Ajla Tomljanovic advanced to her first Hologic WTA Tour singles final in five years Saturday in Birmingham with a 7-6(5), 6-4 win over No.7 seed Anastasia Potapova in the Rothesay Classic semifinals. 

The former World No.32, currently ranked No.190, is the third-lowest ranked grass-court finalist on the Hologic WTA Tour in the Open Era. In an interesting parallel, two of them have been at Birmingham. American Melanie Oudin, the 2009 US Open semifinalist, was ranked No.208 when she won the Birmingham title in 2012.

Two-time Wimbledon quarterfinalist Tomljanovic has been a runner-up on four previous occasions, and last reached a tour-level final in the winter of 2019 on hard courts in Hua Hin, Thailand. After missing much of the 2023 season due to knee surgery, and another operation to remove uterine fibroids earlier this year, the 31-year-old is bidding for her first title in her 180th WTA main draw, which puts her third on the list of active players with the most tournament appearances to have never won a title.

Tomlajnovic will face Yulia Putintseva in Sunday's all-unseeded final, as the Kazakh eased to a 6-2, 6-2 win over Italy's Elisabetta Cocciaretto in Saturday's first semifinal. Though Putintseva owns two career singles titles, this week marks the first time she's reached a final on grass.

Putintseva beats Cocciaretto in Birmingham to make first grass-court final

Tomljanovic had previously come from a set down to defeat China's Lin Zhu and No.6 seed Leylah Fernandez in her previous two matches. But against Potapova, she led for almost the entirety of 1 hour and 30 minutes. The only time she didn't was a three-game swing in the first set after failing to convert a set point in the ninth game. Potapova won three straight games to turn a 5-3 deficit into a 6-5 lead -- and later in the tiebreak, four straight points from 5-1 behind to get even at 5-5.

"I just tried to keep a cool head. I felt like I was a bit too into it at the beginning, and I felt like I was losing a lot of energy just caring about every single point," Tomljanovic said afterwards. "I just tried to let go whatever happened, and focus on what I can control.

"I definitely didn't expect to play a final here. I really take it one match at a time, as cliché as it is. Whenever I've done well, I've never looked ahead, and I'm not going to do it now either. I'm going to do my best to prepare, give it my all tomorrow, and when it's over, I'll reflect on the week."

Putintseva has won four of the five previous matches in the pair's head-to-head, but they have never played on grass.