Ajla Tomljanovic has shown off her new-found self-belief to march into the US Open third round for the first time with a gutsy straight-sets win over Croatian Petra Martic.
Fresh off her Wimbledon quarter-final appearance, Tomljanovic held her nerve against the world No.32 to earn a 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 victory.
Ranked 46th, Tomljanovic has had a breakout grand-slam season, making at least the 32 at consecutive majors for the first time.
With nine breaks of serve throughout the match, Martic twice served for the first set but Tomljanovic denied her.
Tomljanovic converted five of her six break points while also producing a dominant serving display with 71 per cent of her first serves finding the mark.
“I felt like the match was a little bit ugly from both sides,” said the Australian women’s No.2.
“I was happy to produce some good tennis when it mattered.
“I was down a break a few times in both sets and hung in there and the fact that I broke her a few times gave me confidence.
“I’m definitely happy that I got it done in a straight sets.”
Tomljanovic had never previously gone beyond the second round in New York.
The 28-year-old said she now felt she could compete with the best in the world – something that will be tested next round against fourth seed and recent Wimbledon finalist Karolina Pliskova.
The Czech rallied to a marathon 7-5 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (9-7) win over young American Amanda Anisimova.
“I think a few things have clicked in my mind, which is that you know I believe I can I can compete with the best, and actually win,” Tomljanovic said.
“In the past I believed but when it came down to it, there was always more doubt creeping in when pressure situations would arise.
“Now I feel like I have a plan when I go out there and believe I can execute it and that’s been the biggest thing that’s shifted.”
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