7th May marks the birthday of the Croatian-born Australian professional tennis player Ajla Tomljanović. On this occasion, let’s recall her participation in the last versions of the acclaimed tennis championships in the Arab region.
Mubadala World Tennis Championship (2019):
Ajla Tomljanović was the first Australian player, whether male or female, to participate in Mubadala, a prestigious tournament that is celebrated annually in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
She replaced American Amanda Anisimova who suffered an injury. “It’s really disappointing to have to withdraw from the Mubadala World Tennis Championship. I was looking forward so much to coming to Abu Dhabi and I hope to make the trip in the future,” expressed the later before.
The women’s final where Tomljanović played against the Russian legend Maria Sharapova, was the first-ever on-court encounter between the pair. In this regard, the former previously commented: “I’ve heard amazing things about Abu Dhabi and the championship, and I’m really looking forward to playing in front of this crowd against Maria. It will give the perfect challenge ahead of a big season.”
Although Sharapova won the first set 6-4 over her opponent, Tomljanović’s performance was applauded as she succeeded in breaking her rival twice in the first six games to take a 4-2 lead. Before Sharapova took the second set 7-5, Tomljanović broke in the fourth game taking a 3-1 lead.
Worth mentioning that legendary Serena Williams was Mubadala’s runner-up twice, in 2017 and 2018. As for the event’s previous champions, Latvian Jeļena Ostapenko and American Venus Williams won the championship in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
Dubai Tennis Championship (2020):
Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship is another international and remarkable tournament, organized annually in Dubai, UAE. The event’s last edition featured Tomljanović and Croatians Tena Lukas and Petra Martić. Lukas lost 6-4 and 6-3 in the first round to Russian Liudmila Samsonova.
Tomljanović also was defeated in the first round by American Bethanie Mattek-Sands. However, the battle that ended in 6-4/3-6/7-6 was not an easy one for the American player. In regard to Martić, she managed to reach the semifinals where Kazakh Elena Rybakina slightly won over her 7-6 and 7-6. The Kazakh player and heroic Simona Halep were the event’s runner-up and champion, respectively.