Once they were Australian tennis’ golden couple when Ajla Tomljanovic and Nick Kyrgios were dating. That romance ended long ago.
Also long ago we saw Kyrgios burst onto the scene at Wimbledon en route to a quarterfinal appearance. That was 2014 when the then world no. 144 defeated world no. 1 at the time, Rafael Nadal, in the Round of 16.
Kyrgios would then lose to Canada’s Milos Raonic.
The Australian backed up that effort at the 2015 Australian Open when he lost a quarterfinal match to Andy Murray.
Back then big things were expected of Kyrgios. He managed to win titles at the ATP500 and ATP250 level but didn’t again reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal until now.
He faced 20-year-old American Brandon Nakashima. The American would strike first, breaking in the 10th game of the first set to go up 6-4.
Kyrgios would, despite being troubled by his shoulder, take the next two sets to edge closer to another quarterfinal appearance.
Nakashima was playing solid tennis and he got a crucial break in the seventh game of the fourth set.
Kyrgios got duece in the next game but after not being able to break pretty much conceded the set when he lost the next service game.
He admitted after the match that he was trying to get Nakashima out of his rythym.
It seemed to work as Kyrgios was able to regroup and get a crucial service break in the third game. He consolidated for a 3-1 lead.
Another service break and Kyrgios was in control at 4-1. It was quickly 5-1.
The American held serve before seeing the Australian hold serve to seal a 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-2 victory.
He now faces Chile’s Cristian Garin who saved two match points before preventing an all-Australian quarterfinal.
Garin defeated Alex de Minaur 2-6, 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-4, 7-6(10-6). de Minaur had match points on Garin’s serve at 5-6 in the fifth set when at 15-40 and 30-40 but Garin lifted to close out the game and take it to a 10 point tie breaker.
Tomljanovic again into the quarterfinals
Tomljanovic has backed up from her quarterfinal appearance in 2021 to become the first Australian woman since Jelena Dokic in 1999-2000 to reach back-to-back quarterfinals at Wimbledon, in 2000 Dokic would reach the semifinals.
Last year Tomljanovic fizzled out against Ash Barty who would famously go on to claim the title.
This year the Croatian-born Australian is hoping to emulate Barty.
Early in the match it was Cornet that played at a higher level. Tomljanovic admitted after the match she didn’t think she could win.
“I didn’t think I could do it,” she said during the on-court interview.
“From the get-go her level was really high. She never goes away. It is tough to play against players like that.”
As the match wore on it was Tomljanovic that was winning the longer rallies as she mounted her comeback.
Tomljanovic broke in the opening game of the second set only to give that back straight away.
Another break came in the fifth game which the Australian consolidated for 4-2.
Cornet came storming back to level at 4-4 before Tomljanovic showed her fighting qualities to break for 5-4 before serving out the set to take the match to a third set.
Again players traded early breaks of served before Tomljanovic broke for 2-1, and then she was up 3-1 after a hold.
Tomljanovic secured a double break to lead 4-1, before holding for 5-1.
Cornet held serve and then broke for 5-3 with Tomljanovic serving for her place in the quarterfinals.
The Australian saved to break points before sealing victory.
It was a repeat of the previous round when the Australian fought back after dropping the opening set against 2021 French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova.
“I have such great memories of last year … but I look back and I didn’t enjoy it as much as I could have. I can’t believe one year later I’m in the same position,” Tomljanovic said.
Tomljanovic faces Elena Rybakina from Kazakhstan in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, she was expecting to back up on Tuesday.