playing good tennis but is in need of a big breakthrough run at a major. Tomljanovic arrives in Paris fresh from a second round exit in Nuremburg where she was upset by Tamara Zidansek in straight sets. Tomljanovic has competed in a lot tournaments during the clay swing, her best result was a semi-final showing in Rabat. Unlike Halep, Tomljanovic is very much match-hardened for this first round clash.

The only previous meeting between the pair took place in Cincinnati last year, Halep won that match 4-6 6-3 6-3. Halep can expect another tough battle here, Tomljanovic is unlikely to be a pushover and will even fancy her chances of a claiming a big upset win, can the Aussie pull off an early surprise?

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Ajla Tomljanovic vs. Alize Cornet, Indian Wells R1 Preview

🇺🇸🌵 BNPPO19, Indian Wells – R1 Preview
🇦🇺 Ajla Tomljanovic vs. 🇫🇷 Alize Cornet

An interesting opening round match-up at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open features Ajla Tomljanovic and Alize Cornet. Tomljanovic and Cornet have both had their moments in 2019 but both have struggled with consistency. This is an interesting match-up, seemingly a very even one, who will step it up and emerge victorious?

Ajla Tomljanovic continues to climb up the rankings having recently cracked back into the top 50. Tomljanovic’s run to the final in Hua Hin last month was a big step forward for the Aussie though it was ultimately a disappointing result given she squandered a big lead in the final to Dayana Yastremska. Tomljanovic seemingly struggled to rebound from that loss in Hua Hin during the Middle Eastern swing as she suffered opening round losses in Doha and Dubai.

Alize Cornet has been in decent form of late. Cornet’s recent highlight came during France’s triumphant Fed Cup tie against Belgium where Cornet upset Elise Mertens in a crucial result for the French team. Since then Cornet went on to play in Dubai where she suffered a second round loss at the hands of Alison Riske.

It was Cornet who won the only previous match between the pair, a 6-2 6-2 victory at the US Open way back in 2013. It will be interesting to see how this match-up pans out over 5 years later.

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Johanna Konta vs. Ajla Tomljanovic, Australian Open R1 Preview

🇦🇺 Australian Open, R1 Preview
🇬🇧 Johanna Konta vs. 🇦🇺 Ajla Tomljanovic

Johanna Konta and Ajla Tomljanovic will do battle for the second time this month when they meet at the opening round stage of the Australian Open on Tuesday. Konta and Tomljanovic went head-to-head in Brisbane a few weeks ago, it was Tomljanovic who somewhat surprisingly came out on that occasion, can Konta reverse that result at Melbourne Park?

Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia in action during the first round of the 2019 Sydney International WTA Premier tennis tournament

Johanna Konta has made an erratic start to the 2019 season. Konta started the year with a significant straight set win over Sloane Stephens in Brisbane but was dumped from the tournament in the second round by Ajla Tomljanovic. Konta then went down to Sydney where she competed in the qualifying draw, Konta withdrew from her second round match with a neck injury.

Ajla Tomljanovic made a good start to the year in Brisbane. The adopted Aussie reached the quarter-finals at the Brisbane International where she defeated Katerina Siniakova and Johanna Konta before succumbing to Karolina Pliskova in 3 lopsided set match. More recently Tomljanovic was in Sydney last week where she suffered a straight set opening round loss to Camila Giorgi.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece. Both of their previous matches took place in Brisbane. Konta claimed a 3 set victory last year whilst Tomljanovic defeated Konta 6-2 7-6 a few weeks ago. Who will come out on top on this occasion?

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Madison Keys vs. Ajla Tomljanovic, Wimbledon R1 Preview

🇬🇧 Wimbledon, R1 Preview
🇺🇸 (10) Madison Keys vs. 🇦🇺 Ajla Tomljanovic

Madison Keys faces a potentially tricky early round test at SW19 where she takes on good friend Ajla Tomljanovic at the first round stage. Keys looms as one the contenders at this years championships. The American made it all the way to the semi-finals at Roland Garros, grass is a surface that she is far more comfortable on, if she can replicate her Roland Garros form at Wimbledon she will feature at the pointy end of the event.

Madison Keys of the United States celebrates winning her quarter-final match at the 2018 Roland Garros Grand Slam tennis tournament

Keys has long been touted as a potential winner at Wimbledon. The American is one of the most powerful players on tour, when she is on, she is almost unstoppable on this surface. It is all about consistency for Keys and that is something she has greatly improved on. Keys has reached at least the quarter-final stage in her last 3 Grand Slam appearances.

Tomljanovic played a couple of events on grass before arriving at Wimbledon. The Australian was beaten by Aryna Sabalenka in the second round at ‘s-Hertogenbosch before going through the qualifying draw to reach the quarter-finals in Mallorca where she was beaten by Anastasija Sevastova in 3 sets.

The H2H record between the pair is split at 1 in apiece. The most recent match between the pair took place in Stanford in 2015, Tomljanovic claimed a surprise 1-6 6-4 6-1 victory on that occasion.

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Lesia Tsurenko vs Ajla Tomljanovic, Miami R1 Preview

Miami Open, 🇺🇸🌞🐬🌴 R1 Preview
🇺🇦 Lesia Tsurenko vs. 🇦🇺 (wc) Ajla Tomljanovic

Lesia Tsurenko and Ajla Tomljanovic will go head-to-head for the first time when they meet at the opening round stage of the Miami Open. Tsurenko made a disappointing opening round exit last week in Indian Wells having arrived at the event on the back of winning the title in Acapulco. Perhaps Tsurenko was tired heading to Indian Wells, after a good rest she will look to rebound strongly in Miami against a very beatable opponent.

For the second year in a row Tsurenko won the title in Acapulco before heading straight to Indian Wells for an opening round exit. Tsurenko was heavily favoured to defeat Lara Arruabarrena but was outplayed in a gruelling 3 set encounter to ensure another early exit from the BNP Paribas Open. Tsurenko will be hoping for a much better result in Miami, especially given the great tennis she displayed on route to the title in Acapulco a few weeks ago.

Ajla Tomljanovic has won just 1 WTA tour level main draw match in 2018, that was a very favourable opening round draw against Destanee Aiava in the first week of the year in Brisbane. Tomljanovic did manage to reach the semi-finals of the 125K event in Indian Wells a few weeks ago but failed to qualify for the main event as she lost to Sara Sorribes Tormo in the final round of qualifying for the BNP Paribas Open.

It will be interesting to see how this match-up pans out in the first career meeting between the pair.

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Lucie Safarova vs Ajla Tomljanovic, Australian Open R1 Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 R1 Preview
(29) 🇨🇿 Lucie Safarova vs (wc) 🇦🇺 Ajla Tomljanovic

Lucie Safarova will begin her Australian Open campaign with a potentially dangerous opening round encounter against Ajla Tomljanovic. Safarova will enter this clash as a decent favourite, the Czech has won only 2 previous matches between the pair and is ranked around 100 spots higher than the Aussie wild card. Nevertheless, Tomljanovic will be reasonably confident heading into this match. Tomljanovic played some good tennis in Brisbane to start the year, most notably a 3 set battle with Johanna Konta, there are signs Tomljanovic’s finally started track towards playing her best.

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Lucie Safarova suffered a heart-breaking loss in her only match in the lead-up to the Australian Open. Safarova was beaten by Angelique Kerber in 3 sets in the opening round of the Sydney International. Safarova was up a set and a break and had 2 match points in the second set tiebreak. Safarova could not close out the match and was no match for the German in the third set. Despite the loss, the signs were good for Safarova, the Czech was playing at a very high level, to get into a winning position against Kerber is a good result given how well the German is playing.

Ajla Tomljanovic has been awarded a wild card into the first Grand Slam of the year. The adopted Aussie has gained her Australian citizenship and will be representing Australia at Melbourne Park. Tomljanovic also played in a high quality match in the lead-up to the Australian Open. Tomljanovic was up a set against Konta in their second round match in Brisbane but she could not finish it off, losing in 3 sets.

Safarova has won the two previous matches between the pair, the most recent match took place in Miami last year where Safarova won 6-1 6-3. Will Safarova again be too strong for Tomljanovic or can the Aussie can a big upset?

Johanna Konta vs Ajla Tomljanovic, Brisbane R2 Preview

Brisbane International, R2 Preview
(5) 🇬🇧 Johanna Konta vs 🇦🇺 Ajla Tomljanovic

Johanna Konta kick-started her 2018 campaign in style with a hard-fought 3 set win over Madison Keys on Monday. Konta will be straight back into action on Tuesday as she comes up against an ever-improving Ajla Tomljanovic on Pat Rafter Arena.

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Johanna received a brutal opening round draw in Brisbane, coming up against Madison Keys, the highest ranked unseeded players in the draw. It was a tight battle, but Konta improved as the match wore on and eventually claimed a 4-6 6-4 6-3 win. One break of serve was the difference in each set. After Keys blasted Konta off the court in the opening set, Konta steadily improved as the match went on and she improved her serve to keep Keys at bay. Konta’s trademark aggressive deep hitting from the baseline was on full display s was her power at end-range. Konta will gain a lot of confidence from this win, especially after she ended 2017 with a string of disappointing losses.

Ajla Tomljanovic cruised into the second round in Brisbane. Tomljanovic easily accounted for fellow Aussie Destanee Aiava 6-1 6-4. Tomljanovic’s serve was her standout weapon against Aiava. Tomljanovic was broken on just 1 occasion, served 7 aces and won 79 percent of points behind her first serve. Tomljanovic will face a far greater test when she comes up against Johanna Konta on Tuesday evening on the main court.

This will be the first career meeting between the pair. With over 100 ranking places between them, on paper it looks like a one-sided match but Tomljanovic is much better than her ranking suggests and if she serves well and plays consistent tennis from the baseline, this could be a close one.

Kiki Bertens vs Ajla Tomljanovic, Roland Garros R1 Preview

Roland Garros, 🇫🇷🐌 R1 Preview + Prediction
(18) 🇳🇱 Kiki Bertens vs 🇦🇺 Ajla Tomljanovic

Kiki Bertens looms as a dark horse heading into Roland Garros 2017. Bertens made her big breakthrough at the event last year when she reached the semi-finals of the tournament, Bertens arrives in Paris on a high after winning the title in Nuremburg. Bertens takes on Ajla Tomljanovic in the first round in Paris, a potentially dangerous first round opponent for Bertens.

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Eugenie Bouchard vs Ajla Tomljanovic, Acapulco R1 Preview

Abierto Mexicano TELCEL, 🇲🇽🍐 Acapulco R1 Preview
(6) 🇨🇦 Eugenie Bouchard to defeat 🇦🇺 Ajla Tomljanovic

Ajla Tomljanovic will make her long-awaited return to competitive action on Tuesday when she takes on the sixth seeded Eugenie Bouchard in the opening round in Acapulco. Tomljanovic has not played a competitive match in over a year due to a shoulder injury. It is likely to be a tough return for Tomljanovic, but winning or losing will not be her main concern here, just getting through the match without pain would be a win for the talented Australian. Whilst, it is essential that Bouchard claim a victory here.

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