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Aussie triumphs build Wimbledon hopes

Rothesay Classic Birmingham - Day Five
Ajla Tomljanovic is on a roll. Picture: Paul Harding/Getty Images for LTA

Big grass court wins for a trio of Aussies have buoyed hopes ahead of Wimbledon, with former quarter-finalist Ajla Tomljanovic building a big head of steam ahead of the year’s third grand slam.

Jordan Thompson was the beneficiary of an injury to Andy Murray at Queen’s that could impact the former Wimbledon winner’s swan song, progressing to the quarter-finals, as did Rinky Hijikata.

But it was the resurgence of Tomljanovic in Birmingham after an injury-riddled past 18 months that has the Australian star brimming with confidence.

Australia’s former No.1 enjoyed battling into the quarter-finals with a 6-7 6-1 6-4 win over China’s Zhu Lin, making the last eight of a WTA tournament for the first time since she reached the semis in Brazil last November prior to a difficult injury and illness-hit spell.

Rothesay Classic Birmingham - Day Five
Ajla Tomljanovic is finding her best on grass. Picture: Paul Harding/Getty Images for LTA

The 31-year-old said she was reaping the rewards for all the hard work she had done to build herself back up after injuries and then illness derailed her 2023 season.

“I went through it all for exactly this,” Tomljanovic told the Birmingham crowd. “I just really wanted to be back out here playing matches like this.

“And even when I was nervous and negative, I just tried to remind myself that this is what I worked for, and that I should kind of enjoy the moments even though it’s really tense.

“So to be through now, I’m really relieved.”

Thompson watched on as 37-year-old Murray limped off after just five matches to keep his Wimbledon build-up on track

“I could see he had a problem in the warm-up and then his first serve,” Thompson said.

“I thought, ‘hit the ball in and make him run’. I actually learned that from him. I learned a lot of things watching him play, so it’s an honour to share the court with him, but it’s just sad that it ended like that.

“Never the way you want to go through, especially with a great champion like Andy.”

Thompson, will next play Taylor Fritz in the last eight, while Hijikata’s three-set win came after getting into the main draw through qualifying, having not won a match since mid-April.

He’ll next play in-form American Sebastian Korda, who was beaten by Alex de Minaur in the final in ’s-Hertogenbosch last week but earnt a fine 6-4 3-6 7-5 victory over 2014 Queen’s winner Grigor Dimitrov.