Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic has let slip a 5-2 lead in the third set in a round two match against world no. 2 Simona Halep.
Halep came out and broke her opponent in the opening match and then held for a 2-0 lead.
Tomljanovic would break back in the fourth game after a 7 minute 53 second game that saw her with four break points. Halep served a double fault to concede the game.
The Australian broke again for a 4-2 lead only to see Halep hit back in the next game.
The tenth game was epic, it lasted for 12 minutes 45 seconds and went back and forth with 22 points being decided. In the end it was Tomljanovic that got the break and with that the first set.
The players traded breaks early in the second set. It wasn’t until the Australian held in the fifth game that a we did not see a break.
Halep would break again in the seventh game to lead 4-3 before holding twice more to take the set.
Tomljanovic was playing a steady match and she was looking the better of the two players. That was until she stepped up to serve at 5-3.
The pressure was too much for her and that combined with a relentless Halep saw the Romanian win five straight games to claim a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 win in two hours and 34 minutes.
“I was not that positive,” Halep admitted in the on-court interview. “I was just blaming myself that I’m not strong enough to play against her but in the end … mentally, I think I was a little bit stronger.
“I had the desire to win the match and I didn’t want to give up.”
“I’m getting messages that it was really high quality,” said the Australian, who hit 37 winners to 28 from Halep. “Just knowing what a great competitor and player Simona is, just logically, yeah, I must have played well.”
Tomljanovic did play well, it is a shame she could not hold on for what would have been a memorable win and a first appearance in round three at the Australian Open.
It was not to be. Halep showed her fighting spirit to claim the victory