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Young Guns: Ajla Tomljanovic

Ajla Tomljanovic made a tremendous surge up the rankings in 2013 and looks to be another emerging Croatian star.

Published December 03, 2013 12:01

Young Guns: Ajla Tomljanovic
Ajla Tomljanovic

Every day through Friday this week, wtatennis.com will showcase Young Guns, those who showed signs of future stardom in 2013.

The future looks bright for Croatian tennis, with 20-year-old Ajla Tomljanovic and fellow Young Gun Donna Vekic having displayed star power. In fact, the 5-foot-11 Tomljanovic has plenty of power in her game as well.

"I would say I'm an aggressive baseliner," Vekic said. "Because I'm tall, I have big strokes but I'm trying to develop an all-court game, you know, come in more and finish points easier. But we're still working on everything and I think my serve and backhand are my biggest strengths right now."

Here is some evidence that Tomljanovic's work has been paying off, qualifying her as a Young Gun:

• Tomljanovic recorded her first two Top 50 wins in 2013, including a career-best defeat of No.26 Julia Goerges en route to a fourth round showing in Miami in March.
• Tomljanovic made her first WTA quarterfinal at Québec City in September.
• Tomljanovic posted a 43-22 record at all levels in 2013, including 16-10 in WTA matches.
• An illness caused Tomljanovic to come into 2013 ranked just inside the Top 500, but she skyrocketed more than 400 spots in finishing the season as the highest-ranked Croat at No.78.

Despite that ascension, Tomljanovic is far from satisfied with where she's at, so a further ranking rise would hardly be a surprise.

"Short-term goals are just to get my ranking up as high as possible every week and just keep on developing," Tomljanovic said. "But, long-term it's the dreams you had when you were a kid - you want to be the best, win Slams and be No.1. Before that, though, there are a lot of short-term goals."

Should Tomljanovic achieve those long-term goals, she would join former French Open winner Iva Majoli as Croatia's only Grand Slam champions and would surpass former No.4 Majoli as the highest-ranked Croatian.

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