At the age of 30, Ajla Tomljanovic won the biggest trophy of her career at the WTA 125 tournament in Florianopolis, Brazil, on Sunday.
I’m beyond happy today. Enjoy the moment @Ajlatom Alja Tomljanovic
The former World No 32 from Australia has played in 4 WTA International finals and lost all of them until now, although she did win an ITF title in Dothan in 2013.
Tomljanovic was playing her fifth event after suffering a knee injury that derailed her 2023 season, and beat Argentina’s Martina Capurro Taborda, 6-1 7-5, to win the MundoTenis Open title, to boost her confidence ahead of the summer swing in Australia.
After a barn-storming end to 2022, having reached Grand Slam quarter-finals at both Wimbledon and the US Open, where she defeated Serena Williams in the 23-time majors champion’s final match of her career, Tomljanovic was cut down by a knee injury, which kept her off the tour for 9 months.
Having reached a career-high ranking of 32, Tomljanovic had to withdraw from all the events in Australia, including the Australian Open, and didn’t play again until July, returning to action with an opening round win at the US Open, but she then withdrew from her 2nd-round match, and has been building back to full fitness ahead of another campaign at home.
Her title win is set to boost her ranking from 543rd all the way up to No 282 in the world.
The Aussie played well all week on the Brazilian clay, although she had to save 4 match points in a row to advance in the 2nd-round, before making it to the final where put in a solid performance against Capurro Taborda.
She needed an hour and 48 minutes to get past the Argentine in Sunday’s final, holding off a second-set surge by the World No 194.
Tomljanovic breezed through the first set in half an hour with the loss of a single game, but the left-handed Capurro Taborda stayed much closer in the second, with the 25-year-old saving 3 break points in a 7-deuce game to begin the gruelling set.
The Aussie failed to serve out the match at 5-4, and Capurro Taborda found some aggressive play to fend off 2 break points in the next game, but Tomljanovic outlasted the Argentine in a rally to convert her 3rd chance, setting up another opportunity to serve for the title.
On that occasion, Tomljanovic came through, watching a Capurro Taborda backhand sailing out of bounds on her first championship point to capture her first WTA 125 title.
Following her return to action at the US Open at the end of August, Tomjlanovic held a win-loss record of 2-3 for the year coming into Florianopolis, where she took a wild-card into the MundoTenis Open draw.
Having ground through her first two matches of the week, including saving the 4 match points in her win over Ipek Oz, she eased through the rest of the draw, winning her next 3 matches without the loss of a set.
In Saturday’s doubles final, Italy’s Sara Errani & Leolia Jeanjean from France claimed the title with a 7-5 3-6 [10-7] win over Germany’s Julia Lohoff & Conny Perrin from Switzerland.
Errani & Jeanjean needed an hour and 25 minutes to hold off their opponents and halt Lohoff & Perrin’s 7-match winning streak, having won the previous week’s WTA 125 doubles title in Colina, Chile.
Errani, a former World No 1 in doubles and World No 5 in singles, won her second career WTA 125 doubles title to go alongside her 43 Hologic WTA Tour doubles titles, including the Career Grand Slam, while Jeanjean won her first WTA 125 doubles title.