Jessica Pegula is happy to see Ajla Tomljanovic back in action as the American tennis star thinks it's a pity that the Australian suffered an injury blow just after beating Serena Williams and having the momentum on her side.
In 2022, Tomljanovic reached back-to-back Grand Slam quarterfinals for the first time at Wimbledon and the US Open. At the US Open that year, Tomljanovic was the one who famously ended Williams' career after beating the American tennis icon in the third round.
After having a great 2022 season and setting even bigger goals for 2023, 30-year-old Tomljanovic suffered a knee injury in the offseason. In the end, Tomljanovic missed a good portion of the 2023 season as she was able to start just at the US Open.
"Yeah, it's nice to see Ajla Tomljanovic back playing well. Obviously she had all that momentum after beating Serena Williams and having a great year, and then to see her get sidelined by injury again is always tough," Pegula said.
Pegula thinks Tomljanovic is a top-20 caliber
Both Pegula and Tomljanovic are starting their 2024 seasons at the United Cup. Since the United States and Australia have been drawn in the same group, Pegula is set to meet former world No. 32 Tomljanovic.
"It's nice to see Ajla Tomljanovic back playing well. To me, she's a top-20 player, for sure. She's really solid and not really much weakness anywhere. She's a really great competitor," Pegula said.
"Does everything, honestly, really, really well. It's going to be tough. I know she hasn't played that much the past year or so, but I know she just won a tournament, and that does a lot for confidence. So I'm sure she's going to be very confident, especially playing down here [in front of home fans]."
Interestingly, this is going to be the first meeting between Pegula and Tomljanovic on the main level. In 2009 and 2011, Tomljanovic twice beat Pegula at the ITF level.