HONOLULU, HI, USA - Quarterfinal action starts today at the Hawaii Open - and one player hoping to keep up the momentum from an excellent comeback season is Ajla Tomljanovic, who made the last eight with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 win over Danielle Lao on Wednesday.
The Croat, who plays under the Australian flag at Grand Slams, ended 2016 as the World No.930 after sitting out for almost the entirety of that year as she recovered from shoulder surgery. However, her 2017 campaign saw her rocket up 779 places to end at No.151, after a season that included a third round showing at Miami, a second round at the US Open and two ITF finals.
The second of those came earlier this month in Waco, Texas, where the 24-year-old was runner-up to Taylor Townsend. Today in Honolulu, Tomljanovic - who also upset No.4 seed Kurumi Nara 6-2, 6-2 in the first round - takes on the same player she beat in the Waco semifinals, Sweden's Rebecca Peterson.
Also in quarterfinal action will be Korea's Jang Su Jeong, who upended American 16-year-old prodigy Amanda Anisimova 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the second round. Anisimova had caused one of the shocks of the tournament in the first round, scoring the second Top 100 win of her career in thrashing No.2 seed Hsieh Su-Wei 6-0, 6-1.
Jang will face another unseeded player, Japan's Miharu Imanishi, in the last eight. Indeed, just two seeds have made this stage: No.1 seed and last year's runner-up, Zhang Shuai, who came from a set down to beat Japan's Eri Hozumi in the second round and who will now play another player putting together a strong comeback from injury, Vitalia Diatchenko. The only previous meeting between the two was in 2010, in the qualifying of Estoril - won by Diatchenko 6-4, 6-3.
Rounding out the quarterfinals is No.3 seed Evgeniya Rodina, aiming to seal her spot in the Australian Open main draw. The Russian will face the USA's Julia Boserup, who snapped an eight-match losing streak with her first-round win over Sara Errani - and followed it up by beating No.7 seed Misaki Doi 6-2, 6-3.