Tomljanovic enjoys best display on the comeback trail

Ajla Tomljanovic appears to be rediscovering her mojo on the comeback trail just in time for another crack at a deep Wimbledon run.

Australia's former No.1 enjoyed the feel of the grass beneath her feet at Edgbaston again as she battled into the quarter-final of the Birmingham Classic event that's become a staple of the season in the build-up to the SW19 slam.

It's Tomljanovic's first visit to the last-eight of a WTA tournament since she reached the semis in Brazil last November prior to a difficult injury and illness-hit spell.

Zhu Lin
Zhu Lin made things tough for Tomljanovic before she succumbed in three sets. (AP PHOTO)

And the 31-year-old reckoned her uneven but undoubtedly fascinating 6-7 (6-8) 6-1 6-4 victory over China's Zhu Lin on Wednesday was exactly the sort of contest that's inspired her to make a gutsy comeback to the top level after a trying time.

"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 the moments even though it's really tense.

"So to be through now, I'm really relieved."

It was a match that betrayed the ring-rustiness of the former Wimbledon and US Open quarter-finalist, who only made her comeback a month ago after having been sidelined for four months following a knee injury and surgery to remove non-cancerous uterine tumours.

Brilliant in some spells and pretty woeful at others, Tomljanovic let a 4-0 lead in games and also a 4-0 points lead in the tiebreak slip in the opening set against the dogged Chinese world No.54.

But Tomljanovic, who's slid to 10th in the Australian rankings at 190 in the world,  always looked to have the extra firepower as she bounced back with a brilliant second set before another topsy-turvy effort in the decider almost let Zhu becak into the contest.

Tomljanovic, who also reached the quarter-finals in an ITF event at Surbiton last week, will next face Canadian sixth seed Leylah Fernandez, the former US Open finalist, in the last-eight as she seeks to rediscover the form that rocketed her to No.32 in the world just 14 months ago.

Fernandez beat Viktorija Golubic 4-6 7-5 6-3, while former US Open champ Sloane Stephens was beaten 6-4 6-2 by Italian Elisabetta Cocciaretto.

"I just felt like I played really well for a majority part of that first set and she definitely threw me off," mused Tomljanovic.

"She (Zhu) started playing much better and just very tricky, and all of a sudden I felt really bad on court. But I felt like, since there was a point where I played well, maybe I can probably do it again in the second set. So that's the great thing about grass - there's always a chance."

Elsewhere, in the WTA's Berlin Ladies Open, Ons Jabeur, the Wimbledon finalist, finally won her rain-affected first-round match, getting past Chinese qualifier Wang Xinyu 6-4 7-6 (7-4) in a match which had begun on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Victoria Azarenka beat Turkish qualifier Zeynep Sonmez 6-3 6-3 to make the quarter-finals, as rain wiped out other matches, with Elena Rybakina, Aryna Sabalenka and defending Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova waiting patiently for action.