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Barty, Rodionova, Tomljanovic and Thompson advance in US Open

29 August 2017

TENNIS: Australia’s women went a perfect three-from-three on Day 1 of the US Open in New York, while Jordan Thompson was the only Australian male to advance to the round of 65 in the singles competition.

Ash Barty, Arina Rodionova and Ajla Tomljanovic all sealed places in the second round of the year’s final Grand Slam event on Monday with equally impressive victories.

Barty scored a resounding 4-6 6-0 6-1 win over No.21 seed Ana Konjuh, who reached last year’s US Open quarterfinals.

In Barty’s first appearance at Flushing Meadows since 2014, the 21-year-old Queenslander will next face Aliaksandra Sasnovich for a place in the last 32.

Earlier on Monday, Tomljanovic, playing on an injury-protected ranking, beat Swede Johanna Larsson 7-5 6-4 in her first Grand Slam outing since the French Open.

The Croatian-born former top-50 player next faces Serbian Aleksandra Krunic, a surprise 4-6 6-3 6-4 winner over No.7 seed Johanna Konta, who made the Wimbledon semifinals.

Meanwhile, Rodionova – the first Aussie through to the second round – was savouring another milestone after continuing her breakout season.

Australia’s only first-round Wimbledon winner last month backed that up to advance with a 7-5 7-5 victory over Dutchwoman Richel Hogenkamp.

She next faces Greece’s Maria Sakkari for a place in the third round of a major tournament for the first time.

Rodionova rallied from an early service break down to post her maiden main-draw win at Flushing Meadows, six weeks after achieving the same feat at The All England Club.

“I didn’t feel that much pressure when I was down a break because I have a strong return and I knew I can break back once or twice a set,” she said.

“It was an interesting match because it was tough with the wind, so we both weren’t serving great today.

“Obviously the nerves also kicked in a bit; first round, it’s quite tough to play the first match, you never know what’s going to happen. I’m really glad it finished my way.”

The victory guaranteed Australia’s wildcard playoff winner a career-high ranking inside the world’s top 120, as she edges closer to securing direct entry into the slams for the first time.

“This win really helps me mentally to understand that I belong where I want to reach, top 100, because I’ve had quite a few wins this year against top-100 girls,” Rodionova said.

“I’m just gaining confidence match by match.”

The 27-year-old credits her rise to being in peak physical condition after battling injuries for much of her career.

“I actually saw the statistic yesterday that the average age in the top 100 is 27.4,” Rodionova said.

“More experience probably helps and you start to understand your body a bit more, what you should do how you should train.

“But now that I’m injury free at moment it obviously helps around the court. I feel great. I’m moving well and feel I’m in my prime time at the moment.”

The the men's singles, Jordan Thompson sent home one of America's big hopes with a thrilling 6-2 7-6 (14-12) 1-6 5-7 6-4 victory over 13th seed Jack Sock.

The three hour and 56 minute effort will see Thompson take on Italian Thomas Fabbiano in the round of 64 on Thursday, after Fabbiano defeated fellow Australian John-Patrick Smith 7-6 6-4 3-6 7-6 in the round of 128.

After taking the first two sets, Thanasi Kokkinakis was unfortunately knocked out by Serbia's Janko Tipsarević 6-7 3-6 6-1 7-6 6-3, and Bernard Tomic was also sent home after going down 3-6 6-3 6-4 6-4 to 19th seed Gilles Simon.


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