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HomeSportsSerena Williams Will Face Ajla Tomljanovic in the Third Round

Serena Williams Will Face Ajla Tomljanovic in the Third Round

The scene was quieter on the much smaller Court 7, with only a few dozen people sitting on the metal bleachers on Wednesday night to watch Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia defeat Evgeniya Rodina of Russia in three sets.

Tomljanovic, 29, will now face Serena Williams in the third round. The two players have never faced each other.

Tomljanovic, No. 46 in the world, arrived at the U.S. Open after an impressive performance at Wimbledon in which she advanced to the quarterfinals before losing to the eventual champion, Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan.

After her match, Tomljanovic told reporters that she’s looking forward to playing Williams, especially because she has been a fan of hers since she was a child.

“It’s going to be a huge moment no matter the outcome,” Tomljanovic said. “It’s a little surreal to me that I made it, and played in the same era as her.”

Rodina handily took the first set of the night, 6-1, but then Tomljanovic quickly took the first three games of the second set. Down 3-0, Rodina called for a medical trainer to the court. The trainer appeared to be treating her leg before they left the court.

While Rodina was being treated, Tomljanovic put on a sweatshirt and practiced her serves to stay warm. Rodina returned to the court after several minutes with what appeared to be tape over her right thigh.

Rodina won the next two games to make it 3-2, and then called for a trainer to the court again. Down 5-2, Rodina again called for a trainer, who appeared to redo the tape on her leg.

Tomljanovic won the next set, 6-2. After the second set, Rodina took another medical timeout and left the court. Tomljanovic appeared to take issue with Rodina’s second break and had a few words with the chair umpire about it.

Serving at 5-3, Rodina failed to close out the match, as Tomljanovic pushed it to 5-4, winning the break with a forehand.

At 5-5, the two players dueled out an 11-point game that Rodina lost on a forehand unforced error. Up 6-5, Tomljanovic closed out the match on her serve.

The third round starts on Friday, when Williams and Tomljanovic will face off in what is expected to be another night match at Arthur Ashe Stadium. For Tomljanovic, it would be in front of one of the largest crowds she’s ever played before.

Tomljanovic on Wednesday recalled playing Emma Raducanu of Britain on Court 1 at Wimbledon last year, and being moved by the intensity of the crowd.

“It got to me a little bit, the volume of the crowd,” she said.

“But I remember Novak saying one time when they asked him a lot about this,” she continued, referring to Novak Djokovic. “When the crowd was against him, he just pretends it’s for him. When they chant — I don’t know, Rafa, Roger, whoever — he hears Novak, Novak. I kind of liked that response. I might use that on Friday night.”



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