AAP Tennis

Former No.1 awaits Tomljanovic at the Open

By AAP Newswire

Ajla Tomljanovic must overcome former world No.1 and two-time grand slam champion Garbine Muguruza if she is to advance to the third round of the Australian Open for the first time.

It's a tough task for the Queenslander, but the world No.52 has done it before and is approaching Thursday's second-round clash brimming with confidence.

Tomljanovic, who hadn't made it past the first round at Melbourne Park in her past three attempts, dumped 31st seed Anastasija Sevastova out of the tournament 6-1 6-1 on Tuesday.

"I'm feeling good on the court and translating what I've been doing really well in practice into matches," Tomljanovic said.

"Even though I'm coming out really nervous, because I want to do really well, still being able to weather the nerves and still come out with a good game is really important for me going forward.

"It's going to be tough for me, definitely a big-hitting match next round, for sure."

The pair have played each other twice before for one win each, Tomljanovic prevailing on a hard court in Miami six years ago before Muguruza's rise to world No.1 in 2017.

Muguruza, the French Open champion in 2016 and the Wimbledon title winner a year later, is unseeded at Melbourne Park, having slipped to No.32 in the rankings.

The Spaniard has battled illness since arriving in Australia, but overcame a sluggish start to fight her past American qualifier Shelby Rogers 0-6 6-1 6-0.

"It's unfortunate that you get sick, travelling in airplanes, changing countries and stuff ... it's tough," Muguruza said.

"But so far, good. I'm happy with the team that I have, happy with the work that I've been doing.

"I'm starting fresh and just excited about this year."

Local wildcard Priscilla Hon must also beat a former world No.1 to make it to the third round, the Queenslander set to face 17th-seeded German and 2016 Open champion Angelique Kerber on Thursday.

Hon defeated Ukrainian Kateryna Kozlova 6-3 6-4 to advance, while three-time grand slam winner Kerber, who overcame a hamstring injury to take her place in the draw, prevailed against Italian qualifier Elisabetta Cocciaretto 6-2 6-2.