Ajla Tomljanovic loses Birmingham final to Yulia Putintseva


Tomljanovic is using a special ranking of No.33 to enter Wimbledon, and is optimistic she can perform well.

“I’m excited. I have some amazing memories there,” she said.

“The fact that I have about a week to get ready gives me some peace of mind. Tennis-wise, I’m in a good spot, and I think that an extra week on the grass will only help me to feel even more settled in.

Tomljanovic hits out in the Birmingham final.

Tomljanovic hits out in the Birmingham final.Credit: Getty Images for LTA

“In a way, losing today, it’s keeping that edge in me that I’m not satisfied, and I’m not coming into Wimbledon like, ‘I just won a tournament’, which would be a very different vibe.


“I’m definitely hungry for Wimbledon and to do well there, and hopefully, I can get my happy ending there.”

Putintseva – who won four of her previous five meetings with Tomljanovic – was close to flawless and hit Tomljanovic off the court for the first half an hour of the final.

At 6-1, 2-0, the 41st-ranked Kazakh had lost only two points on serve.

Short ball? Putintseva would crush a winner, most often off her backhand wing. If Tomljanovic managed to get to the net? Putintseva would lob her, and the ball would land centimetres inside the baseline. If Tomljanovic lingered too deep in the court? Putintseva would uncork a wonderfully weighted drop shot.

But, suddenly, everything unexpectedly changed.

Tomljanovic hammered a forehand return winner, then Putintseva finally missed a shot. Love-30 turned into a break of serve, against the flow. The Australian started winning many of the elongated rallies she was almost always losing earlier.

The comeback was on in earnest, and went into overdrive when Tomljanovic scorched an inside-out forehand return winner to break again for a 4-3 lead.

Putintseva celebrates her maiden grasscourt title.

Putintseva celebrates her maiden grasscourt title.Credit: Getty Images for LTA

However, Tomljanovic stumbled with a third set in sight. Consecutive errors saw her slump to 0-30 then 15-40 as she tried to serve out the second set.


She made it back to deuce, then earned a set point – prompting Putintseva to walk off the grass and thunder her racquet into the court covers – only to double fault on the next three points to drop back to five-all.

A seesawing tiebreak followed, which began with Putintseva’s first and only double fault before she won the next four points to have Tomljanovic again on the back foot.

But while Putintseva’s mood darkened at times, the Australian remained stoic. Tomljanovic maintained an aggressive approach – for better or worse – and roared back once more, smacking a spectacular forehand winner to bring up a second set point.

That proved her last chance, and came and went on a missed return. Tomljanovic staved off two championship points, but dragged a forehand wide on the third to concede the title.

“It shows me that I’m not far off, but at the same time, what it shows me the most is that I still have a ways to go physically,” Tomljanovic said.

“I’m not 100 per cent happy with how I’m moving, but I want to give myself a break because I’m finding ways to win … and I’m very happy with how I’ve managed to do that this whole week because I was in some tough moments in the previous rounds.

“I see so much room for improvement, of getting better physically, but you can’t rush that, so that’s going to take some time. But nothing’s hurting more than it should, and that’s a big, big plus.”

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