Ajla Tomljanovic and Alex de Minaur have advanced to the quarterfinals at the Brisbane International tennis. Tomljanovic turned around her Brisbane round two loss in 2018 to Johanna Konta to win in straight sets while de Minaur had an easier time defeating fellow Australian Jordan Thompson.
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BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 02: Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia looks plays a forehand in her match against Johanna Konta of Great Britain during day four of the 2019 Brisbane International at Pat Rafter Arena on January 02, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
de Minaur a 2018 Brisbane semifinalist and the top-ranked Australian won his match 6-4, 6-2 over the world no. 72. Thompson has built his ranking on the Challenger tour in 2018 while de Minaur had an outstanding year on the ATP tour.
Nick Kyrgios lost to France’s Jerome Chardy 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-3. Kyrgios will drop out of the top-50 after losing in the second round after having won the title in 2018. Chardy was too solid for the flashy Australian. Kyrgios had his preparation hampered by a spider bite on a foot that sent him to a hospital in Canberra.
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BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 02: Nick Kyrgios of Australia plays a backhand in his match against Jeremy Chardy of France during day four of the 2019 Brisbane International at Pat Rafter Arena on January 02, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
This time last year de Minaur was a young up and coming player that no one expected to have the year that he did in 2018. He has shown what hard work and determination will do, as well as a lot of speed and talent. He was ranked at no. 208 at the start of 2018 and got that down to no. 31 by years-end.
“I love playing here and I can’t wait to come back and leave it all out there again,” de Minaur said after restricting Thompson to just 18 per cent of points won on second serves.
“A big focus of my pre-season was to get a little bit bigger, stronger and fitter And we put a lot of hours into the gym doing fitness and conditioning. I’m very happy to see it all pay off.
“I’m playing some great tennis and moving really well, so I’m very proud of myself.”
de Minaur faces the winner of the match between France’s former world No.5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and lucky loser Taro Daniel from Japan. Rafa Nadal was to play the Frenchman however Nadal pulled out of the event as a precaution.
World no.46 Tomljanovic returned well and served well to overcome Konta 6-2, 7-6(2). Konta won in three sets at the same stage in 2018 when she was ranked no. 9 and the Australian was at no. 118. Konta has slipped to no. 37 since hitting a career-high no. 4 in July 2017.
In the opening set, Konta was making too many errors and Tomljanovic took advantage to take the first set comfortably. In the second set, Konta started hitting shots in that were missing earlier but Tomljanovic held her nerve to take the match in the tiebreak. The Australian will face 2017 Brisbane champion and no. 5 seed Karolina Pliskova.