Ash Barty Wimbledon 2021

Ash Barty progressed to her second fourth round appearance at Wimbledon after beating Katerina Siniakova Photo: Ash Barty - Twitter

The Australian contingent was whittled down to two following the third round at Wimbledon, with only Ash Barty and Ajla Tomljanovic fighting on.

At a glance, the third round matches at Wimbledon appeared to set up several fourth-round berths for the Australians, however, that was ultimately not the case as the remaining men’s singles contenders came undone whilst Barty Tomljanovic came one step closer to a potential Australian v Australian quarter-final.

Ajla’s agressive comeback

Ordinarily, with two Australian women’s singles players remaining in a major the most talked about match would be world number one Ash Barty reaching her second fourth-round at Wimbledon.

However, Ajla Tomljanovic and Jelena Ostapenko’s fought in more ways than one in their third-round match.

Tomljanovic started the match on the backfoot going down a break in the first game of the match and was quickly down 4-1 after the Latvian broke her serve in the fifth game. Whilst Tomljanovic was quick to break back she was unable to break a second time and lost the first set.

The second set started similarly Ostapenko went up a break early but Tomljanovic wouldn’t make the same mistake twice, breaking back in the fourth game. Both players held their serve until the Australian broke Ostapenko’s serve in the 10th game to claim the set.

The third set was where things started to heat up. Learning from the first two sets the 28-year-old Australian wouldn’t go down a break in the first game again, and instead won the first four games. Ostapenko elected to take a medical time out after losing six consecutive games citing an abdominal injury.

The Australian was quick to dispute the medical time out, but Ostapenko was permitted to leave the court.

When the Latvian returned she quickly broke Tomljanovic’s serve reminding fans of the final at the 2019 WTA Final at Hua Hin when in a similar position Dayana Yastremska called for a medical time ou,t completely disrupting the Australian’s momentum, and went on to win the match.

Two years on the Australian was more composed and the delay seemed to light a fire inside her, she quickly broke back and was to serve for the match.

Whilst Ostapenko was able to break serve again, it was almost poetic for Tomljanovic to win the match from her opponent’s serve.

The battle between the two didn’t end there with words being exchanged post-match due to Tomljanovic’s assertion that Ostapenko had taken the time out for tactical reasons rather than an injury. Making for excellent theatre on what was an already exciting tennis match.

Barty’s straight-sets victory against Katerina Siniakova was nothing to scoff at either. The world number one started in a commanding fashion with a 40-Love game and forced Siniakova to really fight to hold her serve in the second of the match, going up 40-Love early.

It took until the sixth game of the first set to break the Czech player’s serve. It was smooth sailing from there, with the Australian hitting two winners and serving an ace to hold her serve with little trouble.

Siniakova held her serve but the 25-year-old finished the set similarly to how she started it, with a 40-Love game.

To say Barty took a convincing lead in the second set would be an understatement, the Australian took a three-game lead from the outset, breaking Siniakova’s serve twice in the process.

Momentum started to shift in the fourth game, despite getting to a 40-15 lead Siniakova fought back to deuce and took the first advantage. The game went to deuce twice more but the Czech player took the six-minute game off the back of a forehand error from Barty.

Both players held their serve for the next five games bringing the match to 5-3 with Barty needing to hold her serve to win. Things didn’t quite go to plan, Siniakova was offered a breakpoint early into the game but Barty served three consecutive aces to go up the advantage, however, Siniakova managed to swing momentum in her favour once more taking the next three points and levelling the set to five games apiece.

Barty quickly broke back and was once again in a similar position looking to serve out the match, this time she didn’t fall into the same trap, only giving up two points before serving out the match and reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon for the second time in her career.

Jelena Ostapenko642
Ajla Tomjanovic466
Ash Barty 167
Katerina Siniakova35

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Aussie men unable to energise

Eight sets were played between the three remaining Australian men in the third round with only one able to take a set from their respective third-round opponents.

After beating the 12th seed Casper Rudd and the experienced Kei Nishikori in the first and second rounds, in five and four-set matches respectively, there was very little left in the tank for Jordan Thompson. The Australian had played the first two matches on consecutive days before a three-set doubles match on what would have been Thompson’s rest day.

On far fresher legs 26-year-old Ilya Ivashka didn’t need to be told twice that this was a golden opportunity trouncing Thompson in three sets.

At Wimbledon Nick Kyrgios has looked like he’s in the best form fans have seen in a long time, playing with a new sense of confidence and seemingly happier with the game than he’s been in years.

Kygrios had only played one match against 16th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime, and whilst that was exciting this was looking to be even better early on.

The Australian took a convincing lead early in the first set, but suddenly called for the trainer to come out sitting up a double break. He was able to finish out the set after a brief check-up but there was clearly something wrong with the 26-year-old who grimaced his way through the final game of the set.

Clearly suffering some sort of injury issue in his abdominal region, Auger-Aliassime’s dominance of the second set was unsurprising. The Australian let his discomfort be known, complaining about the injury and at one stage worrying that if he played on he’d make it worse and be off the tour due to injury for an extended period of time.

Kyrgios chose to finish the second set but retired immediately after, with the Canadian earning his maiden fourth-round appearance at Wimbledon.

The oldest of the remaining Australian’s James Duckworth had his biggest challenge of Wimbledon 2021 ahead of him in the third round against opponent 23rd seed Lorenzo Sonego.

Duckworth was outmatched by Sonego’s superior service game, with the Italian serving 14 aces to Duckworth’s one. Unable to penetrate his serve it is unsurprising that Duckworth was only offered one breakpoint for the match that he was unable to capitalise on.

To the Australian’s credit, despite going down in straight sets Sonego only managed to break serve three times for the match total, but Duckworth’s time at Wimbledon still came to an end in the third round.

Ilya Ivashka666
Jordan Thompson444
Felix Auger-Aliassime 1626
Nick Kyrgios61Ret
Lorenzo Sonego 23666
James Duckworth344

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