Ajla Tomljanovic’s drama leaves tennis fans heartbroken

Ajla Tomljanovic, pictured here after her loss to Ons Jabeur in the quarterfinals at the US Open.

Ajla Tomljanovic lost to Ons Jabeur in the quarterfinals of the US Open. Image: Getty

Ajla Tomljanovic’s run at the US Open is over by Ons Jabeur in the quarters after the Australian went 5-3 up in the second set to be eliminated.

The world number 5 from Tunisia, Jabeur became the first African woman to move into the semi-finals of the US Open on Tuesday with 6: 4, 7: 6 (7: 4) against Tomljanovic.

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In a back-and-forth battle that saw both players suffer multiple breaks of serve, Tomljanovic served to make it 5-3 in the second set but failed to secure it.

The Australian’s serve let her down on the biggest stage as she produced nine double faults throughout the game, including two on serve for the second set.

Commentators noted that Tomljanovic had her leg strapped for the game and suggested this may have hampered her serve movement.

The two combatants delivered an intense slugfest with long, gripping rallies under a closed roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium after a rainy morning.

Ajla Tomljanovic, pictured here with her thigh strapped in her quarterfinal match with Ons Jabeur at the US Open.

Ajla Tomljanovic had her thigh strapped during her quarterfinal match with Ons Jabeur at the US Open. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

After reaching the quarter-finals in consecutive years at Wimbledon, Tomljanovic was aiming to become the first Australian to reach the semi-finals in New York since Sam Stosur a decade ago.

But it wasn’t to be, as Jabeur kept her nerve under the pressure to seal the match in the second set tiebreaker despite hitting just 40 percent of her first serves.

Fans were left heartbroken by Tomljanovic as her impressive run – including a win over the retiring Serena Williams in the second round – came to an end, many lamenting their lack of service.

Jabeur said it means “a lot” to me if she can inspire other young players from Africa.

The 28-year-old apologized for throwing her racquet several times during the game, saying: “I wanted to stay calm but the racquet kept slipping out of my hands.”

After reaching the Wimbledon final in July, Jabeur said: “I know I have it in me that I can win a Grand Slam.”

Ons Jabeur, pictured here, celebrates after defeating Ajla Tomlijanovic at the US Open.

Ons Jabeur celebrates after defeating Ajla Tomlijanovic at the US Open. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Ruud beats Berrettini and is in the semifinals of the US Open

Casper Ruud previously beat Matteo Berrettini 6-1 6-4 7-6 (7-4) to advance to the semifinals with a shot at world No. 1 still at stake in New York.

The French Open runner-up defeated Berrettini in the July final in Gstaad on clay and looked just as effective on the hard court on Tuesday as he stayed behind the baseline to absorb the power of the 13th seed.

Ruud sprinted through a great first set in which he made just two unforced errors and it looked like Ruud was on his way to a stunning win as he led 5-1 in the second set.

But Berrettini, who has been sidelined a few times this season through injury or illness, was slowly finding his accustomed level and seemed to have cracked the code in the third set, breaking Ruud in the second game and rescuing four breaks in the third.

Casper Ruud, pictured here, celebrates his win over Matteo Berrettini at the US Open.

Casper Ruud celebrates beating Matteo Berrettini at the US Open. (Photo by Frey/TPN/Getty Images)

But Ruud managed a terrific comeback, breaking Berrettini in the ninth game and never falling behind in the tiebreak.

“It was (a) better start than ever in a match,” Ruud said in an on-pitch interview, adding that he had to contain his enthusiasm to decide the affair.

“Sometimes you can get a little overwrought and think you can walk on water,” he said.

Ruud and third seed Carlos Alcaraz have a chance to become No. 1 at Flushing Meadows after the current holder Daniil Medvedev crashed through Nick Kyrgios in the fourth round.

“Of course it’s a little (more) motivation,” said Ruud. “I try, of course.”

Rafa Nadal can also rise to world No. 1 in a unique scenario if Ruud or Alcaraz fail to reach the final.

with agencies

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