Marin Cilic and Ajla Tomljanovic both overcame adversity in their first round matches on day two of the Australian Open, as they emerged victorious after falling one and two sets behind. The victories were a stark contrast from day one, where Croatians were 1-5.
After over three hours in the 100+ degree heat, Marin Cilic finished strongly to knock off Marcel Granollers in his first round match in Melbourne. Cilic did what he has so often done in majors, going the distance and coming out on top, as he won 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-2. He was 5/8 on break point opportunities, and only gave Granollers three break chance in match, as he shook off some early rust to take control of the match. Cilic’s next opponent, #19 Gilles Simon, also toughed through a long match in the hot conditions. Simon won the fifth set of his first round match 16-14, and will surely come into his second round match at less than 100%.
Ajla Tomljanovic came up on top against Slovenian Tadeja Majeric in her second ever win at a grand slam, by a score of 3-6, 7-6(1), 6-4. Tomljanovic improved in each set, winning just six points (23%) off of Majeric’s serve in the first set, then 13 (36%), and 17 (45%) in the final set. She also allowed fewer break points in each set, from three to two to one. Tomljanovic will take on the 13 seed Sloane Stephens in the next round. The Croat will be a heavy underdog against the 20 year old American, but a win would see her move into the top 60 in the WTA rankings.
Day 3 Preview
Day three sees the beginning of round two for singles and the start of the doubles tournament. Ivan Dodig will take on Bosnian Damir Dzumhur at 11 AM (7 PM ET) and will hope for a short match, as the projected high in Melbourne is 107 degrees. It will surely be tough for Dodig to make a run in both singles and doubles given the heat. He is favored in the match against Dzumhur and could face #7 Thomas Berdych in the 3rd round. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, Donna Vekic, Darija Jurak, Ivo Karlovic, Marin Draganja, and Mate Pavic all play their first round doubles matches on Day three. Other than Pavic and Draganja, all Croatian players are paired with non-Croats. Unfortunately, no Croatians play on televised courts once again, but Cilic and Tomljanovic are both likely to on day four.